Catching up: Syracuse, Toledo, Fort Wayne, and Buffalo

Catching up: Syracuse, Toledo, Fort Wayne, and Buffalo

About me: My name is Sam and I have been a baseball fan my entire life. I grew up in Syracuse, New York and went to plenty Syracuse Chiefs games (now known as the Syracuse Mets). I have always enjoyed the flare and personality that minor league baseball has. In my high school years, I started to dream of visiting every minor league ballpark, so here I am!

About the blog: The purpose of this blog is to inform readers about each minor league ballpark. Hopefully readers will be inspired to do the same journey as me! Each post will follow the same format (at least I'll do my best). I will open with my personal experience which might include a story or two. Then I will highlight the three main aspects that I think are important to the overall experience, location/scenery/amenities, food/drinks, and entertainment. Finally, I will give each ballpark a grade out of 100.

This post might be a little different than normal. Typically, I review ballparks within a few days following my visit. However, there was four stadiums I visited before I decided to create this blog. With that being said, I am going to rate them with my scale that I use on every post (see 'about the blog' above) but I will keep the reviews brief since I don't remember every detail of my visits.

Here they are...

NBT Bank Stadium- Syracuse, NY (no specific date visited)

This is a ballpark I know very well. I grew up in Syracuse and went to countless games. In 2020, the team changed affiliations (Washington to New York Mets) which prompted a $20 million stadium renovation. The renovations have definitely made it a great place to watch a ball game but the poor location (on the outskirts of the city and not walkable) make my score low for my hometown ballpark.

Location/ Scenery/ Amenities (3.3/5)

Amenities are great. The renovations added a bullpen bar in left field (pictured) that overlooks the bullpen. There is a 'Salt City Deck' in right center field that overlooks the visiting bullpen that can be rented out to large parties. There is also a Metropolitan Club in the right field corner that has a covered space that is a in stadium restaurant style space. However, the location and scenery lose points.

Food (3.5/5)

There are some interesting food options here. In addition to the average hot dogs and hamburgers there are specialty dishes such as salt potatoes, BBQ, ice cream, and more. its important to note, if you are in to craft beer then this stadium is calling your name. There are multitudes of different breweries and craft beer options available throughout the stadium.

Entertainment (2.5/5)

The entertainment is very average here, nothing special but at the same time it isn't bad. Every Friday is Fireworks Friday, so that is a plus. The on-field games are generic and cheap but can be entertaining depending on the day. Nothing special on the entertainment front.

Sam's Score: 62/100

Sahlen Field- Buffalo, NY (July 19th 2021)

I technically did not see a minor league baseball game at Sahlen Field which is typically home to the Buffalo Bison. If you have a strong baseball memory, you might remember that the Toronto Blue Jays played a majority of their home games of the 2021 season in Buffalo, their Triple-A affilate (forcing Buffalo to play their home games from a collegiate summer league stadium in New Jersey). During that time, I went to go see the Red Sox (my favorite team) play in Buffalo against the Blue Jays. While it wasn't a minor league game, I feel that I got a strong enough experience to rate the stadium.

Location/ Scenery/ Amenities (3.4/5)

The stadium had a walkable location in the downtown region of Buffalo. The stadium was old though. I felt that the stadium was more 'run down' than 'historic' The seats weren't awfully comfortable but the location of the stadium was promising.

Food (N/A)

Sahlen, a meat company, obviously sold hot dogs. I personally like Hoffman's hot dogs better. I don't remember the food scene too well, hence why I am not giving a grade.

Entertainment (N/A)

Since it was not a Buffalo Bison game I don't feel that that I can accurately score this category.

Sam's Score: 68/100

Fifth Third Field- Toledo, OH (August 26th 2022)

Location/ Scenery/ Amenities (4/5)

The Ballpark is in the heart of downtown Toledo, which I loved. Stadium features a 360 degree concourse and there is virtually no bad seat in the stadium. However, one downside that I have is that the stadium feels relatively small for a Triple A ballpark.

Food (N/A)

Its been a while and I don't remember what I ate there, so no score here.

Entertainment (3.5/5)

The marketing team does a good job keeping fans in the game through in game activities. Another thing I'd like to note, I've never seen such quality film production and in-game graphics (hat shuffle, mascot race, etc.) than at Fifth Third Field.

Sam's Score: 75/100

Parkview Field- Fort Wayne, IN (August 31st 2022)

Location/ Scenery/ Amenities (3/5)

The stadium was in the downtown portion of Fort Wayne with high rise buildings in the background. But if you know or have been to Fort Wayne at all, Fort Wayne is not really a downtown city. It is more of just a grouping of residential areas that form a city. Yes, the views were appealing but it isn't the best I've seen.

Food (N/A)

Once again, I don't remember what I ate so no score here.

Entertainment (4.1/5)

I can confidently say that this is the best in game experience I have seen at any minor league baseball stadium. Most notably, between innings, these ground crew members started raking the field, nothing out of the ordinary. Out of nowhere, they start break dancing, receiving a roar from the crowd. It was something I had never seen before and I loved it!

Sam's Score: 71/100

Again, this post was against the norm but I felt like I needed to update the channel with stadiums I have already been to. I felt a summary of all of them together was the best way to do that.

Follow me on my instagram @samhhughes and message me if you have any suggestions or ideas, it's always appreciated!