Blair County Ballpark, Altoona, PENNSYLVANIA
Number of states: 21
States to go: 29
Number of games: 1
First game: August 4, 2006 (Altoona Curve 6, New Britain Rock Cats 4)
(Click on any image to see a larger version.)
A ballgame was welcome after a day of American Tragedy Tourism. I spent much of the morning at the Shanksville memorial, which is a pilgrimage I believeJohnstown Flood National Memorial, which was depressing in an entirely different way. Blair County Ballpark was a refreshing change at the end of the day. I had heard many positive
Blair County Ballpark sits adjacent to Lakemont Park, and a roller coaster sits past right field. This creates a carnival atmosphere to the ballpark. I could see this being a bad thing–after all, I loathe any ballpark with a carousel, and
First, the bit about not taking itself too seriously. There’s plenty of wackiness going on, and not just from the multiple mascots. The night I attended was a promotion to honor bowling in the Altoona area. Kids could bowl out on the concourse, and the first pitch was bowled out (a bowling ball painted to look like a baseball). There were
On the other hand, however, when it came time for baseball, the ballpark provided a great experience. Unlike any other lower-level ballpark I’d been to, the ballpark gave in-progress scores of other minor-league games.
And who can come up with a better use for a scoreboard than to put me on it? Altoona’s radio pre-game show interview takes place on the concourse behind home plate, and is broadcast on the scoreboard. That means that, if I place myself just right, I can see myself on the scoreboard, and if I bring a camera and are especially vain, I can photograph the back of my purple T-shirt as broadcast on the scoreboard, just over the guest’s right shoulder.
Memory of the game: a foul ball glanced off of a three-year-old girl a few rows behind me. Sweetly, the entire Curve dugout came out to look and see if the kid was okay. I believe Steamer came to give her a Diesel Dawg stuffed animal. People are really nice.
I had the pleasure of hanging out with a great guy for most of the ballgame. As usual, the conversation began when we both scored the game.
On the whole, it’s a unique ballpark experience in a lovely, while often overlooked, part of the country. It lands very near the top of my list. The atmosphere was the perfect blend of frivolous and baseball-respecting, and the people were quite fun.
Regional feel: 7.5/10
Pretty good, but not quite great. I like the unique feel of watching a game in the shadow of a roller coaster, but I can’t say I could look around and now where I was. Still, the team name and a sense of local baseball history is apparent.
They get this right.
Team mascot/name: 3/5
Steamer and me above, and Steamer’s pet dog Diesel Dawg below. Steamer has his own email and his own pets. Weird. I like the idea of Steamer, but he looks derivative of the Phillie Phanatic, and the dog, while adorable, could be anywhere.
Pavilion area: 5/5
Loads of activity, all within view of the ballgame.
On the whole, a fine night, but maybe I had my expectations too high.
BASEBALL STUFF I’VE SEEN HERE:
Brett Roneberg’s first-inning two-run triple gave the Curve the lead they never gave up.
Milver Reyes goes three-for-four.(Written December 2006.)