Memorial Stadium, Boise, IDAHO
Number of states: 2
States to go: 48
Number of games: 2
First game: July 5, 2003 (Tri-City Dust Devils 6, Boise Hawks 4)
Most recent game: June 28, 2013 (Boise Hawks 5, Eugene Emeralds 4, 10 innings)
After attending my first game in Spokane, I had a bit of a problem. How did I know whether the first minor league park on my trip was a good one or a not-so-good one? Well, all it took was a trip to Boise and I knew. Spokane has a good ballpark. Boise’s? Not so good.
There were a number of problems, but (and I’m sorry, Idahoans) the primary problem was with the raucousness of the fans. It was like a library in there! I could have gotten some good studying done–or maybe written some music–while you sat not cheering at the game. And it’s not just that you weren’t cheering. You weren’t even speaking.
Not making any noise at all! Normally, during the quiet moments of a ballgame, I’ll hear the low hum of a few thousand conversations. Not here. Yeah, it was a little hot–in the upper ’80s–but I know this is a problem with the fans and not the heat. How do I know? As we observed moments of silence around each pitch, I heard the following priceless utterance from the high-school aged guy behind me: “Do they let you shout while the pitcher’s pitching?” Come on! These guys aren’t Tiger Woods; they can handle the noise. Politeness is nice–it’s an aspect of life that’s falling from favor. And I suppose I’d rather have polite folks who are quiet at ballparks than rude folks who are loud. But still, REV IT UP a bit!
Game management wasn’t all it could have been. After ball three to the first or second batter of the game, our PA guy went ahead and announced the next hitter. The home plate umpire turned around and gave the PA guy this look–and beneath that look I could see his thought–“It’s going to be a long, long day.” If you can’t trust the PA guy to follow the pitch count, can you trust him to give all the scoring information when it’s more difficult? Also, there was another blunder–there was several simultaneous sounds that melded together into an indecipherable muddle. For example: We had songs over the PA while a fairly cool bluegrass band was playing. Two competing sounds were not enough for the Boise Hawks people, I guess, becausewhile these songs competed with each other, they’d be doing a promotion on the field–where a guy had a microphone. Apparently they didn’t want that guy to be even that easy to hear, because his microphone kept fritzing out. What a mess. How can I enjoy music or promotions I can’t hear? There was a particularly stupid scoreboard graphic too. Immediately after Dust Devils pitcher Brian Lynch delivered low and outside on his first pitch to a batter I don’t remember, they put the numbers one through four on the screen, and put a check mark over the number one. That’s right…they had a wacky scoreboard graphic for ball one! How desperate do you have to be for graphics to invent a ball one graphic?
To be sure, there were some positives. The ballpark had a lovely panorama past the outfield, and therefore did fairly well in the “is there any question where you are” test. And the bluegrass band was a good idea, even though I couldn’t hear it. I also liked the way they rounded up every kid in the stands and brought them onto the field to sing “Take Me Out To The Ballgame” for the seventh-inning stretch.The mascot joined them, as did the bluegrass band and a couple of creepy clowns. Also, there was another “only in the minors” moment: apparently the amenities aren’t all they should be in the home locker room, as thirty minutes before his start, I spotted Boise’s starting pitcher that day, Rich Hill, stepping outside the locker room to get some cellphone reception!
Regional feel: 7.5/10
Some nice hills beyond the outfield ratchet up the score here.
For whatever reason, this stadium did nothing for me in this area.
I simply couldn’t hear a lot of what was going on. Would have been better to do none at all.
Team mascot/name: 3.5/5
Humphrey the Hawk and me. Kinda ugly, but not bad. (Need I say I’m referring to Humphrey and not me?)
Can’t beat the view. The ballpark itself isn’t too attractive, however.
Pavilion area: 3/5
Maybe it was just a bad game or a rough day (drove 8 hours to get there), but there wasn’t much exciting to me. The heat might have also gotten to me a bit. By the way, if you’re planning on going to a game at Boise Memorial Stadium, the third-base side is the shady side.
BASEBALL STUFF I’VE SEEN HERE:
Boise’s Rich Hill struck out 10 in six innings, but took the loss. Sandy Almonte and Tony McQuade homered.
The 2013 star was the Hawks’ Rony Rodriguez, who hit a pinch-hit, two-out, two-strike game-tying home run in the bottom of the 9th. Two singles and two walks before an out in the 10th won it, culminating with the walk-off single by Jacob Rogers.