Mercer County Waterfront Ballpark, Trenton NEW JERSEY
Number of states: 23
States to go: 27
Number of games: 1
First game: August 16, 2007 (Trenton Thunder 8, Portland SeaDogs 4)
(Click on any image to see a larger version.)
It is indeed a challenge, I learned back in August of 2007, to make it from the Philadelphia Airport to the Mercer County Waterfront Ballpark for a game…but it is, indeed, possible. Because the 2007 baseball trip was the
The fine folks who work with the Trenton Thunder will work with you if you told me that the nice hotel I had treated myself to, the Trenton Courtyard by Marriott, would routinely send a van to the ballpark to pick up a guest. Sold! So, even if it weren’t a great ballpark, the Thunder won me over with fine
The good news for them is that they work at a splendid ballpark. I was a big fan of Mercer County Waterfront Park almost from the moment of my arrival. I was a little bit concerned when my cab took me through slum after slum until we were just a few feet from the ballpark, simply because I was worried that the ballpark would have a Comerica Park feel…a baseball theme-park fortress designed to get me to ignore the urban blight around me. But it didn’t have that feel, I think because of the immediate surroundings. The ballpark is right on the Delaware, so if George Washington were a lefty pull hitter with power, he could knock one into the river (although likely not over). It’s possible to walk along a path between the ballpark and the river, and some of the crappier seats in the ballpark offer a view across the river of Morrisville, Pennsylvania. And with some rowdy fans on hand (the Yankee-affiliated Thunder were facing the Red Sox-affiliated Portland SeaDogs), there was no question where I was. The ballpark therefore aces the important Is There Any Question Where You Are test.
Further, Trenton does well in celebrating Trenton baseball history rather than concentrating on Yankee baseball history.
I got one of my favorite seats on this night…in the very front row, in a seat that juts out from the main stands into foul territory. I could look back into the Trenton dugout from my position, but more importantly, I got an opportunity to watch the work of the first-base umpire (whose name I can no longer locate) quite closely. No close plays transpired at first this night, but I enjoyed seeing the difference between his regular “out” call and his sell “out” call. On the former, he wouldn’t even vocalize at all, but on the latter, he sure would. On top of that, I got to enjoy all of this while taking advantage of the significant ledge in front of me as a table:
A cheap cheese steak, a FREE scorecard, a gorgeous night on the river, and up-close double-A baseball. What more can a guy ask for?
Hell of a nice night at Mercer County Waterfront Park. If you’re in Philly or South Jersey, it’s worth the trip up. It’s definitely one of the top ballparks I’ve been to on the East Coast.
Regional feel: 9/10
On top of everything else the ballpark had going for it–the river, the cheese steak, the retired numbers–they have concession stands shaped like commuter trains. Nice!
Quite nice. Might have scored even higher were it not for the nearby urban blight.
I know there were some promotions, but I can’t remember them. That’s a good sign for quality double-A ball.
Team mascot/name: 2.5/5
Boomer with handler. Nothing special about him or his name–I can’t even tell what he is. Also, I’m not a fan of the name “Thunder.”
Quite a nice place right there on the river.
Pavilion area: 4.5/5
I especially like the places where the river is visible. And I’m sort of counting the river walkway outside the stadium. It’s my party and I’ll break my rules if I want.
That’s right…FREE SCORECARDS. And they say to PLEASE take one. Then, they follow that up with conscientiously-placed scoring decisions, including the too-often-skipped wild pitch/passed ball calls. One of the best ballparks I’ve ever been to in this regard.
It was a splendid night. This is a ballpark I want to visit again.
BASEBALL STUFF I’VE SEEN HERE:
Gabriel Lopez is the batting star for the Thunder, going 4-for-4 with 3 RBIs.
Andrew Pinckney homered for the SeaDogs.(Written April 2008.)