Kindrick Field, Helena, MONTANA
State number: still 31
States to go: 19
Number of games: 1
First game: July 8, 2010 (Great Falls Voyagers 15, Helena Brewers 2)
Kindrick Field underwhelmed me. Seriously–in one of the most gorgeous states around, and in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains, there’s not an attractive feel to the place. The neighborhood, which is sort of semi-industrial-semi-residential is not anything that impresses.
Like many old-time ballparks (Eugene’s old Civic Stadium comes to mind), there is a battle going on inside of Kindrick Field between the comfort of modern ballparks and the charm of old. The orange seats and the green wooden edifice give a bit of an old-timey feel on the inside, and we welcomed the significant legroom the second row offered, since we could simply put Steven on a leash and let him run up and down the row. However, it’s a good thing that we didn’t have general
On the whole, the place simply lacked amenities. I’m not talking about big-time Diamondvision or skyboxes or any of that business. I’m talking about the following conversation I had with
ME: Excuse me, can you tell me where a drinking fountain is?
USHER: I don’t think we have any.
USHER: I don’t think we have any drinking fountains.
Call me crazy, but I don’t think it’s asking too much to have a drinking fountain available for fans.
In any event, I did spend some time walking the water-fountain-less pavilion. I liked the photos of every former Helena player currently playing in the majors: I’ve seen such lists in other places, but seldom photos of everyone with their current team listed. However, while I
There’s atmosphere in the pavilion area, but not a lot of room. An usher stopped me from walking behind the left-field
My goal was to get past the usher, through the beer-drinking members of whatever company had booked the party deck, and down by the Great Falls bullpen to see if I could grab an autograph of a player or two I had watched play in Missoula the previous year. I asked a question that usually nets me access:
Wow! Recognized for the second year in a row! Erik the Peanut Guy in the Tri-Cities had started a trend! I wondered how he knew I was coming…maybe someone who reads this site had seen my name in will call or something?
Anyway, surprised and flattered, I answered in the affirmative, and he let me head back there to take some photos.
When I heard the first-pitch announcement, I became newly aware of my own arrogance. The guy throwing out the first pitch had been to 125 minor league ballparks, over twice my total. So it wasn’t me that the guy was asking about. Funny.
The best memory by far of the evening will involve the wonderful family sitting next to me. I had Michelle and Steven on my right, and a dad with three daughters on my left. One of the girls was in about third grade, one in about sixth or seventh, and the third maybe a sophomore in high school. The girl on my immediate left–the middle one in age–started making eye contact with Steven. She’d look away and then zip her gaze back to him. He started
I was so struck by how wonderful this was that I asked the dad if I could take a picture of his family. He introduced himself as Lenny and said that he and his girls were on their way back from a camping trip. He also said that the girls had a brother almost exactly Steven’s age, so their skill with him was due to practice.
At any rate, we put Steven on the
Missing out on all of this joyous raucousness was the motorcyclist we had met the previous night in Idaho Falls. Just like he said, he was at the ballpark that night, in the row ahead of us and about five seats down, just past the family. In spite of this immediately-behind-home-plate seat,
So, while I’m afraid the ballpark doesn’t have too much going for it, I will remember my night in Helena with nothing but affection. Often, a ballpark is about the people in it more than anything else, and it’s good to have reminders of that from time to time.
Regional feel: 6/10
There are a couple of mountains visible, and a nice effort to honor past Helena players, but the nondescript location hurts the score here.
At times, this was lovely.
Could do a bit more for Rookie ball, and it was hard to hear what was happening because of a pretty bad PA system.
Team Mascot/Name: 2/5
“Kitty!” and “Roar!” my son said when he met these mascots (once they were at a safe distance). He liked them more than I do. Surely Helena can find a new name than that of its parent club–it’s the only team in the Pioneer League that does so. The mascot will follow. But bonus points for naming these guys Lewis the Lion and Clark the Cougar.
Ugly on the outside, beautiful on the inside. View is decent–not as nice as I’d expect in a place as gorgeous as Montana.
A little claustrophobic, and not much going on. Seriously–no water fountains?
Did a pretty good job here. Didn’t always know which player the error was on, though, but always knew hit or error in a timely fashion. Bad PA hurt with pitching changes and pinch hitters.
Quite easily the highlight of the night. Many, many fabulous people at the ballpark engaged in making my son laugh…over and over again. We’re talking about nearly ten strangers ogling my boy. How cool is that?
The people of Helena got me over my negative first impression of the park and made this a fantastic night.
BASEBALL STUFF I’VE SEEN HERE:
Some ugly, ugly stuff. Great Falls led 10-1 after a 4-run third and a 6-run fourth. Let’s tally up just those two innings: Ten runs, nine hits, four wild pitches, three errors, and a hit batsman.
Rafael Vera leads the Great Falls attack with three hits.
A day Brewers’ pitcher Thomas Keeling would rather forget. He came to mop up the ninth, and proceeded to walk the first four batters he faced. He got two guys out, but then gave up a hit and a fifth walk. Connor Lind, normally a position player, had to come in to finish off the game by getting Kyle Davis to pop out to second.
(Written July 2010.)