Coolray Field, Lawrenceville, GEORGIA
Number of states: still 38
States to go: 12
First game: August 19, 2018 (Buffalo Bisons 4, Gwinnett Stripers 2)
Click on any image to see a full-size version.
I splurged for our game at Coolray Field, getting the box seats immediately behind home plate that included free food before the game. Turned out to be a really good idea, too, since it was, I believe, about a bazillion degrees with ten thousand percent
Of course, I did my traditional circumnavigation of the ballpark before all that, and found a highly unusual setting for a ballpark. Right past the right field line: an apartment building. Had I been so inclined, I could have tossed popcorn into the pool. Pretty good view of the park from the upper floors, too: if ever I move to the northeastern suburbs and exurbs
The apartments lay out a critical issue with the ballpark, however, and it is the same issue that I had with SunTrust Park: the antiseptic nature of the location. This ballpark is both everywhere and nowhere. To get there, we drove past strip malls and
The ballpark didn’t have much going on in the way of local color that I noticed anyway: I appreciated the Braves pictures down in the air conditioned room that we paid top dollar for, but beyond that, this was a pretty low fail in the “do you have any idea where you are” test. And not only did we have no idea where we are, but people didn’t seem to know where the
Fun afternoon for us, though. I do enjoy being in the front row. Although I didn’t factor in that Bisons’ players would be
But I still am impressed with how regularly Matt can strike up conversations with strangers. I recall his discussion with
My conversations were not nearly as important or, I have to admit, even as verbal. But my conversation was with Vlad. He headed into the on-deck circle in the first inning, and this transpired:
ME: [makes eye contact]
VLAD: [does not back down from eye contact]
ME: [lifts chin quickly, the international sign for “what’s up”]
VLAD: [also lifts chin quickly]
That’s right: I was acknowledged by one Vladimir Guerrero, Junior. He was batting .345 with an OPS over 1.000 when this happened, and I believe his average went up thereafter (although not in this game). I hope he remembers me. In fact, I am confident
Shout out to the young woman from Saskatchewan, whose name I have forgotten, who was seated next to us and put up with our foolishness. She was a long way from home, but sets aside a trip to ballparks every year so she can take photographs. I hope that she had some really good ones from this hot, hot day.
In summation: fun day. Dull ballpark.
REGIONAL FEEL: 3/10. I guess I can give some points for hot and humid, but there truly wasn’t much going on here that said “Georgia” outside of a few photos in the air conditioned room.
CHARM: 2/5. Felt like a hotel lobby: clean, clear, locationless.
SPECTACLE: 4.5/5. Nice here. Not much except for families throwing the ball around on the field prior to the game. Good and quiet: appropriate for triple-A ball.
TEAM MASCOT/NAME: 3.5/5
Love the name Stripers (it’s a fish). Very appropriate, and I bought a hat: which I don’t often do on these trips. The mascot, Chopper, I am less sure about. Turns out he’s a groundhog, but I had to check his Twitter feed to learn that. There, I no longer feel the connection. Feels right if the team moves to Punxatawney, though.
PAVILION AREA 3.5/5
I remember that walk around the park, and how long it was: often a ways back from the park. Not much going on in the way of history or exhibits that I remember, though.
No issues here, although no real challenges, either.
Points for my Canadian friend, but where was everyone else?
Thanks, Vlad! Quality play brought this up a bit, but miserable heat brought it down.
BASEBALL STUFF I SAW HERE:
Decent pitchers’ duel between Kyle Wright and Mike Hauschild brings us to the 8th. There, the Bisons’ Jonathan Davis homers to untie the score. Reese McGuire then scored Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. on a single to tack on a run.
Two hits and an RBI for Sean Kazmar, whom I had last seen 8 years earlier as a Portland Beaver.
Written June 2019.