Fluor Field, Greenville, SOUTH CAROLINA
Number of states: still 37
States to go: 13
First game: August 16, 2018 (Greenville Drive 4, Greensboro Grasshoppers 2)
Click on any photo to see a full-sized version.
First, my I file a complaint? Thank you. Here is my complaint.
The otherwise-fine folks at the Greenville Drive would not allow me to bring in a camera case. And I was lugging along a fairly pricey camera. Grrr. So we headed back to the hotel and left the case, compelling me to hang the camera around my neck all night long. We sat in our seats, right behind the dugout, and I placed the camera in front of me. I was told not to put the camera on the dugout. I get why not: they have mascots and cheerleaders running down the dugout the whole night long. But
Complaint over. Because, outside of this complaint, the night was lovely.
Fluor Field bathes in baseball. Right across the street, Shoeless Joe Jackson’s boyhood home beckons: only open briefly during the week, or I’d have walked inside. As it is, I just liked that it a foul ball with a few bounces from home plate.this annoys me in minor league ballparks, and the Drive laid on the Red Sox stuff awfully heavy: the gift shop felt more like Fenway Park than Fluor Field.
But…then again…Fenway is my favorite park. And the Drive pull off their goal nicely.
First, and most obviously, we have what I’ll call the Minor-league Monster. It’s well done. It, like in Boston, is 310 feet down the line. It, like Boston, has seating upon it. Unlike Boston, however, they would let me up onto it to take some photos (I’ve never tried that at Fenway, to be fair, since my only visit predates the Monster seats, but still, I suspect I’d need the right ticket to get up there). And if a little cloying imitation is what I require in order to get the look from up there, well, I can accept that.
Just something Southern about the evening: the syrupy air, the warmth, the cheerleaders, the voices around me. It was easy to slip into a fine night of baseball with an old friend and chill out. I got over my annoyance. Good job, team.
Regional Feel: 7.5/10.
A pretty high score considering how much the deep South imitated New England. But the local feel found ways to slip in, like a flood through sidewalk cracks. I was even cool with the Panther-themed duds.
Fenway gets a 5/5, so this place gets a one less than that because it’s an imitation.
I don’t have any specific memories of promotions, etc. beyond the Panthers, but liked the feel of the whole night.
Team mascot/name: 3.5/5
Apparently this guy is named Reedy Rip’it the Frog. He’s fine. The team name, Drive, is simple and beautiful.
See “Regional Feel” above. It’s lovely, but it’s stolen (with permission) lovely.
Pavilion area: 4/5
Lots of room to roam, especially by the foul poles. Couldn’t walk around (the monster in the way), but the monster itself is cool.
While the choice to put “One Carolina” instead of names on the players’ backs was noble and symbolically nice, it did slow down scoring a bit. It prevented a perfect score from the WONDERFUL and free game notes and pre-printed scorecard (never seen one of those before) they passed out. Umpire names!
Nice people around us.
Bumpy start hurt this one–but there were way more good moments than bad on this night. Fabulous ballpark.
BASEBALL STUFF I SAW HERE:
Enmanuel de Jesus with strong pitching for the Drive, striking out 10 over 7 innings and picking up the win.
Thomas Jones’ RBI single tied the game in the third for Greensboro. Zach Sterry’s 6th inning homer broke the tie and ended the scoring for the Drive.
Written May 2019.