Classic Park, Eastlake, OHIO
Number of states: still 38
To go: 12
Number of games: 1
First game: August 5, 2021 (Lake County Captains 5, Lansing Lugnuts 1)
After the plane trip from hell (took nearly two days, one cancelled flight and one delayed by six hours, two missed baseball
First impressions are important, and for whatever reason, we kept running into parents being less-than-good with their kids.
The folks working for the Captains were all sweet and kind and small-town family vibing. Promotions were okay–with one notable exception. Every time a Lugnuts batter struck out, we were treated to a sound. This is not uncommon in the minor league world, but this is the only time I had to hear a flushing toilet. They played a flushing toilet. The Captains had a fantastic couple of pitchers who kept missing bats, so I kept hearing a toilet flushing, followed by a blurb advertising a local plumber. I didn’t want to keep hearing this. To be fair, with a 12-year-old, we managed to have it get funnier every time. Someone was having really bad intestinal trouble to keep having to flush like that. So, in the promotions department, this one didn’t do much for me.
At baseball games, we tend to feed ourselves before the game and then enjoy a fifth-inning treat. Steven wanted to recommend the two scoops of Buckeye ice cream, which were fantastic. (The saleswoman, he reports, didn’t know what Buckeye ice cream was–so score one for Steven taking the risk.) And Steven’s jalapeno burger made his eyes water with spiciness–he was a big fan of that. Ah…I remember the days when I could do that kind of thing, too. Enjoy it while you can, kid.
In the end, this ballpark won’t score well. But it hardly matters when you have nice people around you and you’re back on schedule for your 12-year-old trip.
Regional feel: 5/10
I liked the 440 T-shirts and the local advertising and food (“Lake effect ice cream”…love that name). And the lighthouse in center field was pretty cool for a town on Lake Erie. But overall, this didn’t feel like I was in a specific place.
The backs of a strip mall are not charming. Only kind people bumped up this score.
When a big chunk of your spectacle involves a flushing toilet sound, you’re in trouble.
Team mascot/name: 5/5
The mascot, Skipper, was fabulous. We joked around a ton as he honked his weird wrist-horn. It was a joy just to kibitz with him. And the name is just about perfect for a team by a lake–the center field lighthouse is especially nice.
Bad on the inside and on the outside…it just wasn’t an attractive place.
Pavilion area 3/5
On the one hand, I could walk around the entire park and could see the game the whole time. On the other hand, we had the saddest play area I have ever seen in a ballpark. Deflated bouncy houses that were never inflated. (“Luckily there were no kids in there when they deflated it,” Steven points out.)
The Captains were quite good here, catching everybody’s names and scoring decisions (except for missing one pitcher).
Very few of them, and a couple of yelly coaches and dads. One nice parent, but so many kids in front of me.
Some parts of this night were a drag, but I’ll remember the one-one-one time with my eldest kid, as well as his getting two baseballs and winning a promotion.
BASEBALL STUFF I SAW HERE:
Captains’ pitchers were the stars, with four of them (first-round pick Tanner Burns, Jared Janczak, Nick Gallagher, and Kevin Kelly combining on a two-hitter. They combine for 13 strikeouts, which creates 13 toilet-flushing sounds over the PA.
Jordan Diaz homers for the Lugnuts. Jose Tena drives in three for the Captains, including a home run which gives my kid some swag.
Written August 2021.