Parkview Field review has a review of Parkview Field.

From the website, the introduction to the review:

The previous ballpark of the Ft. Wayne Wizards of the Class A Midwest League wasn’t all that old by baseball standards (it opened in 1993), but it is a victim of unfortunate timing. You see, it was constructed just as the marvelous renaissance period of Minor League ballpark design was blooming. As such, it looks somewhat modern — but somewhat sterile, too. Plus, it lacks many of the creature comforts of ballparks of a more recent vintage. I don’t know how much that entered into the local thinking that the Wizards need a new park, but city leaders moved forward on a large development concept in downtown Ft. Wayne that incorporates a new baseball facility. The project is called Harrison Square, and when it is completely finished, it will include a hotel, stores, condos and the baseball stadium. The total price tag for the development is being pegged at $130 million, of which $30 million was earmarked for the ballpark. Yes, it has the fancy luxury suites that the old park lacked, and much, much more. About half the money for the overall project came from private developers, one of which is the team. Ft. Wayne’s City Council officially approved the project by a 6-3 vote on April 24, 2007, paving the way for the project’s design to be finalized. HOK was formally named as the architect two days later. Their detailed rendering of the project is shown below. After a ten-year naming-rights deal was finalized with Parkview Health for a total of $3 million, it was announced the new park will be called Parkview Field. By the way, the nickname of the team changed from the Wizards to the TinCaps, which pays homage to local folk hero Johnny Appleseed. The official groundbreaking ceremony for the new park was held Nov. 29, 2007, which put it right on schedule to open on April 16, 2009 (we visited it two days later, and our full review will be posted shortly).

A couple of quotes from the review:

[…] Freier actually lives in Georgia and has attended games in the new Gwinnett Stadium, a $59-million Triple-A facility that also opened this year. He and his investors all agreed “that if you were told that one of these parks cost about $60 million and the other about $30 (million), they would have guessed it was the other way around.”

Me, too.

[…] From the stunning, classic entry behind home plate (above) to the see-through iron fence (below left) to the stately gates in center field, this is as pretty as the outside of a ballpark can get.

At first glance, you would assume that the exterior is constructed using brick and pre-cast concrete. If you look more closely, you’ll see that the lighter-colored material is actually sandstone — sienna mocha buff sandstone, to be exact. All 260 tons of it came from a quarry in Bedford, Indiana. Again, you wonder how the modest pricetag of $30.6 million permitted the use of such attractive materials.

[…] Indeed, the architectural work here is first-rate. Not only does it pass the “first glance” test with flying colors, it also blows you away when you start doing a thorough analysis of the finer points of the design — especially as “themes” are carried out in different parts of the facility.

[…] The cost of admission is a tad high for the Midwest League, but of course a number of MWL parks are a significant step down from Parkview Field. Well, maybe all of them are. Regardless of the ticket prices, you can’t argue with the seating options. The All Star seats in the infield are $9, while the reserved seats farther down each line cost $8. If you simply want to wander around or sit on the outfield berm (it’s nicely terraced in right-center field), a general admission ticket is $5. As an aside, the cost to rent suites on the upper level is as low as at just about any pro park.

[…] Unfortunately, some of the more interesting vantage points often aren’t sold on an individual-ticket basis. The Club Section in the upper deck behind home plate, with its ridiculously ample leg room (above left), sold out in advance for the entire season. Similarly, groups with at least 60 have dibs on the J. Chapman’s party deck down the first-base line in the upper deck (the area is named for John Chapman, which, remember, is Johnny Appleseed’s real name. The area is shown above right). Also, the Appleseed Picnic Pavilion in the right-field corner and the Field Boxes in the left-field corner are for groups, as is the most noteworthy section in the stadium.

[…] Overall, the food offerings at this Low-A facility are what you would expect to find at nicer Double-A or Triple-A ballparks. Both the variety and quality are quite high.

[…] The scoreboard is certainly one of the nicest in Single-A baseball (again, how did they include all of this for only $30 million?). It is a high-resolution video board measuring a healthy 53′ by 26′, and the team uses it for video skits, ads and, of course, lots of game information.

[…] Jason Freier, who was a tremendous help in putting this review together, told me that he is “thrilled with the way the ballpark turned out.” He should be. He, and the fans of Fort Wayne, received a tremendous ballpark for their $30-million investment.

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  1. Parkview Field really is a great park. I liked that they compared it to the Gwinnett (Suburb of Atlanta) Braves stadium because I now live in Atlanta and went to a GBraves game the other day when a friend of mine who plays for the Durham Bulls was in town. All I kept thinking the whole time was, “man, Hardball Capital did a way better job with a Single-A team in a small-market, than the GBraves did with a Triple-A team in probably the most large-market minor league team there is.”

    I know the Harrison Square project has been a bit controversial, but I think in the long run this will be a great move for the city – and the stadium is just the first part of the picture that proves that.

    I’m going to be in Fort Wayne on the 4th and I really look forward to going to a game in the new stadium.

    • Hi Andy,

      I agree that in the long run, this will be great for the city and downtown in particular. I think we’re already beginning to see this. The past few weekends, even on those without a game, the crowds downtown have been astounding. It seems like almost every weekend, there are simultaneous events at the Grand Wayne Center, Embassy, Conservatory, ACPL, every venue is seeing action. Throw in the wedding Saturday at the Cathedral and there was something going on everywhere! Let’s hope the excitement continues to build and grow!


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