Ballpark Bites: Bullpen Carts, Rattler Bites & LED Lights
Another week, another tour around the world of baseball parks and the many changes that take place both on and off the field. This week’s edition of Ballpark Bites looks at the return of the bullpen cart for Arizona Diamondback games, ballpark passes for Lansing Lugnuts, and a food fight vote taking place with the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers.
The Return of the Bullpen Cart in Arizona
A blast from the past will take place this season at Chase Field in Phoenix; it will be the return of the bullpen cart. The popular mode of transportation enjoyed its heyday bringing in relievers from the bullpen from the 1960s to the 1980s but has not been used since 1995.
The cart will be updated, and feature the familiar baseball cap roof. It will also act as a sponsorship vehicle. OnTrac, the delivery services company, has inked a three-year deal to have its name on the cart.
I wonder if the New York Yankees will bring back the pinstriped Datsun that was used to transport relievers like Goose Gossage to the mound. However, not sure Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” would have had the same ring to if Mariano Rivera used a bullpen cart.
Lake Olmstead Stadium May Get a New Look
The former home of the Augusta GreenJackets Lake Olmstead Stadium may get a new life as an outdoor concert venue or possibly a mixed-use facility. The city-owned stadium is currently being used by the Augusta University baseball program, but others think it has a future as an outdoor amphitheater.
According to ABC affiliate, WJBF.com recreation officials are in the process of getting a mobile stage, so the stadium could be used for concerts. They say turning it into a full-time amphitheater would require extensive renovations not to mention concerns about a lack of parking.
The news is good that this former minor league ballpark is not slated for demolition anytime soon and that the city is thinking of new ways to use the facility for future use in the community. The Jackets will open the 2018 season across the river in North Augusta, South Carolina, in SRP Park.
Salt Lake City to Install LED Lights to Ballpark
The home of the Salt Lake Bees Smith’s Ballpark will be getting new LED lights this year-168 of them will replace the outdated 342 metal halide lamps that are deemed outdated. The new LED lights will cost the city $630,000 to install, but reduce consumption by a staggering 65% while saving money on maintenance due in part to its 25-year warranty.
According to Marc Amicone, Bees president and general manager, the new lights will minimize glare, reduce noise, and lower electricity consumption. Salt Lake is not the only ballpark to increase efforts to reduce energy cost, initiatives can be seen from the majors in San Diego all the way to the independents in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Heck, I just replaced 24 halogen bulbs in my basement with LED lights and scheduled a home-energy consultant to visit my house later this month. What’s good for the ballpark is good for my home.
Lansing Lugnuts to Offer Ballpark Pass
The Lansing Lugnuts of the Midwest League is just the latest organization to offer its fans a ballpark pass. The monthly service will allow the ticket holder access to every home games for a $40 a month fee from an app on their phone. The cost will also allow the user access to high demand games like opening day, Independence Day and the 2018 MWL All-Star Game. The pass will also grant access to the Good Hops craft beer bistro.
“Cooley Law School Stadium and downtown Lansing have seen quite the transformation in recent years. With the influx of residential housing in the area, we wanted to look at some different ticketing options,” stated Lugnuts general manager Tyler Parsons in a press release.
The ballpark itself has seen quite the change to its appearance with a wraparound concourse, new scoreboard, theater-style seating, and playing surface that were part of a $25 million renovation project in 2015.
Timber Rattlers Fan Choice Food Fight
The West Michigan Whitecaps are not the only Midwestern League team to offer fans a chance to vote on new menu options–wish I would have known, still have that ice cream donut sandwich in the freezer–this year at Neuroscience Group Field at Fox Cities Stadium.
The finalists are the Whiffle Waffle (spicy fried chicken served between buttermilk waffles) Peanut Butter Slugger Hugger (a burger with cheese, bacon, and peanut butter on a pretzel bun), Rattlers Bites (sauerkraut, chopped brats and cream cheese deep fried in a wonton wrapper), Baked Mac ‘N Cheese Burger, and Cheese Buroagie (a burger smothered between mac n’ cheese on a toasted hoagie bun and topped with onions, peppers and venom sauce).
Votes can be done through the team’s website with the winner receiving four tickets to the home opener and opportunity to throw out ceremonial first pitch. The winner will be announced on March 12.