Blue Wahoos Stadium – Pensacola Blue Wahoos
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The Pensacola Blue Wahoos are the Double-A affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds and are members of the Southern League. They relocated from Zebulon, North Carolina, to Pensacola in 2012, changing their name from the Mudcats to the Blue Wahoos. The blue wahoo is a fish typically found in the waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
Upon relocation, the team moved into a brand new stadium that has quickly been regarded as one of the nicest facilities in minor league baseball. Blue Wahoos Stadium is located on the shores of Pensacola Bay within the Pensacola Maritime Park.
Food & Beverage 5
One of the first things you will need to know about the concession locations at Blue Wahoos Stadium is certain nautical terms. “Port” means left, and “Starboard” means right. This is important, as the two main concession areas are known as the Port Side Grille and the Starboard Grille.
The usual baseball fare is found at each location, but there are a number of Gulf Coast specialties you may want to check out. These include the fish or shrimp po’ boy ($9), the fish fry basket ($8), shrimp and grits ($9) and the beer-battered fish tacos ($9). Pricing for the more traditional baseball fare includes nachos, large hot dogs and a large popcorn at $6, soft-serve ice cream, a medium popcorn, pretzels, roasted peanuts and bottled Gatorade at $4, sodas and bottled water at $3, and child-sized sodas, mini pretzels and popcorn at $1. Adult beverages include McGuire’s souvenir drafts at $8, souvenir drafts at $7 or a medium draft beer at $5.
Other locations within the stadium are McGuire’s Wake Zone, which carries crafted drafts at $8, domestic drafts at $7, ultimates at $15, doubles at $12, specialty bottled beers at $7 and domestic bottled beer at $6. For barbecue lovers, you can visit Wahoos Bullpen BBQ, and for a more eclectic choice of drinks, head to Bubba’s Sand Trap (pro golfer Bubba Watson is a co-owner of the team), which carries signature candy drinks for $20, craft specialty yards for $10, crafted drafts at $8, and frozen drinks for $10. While we are talking about concessions, you want to make sure you visit the Bait and Tackle Shop. This team store carries a full array of Blue Wahoo memorabilia at very reasonable prices.
Before you ever enter the stadium, you know you are in for a special experience, as it is surrounded by the beautiful Maritime Park, instead of a massive asphalt parking lot. If you arrive early enough, take a walk around the sidewalk outside the stadium to get some great views of the bay and check out the beautiful amphitheater just over the center field wall. You will also have the ability to look into the stadium from behind the fences to get a preview of what the field looks like.
Once inside, take notice that Blue Wahoo Stadium has a very low profile and that the concourse is atop the seating bowl. This design is due to the hurricane construction standards for buildings so close to the coast. As a fan, you will benefit, as the seats go right down to field level. This provides an intimate feel not found in the bigger stadiums. There is literally not a bad seat in the house. Looking out over the various outfield walls, terrific views of the bay, an adjoining marina and some beautiful condos can be had. As the sun sets, this becomes a spectacular amenity to this stadium site.
The aisles are clearly marked, and the blue chairback seating is quite comfortable. There are cup holders on every seat. Should you decide to sit on the berm in right/right-center field, you also will have a great view of the field. A playground is available for children if they become restless.
The field itself has dimensions of 342 feet to left field, 400 feet to dead center and 335 feet to right field. The scoreboard is state-of-the-art, with HD graphics to keep you updated on the game and replays of significant plays.
Even though the stadium is entering only its fifth year, the Blue Wahoos are still making minor tweaks to the facility. One of the most important changes concerns safety. When the stadium opened, the netting protected only the area directly behind the backstop. This has now been extended to the end of each dugout, which provides much more protection for fans along the first and third baselines from line drives or flying bats. The next change is cosmetic… the team colors include pink (to mimic the pink of the beautiful sunsets over the bay) and team co – owner Bubba Watson uses a pink driver on the golf course for breast cancer awareness. In an extension of these two concepts, the Blue Wahoos Stadium boasts the only pink foul poles in organized baseball. Finally the left field fence has been moved back 17 feet to accommodate the stadiums other tenant, the University of West Florida’s football program.
Blue Wahoos Stadium is located within Maritime Park, in the downtown area of Pensacola. The land it stands on formerly was the site of oil storage tanks that were removed and remediated during a massive effort at improving the quality of life in the downtown area. The city of Pensacola controls the stadium as a part of Maritime Park, which also includes playgrounds, a performance amphitheater and a walking trail. The city also works closely with the team in allowing the utilization of its city parking lots adjacent to the stadium for parking after business hours. This reduces the need to construct costly parking decks and helps to maintain a very visually attractive space for the stadium. Blue Wahoos Stadium has definitely returned economic growth, bringing new retail and restaurants to an area that does not have immediate access to beaches.
If you can’t find food to your liking inside the park (which will be hard), there are several great restaurants within blocks of the stadium in downtown Pensacola. These include the Union Public House, McGuire’s Irish Pub and Nick’s Boathouse.
Lodging near Blue Wahoos Stadium includes the downtown Pensacola locations of Residence Inn, the Courtyard Marriott and Quality Inn. If you are coming for the ballgame and not for a beach vacation, the hotel rates in the downtown area are significantly lower than beachfront properties.
As the only Minor League Baseball team located on the Florida panhandle, the Blue Wahoos have a fan base that extends eastward to Panama City, Fort Walton and Destin, and westward towards the Gulf Shores area. They are also a fan base that is very educated on baseball, as Pensacola has both a very large retirement population that have transplanted from many major league cities in the northeast, but also a large Naval installation whose service members have longtime memories of baseball from previous duty stations in cities such as San Diego, Boston, San Francisco and New York.
Another factor in the high level of interest in the Blue Wahoos comes from their rivalries with Southern League rivals Mobile and Biloxi, which are both along the I-10 corridor and are within a reasonable driving distance of each other.
Even though the stadium has the smallest capacity of any Southern League or Double-A facility in the country, this only creates more energy among the fan base. Pensacola has the most sellout crowds of any Southern League team, and when a majority of those fans have on the Blue Wahoos colors, it can have a very intimidating effect on the visiting team.
There are numerous routes that will bring you into downtown Pensacola and Blue Wahoos Stadium. These include Highways 90, 98 and Interstates 10 and 110. Parking around the stadium is very easy in one of the many government lots that are open to the public after the business day ends. Once inside, the concourses are very wide and usually are not congested.
One issue that needs to be considered prior to coming to a Blue Wahoos game is access to tickets. Blue Wahoo Stadium has the lowest seating capacity (5,038) of any Double-A park in the nation. It also has a very large season ticket and local fan base. It would be very wise to plan your visit early and buy your tickets online well in advance of your chosen date. Sellouts are not uncommon in Pensacola.
Return on Investment 4
The ticketing structure of the Blue Wahoos is based on location within the stadium and the day of the week the game is being held. Games held on Friday or Saturday cost $2 more than on weekdays. Seating is broken down as follows: Region Club seats are $17 on weekdays, and are located immediately behind the backstop (sections 100-102) at field level. Box seats cost $12 on weekdays, and are located along the baselines between each dugout and the upper seats behind the backstop. Reserved seats are priced at $10 on weekdays and are basically along the lines in the outfield in the upper seats. General admission on weekdays is priced at $7, and consists of seating on the berm area in right/right-center field. The parking situation varies a great deal. There are a number of free lots within walking distance of the stadium (see chart), as well as some paid lots, which can charge between $3 -$10. The concession prices are about average for a Double-A park, and the quality of the food is above average. The lodging in the vicinity of the stadium is much lower than the rates of beachfront properties.
Blue Wahoos Stadium has received rave reviews due to many unique features:
This is one of the most beautiful natural settings for a ballpark anywhere. The sunsets over the bay each night are worth the admission on their own, and the park area surrounding the stadium is a nice bonus.
Management has a real passion for customer service. The staff and vendors of the Blue Wahoos are great representatives for the team through their friendliness and helpful attitude.
Every night of the week is special at a Blue Wahoos game: Giveback Mondays provide local non-profits the opportunity to raise funds through ticket sales and the 50/50 raffle; Fat Tuesdays allow individual patrons to purchase a ticket for an all-you-can-eat buffet on the Winn-Dixie party deck (usually a reserved area for large groups); Wednesdays are Church Nights, which provide special pricing and entertainment to faith-based groups; Thirsty Thursdays provide discounted drink specials; every Friday is FANtastic Friday, as a different giveaway is provided each week; Saturdays are Fireworks Nights and Sunday is Family Day, where youngsters are allowed to run the bases and play catch on the field after the game ends.
Finally, note the frequent flyovers by the Blue Angels, who are based at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola.
New World Inn – Downtown Pensacola
600 S Palafox St
Pensacola, FL 32502
Holiday Inn Express Pensacola Downtown
101 E Main St, Pensacola, FL 32501
Pensacola, FL 32501
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