My youngest daughter and I have now visited all three current Class A parks in Michigan. We visited the Loons today at Dow Diamond along with another of my daughters.
The game itself was a strange one. The Loons gave up 5 runs in the top of the first. They went on to score 8 runs on 5 hits and win the game 8-6. The River Bandits walked up to 4 runners in some innings. All of the scoring happened in the first 3 1/2 innings. Neither starter survived the second inning.
I did not do my prospect homework so I do not know if there was anyone I should have watched.
The concessions variety was comparable to Lansing and better than West Michigan. I had a prime rib sandwich with homemade chips for $7.00. A local team-themed beer that I think was between 16 and 20 ounces cost $5.75. A large two-scoop ice cream cone costs $3.75. None of these prices seems particularly high by professional baseball standards. The children gave the chicken tenders so-so ratings, preferring the thicker ones at Comerica Park. They raved about the french fries, however. I think they were batter dipped based on their explanation. A small picnic area near the home plate entrance made a great sheltered area to eat lunch.
The fans seemed like regulars and did a good job of participating. When something good happens for the Loons the crowd is cued by a song and does alternating vertical fist pumps (the Funky Feather I am told by the staff member in charge of section 113). A couple by the visiting dug out in section 112 entertained us by always picking a rooting interest in the on field games between children selected from the stands.
We ended up with a t-shirt after an interns errant t-shirt shot landed in the groundskeeper area between 113 and the general admission lawn seating. My middle daughter asked for and received the shirt. My youngest daughter was able to get the center fielders attention and get the ball used for the last out of the top of the fourth inning tossed to her.
The only real Minor League baseball moment came when a member of the grounds keeping crew threw a ball to a woman in the row in front of ours. He had added lyrics to “Call Me Maybe” and a phone number to the ball in pen. After some discussion between her and a friend they were not sure if she should call, but it was not ruled out. Some might consider the promo item- a spoof movie poster of Singing in the Rain featuring Rall E. Camel and Ryan O’Sullivan a second Minor League moment.
The souvenir shop is two stories. It seemed to have a lot of variety. A lot of it was aimed at young kids through the loon and camel mascots. Based on cap prices the prices seem to be about 20% less than a Major League stadium. By the end of the day I was a Tiger fan wearing a promotional Pittsburgh shirt and an alternate Dodgers single A cap.
This was by far the easiest stadium to leave. It seemed only 2000 or so of the paid 3,600 were there. But, I was the third car in line to get on a one mile road that feeds directly into a 70 MPH connector to M10 and then I-75. Withing 15 minutes I had traveled the 15 or so miles to I-75 and was headed back to the metro area. West Michigan had a short wait in line’s to make it to the freeway. Lansing has multiple lots and (sometimes has) fireworks road closures that makes it hard to get away.
We would visit Dow Diamond again. Since it is a 2 hour drive in the best of circumstances I think we would not do this every year and we would probably only do day games. It actually took us closer to 2 1/2 hours today because of construction on I-96 before we even made it out of the Detroit area.