Friday, July 10, 2009

Tour 2009: Richmond County Bank Ballpark

All photos of Guggenheim Museum, Staten Island ferry, and Richmond County Bank Ballpark available on Flickr.

Our productive trip to New York finally came to a close today. It was yet another gorgeous morning as we walked through Central Park to the Guggenheim, our pre-ball activity for the day. The museum is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, and there is a Frank Lloyd Wright exhibit there that we wanted to see. It not only commemorates the Guggenheim itself (Wright's last fully realized work) but a lot of his work, both built and unbuilt, from his early ready-made home days all the way up through his death. It was a great showcase of some of his original graphite sketches, accompanied by some models of Wright's work built by a local Brooklyn firm. A couple hours and a few illegal photographs later, we headed for the #5 train towards the Staten Island ferry.

The passenger ferry runs from Battery Park every half-hour, and is the most convenient way to get to Staten Island, since there are no roads that run there directly from Manhattan. The ride was about 90% tourists just along for the ride, and it seems from eavesdropping on a local that few people take the ferry for much else during the day. After the ride, tourists will just get off and get back in line to head back to Manhattan, never setting foot on Staten Island, and it's a pretty saavy loophole to get to see the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island for free. Erik and I came ashore about 4:30, and shuffled past the out-of-towners with a handful of people towards the ballpark. The park is right on the harbor and is only a few minutes' walk from the ferry, and we spent about 20 minutes checking out the exterior and a nearby September 11th memorial. Gates opened at 5, but we decided that we needed to go to the bar one more time before the trip was over, so we stopped at a local tap for a few and talked ball with some of the locals.

We got inside the park and were immediately awestruck by the view. On a clear day like today, you can see the Manhattan skyline and the Statue of Liberty, and it is incredible. The stadium here was even closer to the ocean than Brooklyn's, and that is reflected in the stadium's sailboat motif at all the entries. Beyond the view though, there really isn't much else that needs to be done architecturally to make it a great park, and the design certainly takes a backseat here to the panorama across the harbor. Of all of the parks we went to this week, this was the oldest at 10 years, but it still seems brand new and is kept up very nice. There isn't a lot in the way of vending options, and I think that there should be some sort of picnic deck in right field to take advantage of the view, but overall I was very surprised and impressed by Richmond County Bank Ballpark. Erik and I both agree that of the four parks we went to this week, that Staten Island Yankees season tickets would be the way to go.

The game tonight was actually a single-gate doubleheader versus the Cyclones, with the first game being a makeup from an Opening Day rainout. They play two 7-inning games for doubleheaders in the minors, so it actually went by pretty fast. It also went by fast because as was the case the night before in Brooklyn, there was not a lot of offense. The Cyclones and Yankees split the doubleheader, with Brooklyn winning the first game 4-0 and losing the second game 3-2. The first game was a messy game by Staten Island in which two of the runs they gave up were unearned, and on only 3 hits. Nick Santomauro and Luis Rivera had RBI for the 'Clones, and Brandon Moore tossed a CG, 8-K shutout, lowering his ERA to 0.62 in the process. The second game was a comeback win for the Yanks. After mustering almost no offense in the first 12 innings of the night, Jimmy Paredes hit a solo homerun in the 6th to pull Staten Island within one, and capped off the victory with a walk-off bases-loaded single by DeAngelo Mack. Our trip literally ended with a bang as post-game fireworks ensued shortly after the game, and we had an excellent view from our seats four rows up from first base. My last official photos taken on the entire trip were the Yankees' three cow mascots watching the fireworks from behind homeplate, and a gorgeous night shot of lower Manhattan on the ferry ride home.

What a blast we had! This trip definitely changed my view of New York quite a bit. It's still a little bit too hectic and expensive for my taste, but I enjoyed myself much more than the other times I've been there. Uptown Manhattan was a great place to stay for a week and I look forward to hopefully making it back this way someday. Seven days, seven games, five boroughs, 66 innings, 68 dogs!

park stats and rankings:
aesthetics - 4
views from park - 10 (Manhattan/Statue of Liberty)
view to field - 9 (sun directly in face for first few innings)
surrounding area - 3 (ocean nearby, but nothing going on in Staten island)
food variety - 3
nachos - 2 (decent, but more of a taco salad than 'chos)
beer - 8 (great price and size, moderate variety)
vendor price - 7
ticket price - 5 ($12 is steep for short-season A ball)
atmosphere - 4
walk to park - 10 (Staten Island ferry)
parking proximity - n/a (free ferry)
concourses - 8 (wide, great view)
team shop - 6

best food - italian ice
most unique stadium feature - the view
best jumbotron feature - Scooter, Red, and Huck the Cow mascot introductions
best between-inning feature - Huck the Magician defies gravity

field dimensions - 322/390/318
starters - Brandon Moore (BRK) v. Arodys Vizcaino (SI); James Fuller v. Michael Solbach
opponent - Brooklyn Cyclones
time of game - 1:45; 1:50
attendance - 7171 (total)
score - 4-0 L, 3-2 W
Brewers score that day - 12-8 L

Brewers 45-43, -2.5 (4 @ Reds)
Reds 42-45, -5.0 (4 v. Brewers)
Twins 45-44, -4.0 (3 @ Rangers)

Erik - 34 (+13 worked)
Peter - 41

No comments: