Review: 2018 AAA Challenge-Skills-Derby (Part 1)
Day one is in the books!
Not bad, Columbus, not bad. Certainly not a perfect event, especially from a gameday experience standpoint, but it was a fun night of minor league festivities.
When I arrived at the ballpark, I was extremely happy to see that there was no security theater, like you see in most Major League parks, and some minor league parks, like the Tacoma Rainers’ Cheney Stadium (last years host venue).
Once inside we proceeded to the Columbus Cargo shop on the right hand side. The shop, at least 2300 square feet, was very impressive, and featured a nice collection of general Clippers gear and All-Star commemorative gear.
Usually, these shops get pretty busy, but there were no lines as far as I could tell, which was good. I purchased a curved cap, with the commemorative logo on the front, my eighth.
Once you exit the main store in left field, most fans will turn right into the main concourse, which will take you most of the way around the ballpark, but not all the way around.
The concourse itself is absolutely stunning. For a portion of time, it is tree lined, and even the covered sections are nice and have faux-wood finishes, which creates for an upscale but comfortable setting.
There was no giveaway at the gate, but each seat featured a t-shirt with a tonal version of the commemorative logo. There were six different t-shirt colors, each promoting a different group of players.
For example, as someone who was on the Orange team (sections 1 thru 4), I rooted for the players wearing the orange Pacific Coast League top. There were six different players in each game, the same number of color groups in the stands.
The Clippers were nice enough to provide all fans with the shirt of their size, so if you couldn’t fit into the shirt provided, you could exchange out your shirt with a staff member.
Unfortunately, the Clippers placed too much trust in their fans. By the two hour mark (no innings to give relative time…) when the staff had left their post, these boxes were left out un-attended to the masses, in which people stuffed their bags with as many shirts as they could get their hands on.
Even at the end, people were walking around the seating areas grabbing un-claimed shirts, walking across the street, and selling them for $10.
Back inside the stadium however, I was impressed with all of the ballpark’s amenities. The restrooms were nice and clean, and there was a general admission porch in right field with a fantastic view of the game.
As far as the eats were concerned, there was a good amount of ballpark favorites, and a few local places, like Bob Evans, a local burger place, and City Barbecue, the place where I got my food.
The coleslaw was super fresh, and the pulled pork hit the spot, with tangy barbecue sauce. Overall, this was very good food for a minor league ballpark.
Stay Tuned for Part 2 of this review, coming out tomorrow!