Brian’s At the Ballpark Archives


At the Ballpark – Victory Field, Indianapolis, IN
July 24, 2007, 6:27 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

At The Ballpark: Victory Field, Indianapolis, IN


Indianapolis has a pretty decent little sports footprint. The reigning champions of the National Football League take residence in downtown Indianapolis’ RCA Dome. The NBA and WNBA’s Pacers and Fever, respectively, are housed just a few blocks away in Conseco Fieldhouse. The offices of the NCAA are also located in Indy.

 

Tucked between all of this sports bustle is one of the more critically-acclaimed facilities in all of the minors. Victory Field is barely a decade old, but has still carved out a pretty nice reputation as a great place to see a game. The stadium was recommended to me by several people whose word I hold in high esteem. Could this place really be as great as everyone seems to think it is? Let’s find out.


Concessions: A-

The concessions in Victory Field are good, and the selection plentiful. However, what you pay and what you get don’t really compare. I had a slice of pizza that was really tasty, but for $3.75, the portion was not big enough. Also, sodas in souvenir cups are $3.50 (Victory Field also has Diet Mountain Dew, which is a plus), which is okay, I suppose. The park also has ice cream (I strongly recommend the sundaes), grill items, a burger bar and Mexican fare, among other things. Be prepared to be able to get just about anything you’ll want, but you’ll also pay quite a bit for it.

 
Between-innings entertainment: C-

 

Were this a review of the pre-game entertainment, I would give this park an A. The video board ran highlight montages, accompanied by a pretty darn good musical soundtrack, then featured a brief magazine-style show on the Indians. These were nice touches…and then the game started. The in-game entertainment featured several performances by frisbee catching dogs, the always-lame Kiss Cam and the even more lame Flex Cam (this was so stupid I took a picture of the video board) and much less of the great musical soundtrack I heard before the game.

Sight lines: A

The “there is not a bad seat in the house” statement is way, way overplayed, but the game action is visible from literally every seat – fixed or not – in Victory Field. There is a concourse that completely circles the ballpark, and depending on your seat, you get views of the rather impressive downtown Indianapolis area or of the RCA Dome. The view is amazing, and is easily the best scenery I’ve ever seen beyond an outfield fence. Also, despite the fact that the concourses are really wide and the concession stands are facing the field, the club offers closed-circuit TV feeds of the game action at the stands, which is a really nice touch.

 

There is only one complaint to be made regarding the sights in the park. If you happen to have a seat on the first base line for a night game, be prepared to squint for the first five innings or so. The sun sets at a level where it is right in the eyes of anyone down the first base line. This is not something that can be easily corrected, but be prepared.

Promotions: NA

No promotions took place on this night. The game the following day was part of the Souvenir Sunday series at Victory Field.

Parking: F

I know before it is even said that not much can be done to correct this issue due to the layout of Indianapolis’ downtown, but it is a true pain to try to park around this stadium. There are several surface lots around the park, but if there is an event in town (as there was on this trip), forget it. I had to fight downtown traffic, only to circle back around downtown after just about every space downtown was occupied. The parking near the stadium is sparse, so finding a space can chew up most of the 90-minute period between the opening of the gates and first pitch. I would recommend parking behind the convenience store at the corner of West and Kentucky, as you can walk out of the right field gate and take the short jaunt up the street to your car, or staying in one of the hotels near the park (Courtyard, Holiday Inn Express, etc.) that offer reasonable parking rates.

Quality of baseball: A+
Considering the game was a battle of the Pirates and Rays’ AAA clubs, this is a pretty surprising grade, but this game was wonderful. My last ballpark visits yielded 62 hits and 40 runs combined in 2 games, but this game ended in a 2-1 Durham victory in extra innings. The game was won on a Ben Zobrist home run in the 10th. There were a number of really impressive players, including Indy outfielders Adam Boeve and Yurendell DeCaster, first baseman Brad Eldred (who homered for Indy’s lone run) and pitchers Bryan Bullington and Josh Sharpless and Durham outfielder Jason Pridie, catcher Shawn Riggans and pitchers Mike Prochaska (who was just called up before the game), Chad Orvella and Juan Salas. Sharpless pitched three innings for Indy, taking the tough-luck loss when the only hit he allowed in those innings was Ben Zobrist’s game-winning homer. I was disappointed that a lot of the fans streamed for the exits after the bottom of the ninth, but at least they missed Zobrist’s blast.

Overall grade: A

This stadium is one of the best I’ve ever seen, and with a few changes, could be perfect. The atmosphere in Indianapolis is of major league quality, and I think this city could support a big league club. Sadly, a lot of the ambiance of the park would disappear with filling in the outfield with seats and expanding the second deck. If you can get past some of the minor annoyances with parking, this is one of those parks you really need to endeavor to attend. The scenery is wonderful, the baseball is good and the atmosphere is fantastic.

 

How to get there:

With interstate 70 around Indianapolis being in a state of construction as of this writing, getting to the park is a bit challenging. US 40 (West Washington Street) runs behind the ballpark, and West Street passes by the outfield fence. It would normally be recommended to follow the directions from the club’s official website, but be careful with 70 under construction and many of the exit ramps being closed. It may be more advisable to stick with US 40.

 

You may also want to see:

  • The Indianapolis Zoo. This world-class zoo features a number of exhibits, including dolphin and penguin exhibits. The facility is located near the ballpark, so this may be something you want to include as part of a full day’s activities.

  • Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The Brickyard is one of the stretches of hallowed ground in automotive racing, playing host to both open-wheel and NASCAR contests. Much like Daytona, the racetrack is one of the featured attractions in the city, and if you are at all a racing fan, this is a must-see destination.

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