Brian’s At the Ballpark Archives


At the Ballpark – BB&T Coastal Field, Myrtle Beach, SC
July 9, 2008, 7:44 am
Filed under: 2008, Reviews, Uncategorized

  BB&T Coastal Field

BB&T Coastal Field, Myrtle Beach, SC

Concessions: B+

Concessions are relatively varied at BB&T Coastal, and despite some fairly high prices for advanced A -ball, they are of pretty good quality. The pizza is quite good – despite mine being dropped on the floor and replaced – and the ice cream is also rather tasty. A word of caution – the ice cream is a bit more frozen than most soft serve, but with a game-time temperature of 86 and a lot of humidity in the air, you won’t mind.

The cheeseburgers are also rather large, and as ballpark cheeseburgers go, more than passable. There is a grill on the third base side where the burgers are available, and it is one of the more popular features of the park.

Atmosphere: A

A lot of the between-innings entertainment was, at the least, inventive. There were the requisite things seen at the park, such as trivia contests and the like, but there was also a Hooters “frozen t-shirt” contest (which was rather funny to watch, honestly), two guys in sumo outfits squaring off against each other, and a contest where a child got to roll a beach ball around and collect money. I liked the touch that I saw in the park of “manipulating” contests so that kids won. Speaking of kids, one of the attractions that caters to kids is Dinger the Diamond Dog, a retriever that comes out between innings and puts on a show for the crowd, as well as taking water to the umpires. I really thought this was a neat touch, and it’s not a promotion that costs a team a ton of money to put together.

The real plus in terms of atmosphere here is the crowd. Whether it was the tourists in town for vacation or the locals coming out, the crowd was very vocal and into the action the entire time. There was a nice selection of music between innings (when a promotion was not taking place), and the place was quite lively. There were 3707 fans in attendance, and I have seen crowds five and ten times that size that were not as vibrant.

Sight lines: B-

The good thing about Myrtle Beach is that there is no general admission. There are several seating levels, including two seating decks between the baselines. Seats are relatively inexpensive, and there is a seating area behind the left field fence, as well. The concourse does not wrap completely around the field, but there are plenty of places to mill around.

Unfortunately, with the two decks and extra room, there are also support beams for the covered grandstand, and these beams can get in the way if you are sitting in the upper section. I started out behind one of the beams, and I could not see the scoreboard or some of the action in the center of the field before moving to a different seat. Be particularly careful when selecting a seat at BB&T Coastal, as the lesser price may come with an unwanted view of steel. That aside, the view of the field is great from most areas in the seating bowls, and there are television monitors all over the park should you need to get concessions – or even if you need to go to the bathroom.

Parking: A

I made a promise, and I shall keep said promise. I mentioned that the first park I reviewed in the Carolinas that offered free parking would get an A, and Myrtle Beach earns that A. There is a lot off Grissom Parkway that is behind the right field wall and offers more parking than would ever be humanly necessary at this park. Ingress and egress is not really a large concern at this park, as there are multiple streets that can get you back to the “main drags” (US 17, US 501 and Ocean Blvd.) in minutes.

The only real recommendation is that the plentiful group of volunteers that monitor the parking lot should allow drivers to choose the spaces in which they park, instead of trying to guide people into parking spaces. There are plenty of spaces to be had, and parking will not be an issue. There is no need to try to force people into cramped spaces behind and beside large trucks and SUVs. Let people pull through if there are spaces available to do so. I had to turn my car three times to get into the awkward spot the volunteer demanded I use, and this backed up the lot a bit.

Quality of baseball: B

I grew up watching Carolina League baseball, and have grown accustomed to a certain level of play from this advanced-A circuit. I was not entirely disappointed on this evening, as the teams combined for 10 runs on 18 hits. Myrtle Beach starter Ryne Reynoso gave up four runs in the 2nd inning, but settled down afterwards. Potomac defeated the homestanding Pelicans 6-4, though the Pelicans caused a large stir through the crowd with a 9th inning comeback, ending with an Eric Campbell strikeout with the bases loaded.

The one major problem with the game was base umpire Matt Arcovio, who blatantly blew two calls on the basepaths and was out of position for a large portion of the night. I have mentioned umpires in several previous reviews, but when a base coach immediately snaps after a call is made and the manager has to argue multiple calls, you are not correctly doing your job. It is shoddy work like this that makes people think so badly of umpires.

Overall grade: A

I have been trying to get to this park ever since it opened, and the build-up met the hype. The atmosphere is really cool (no other way to describe it, really), the video board is helpful, the seats are surprisingly comfortable for general admission, and the location really can’t be beat. The breeze from the ocean makes its way to the park, and there aren’t many better ways to spend a couple of hours outside. The classic song “Myrtle Beach Days” even plays as fans exit the ballpark, further lending to the experience.

The absolute best part of this park is the people that work there. Everyone was so unbelievably friendly, from the ticket booth to the concessions to the ushers. I have been in many southern ballparks that come nowhere close to meeting the fan experience in this park. There was even an usher that walked through the stands shaking hands with fans and talking to them, which makes a gigantic difference. That connection between team staff and fans sets BB&T Coastal Field apart from a number of other facilities I’ve visited, and it’s a difference I think you’ll notice as well, should your travels lead you to the Grand Strand.

How to get there:

Getting to BB&T Coastal Field is a breeze (pardon the pun). The park is located directly off 21st Avenue North in Myrtle Beach, between the Broadway at the Beach shopping complex and the coast. The stadium is located at 1251 21st Avenue North. If traveling from US 17, turn right at 21st Avenue North, and the park will be ahead on the right. If traveling from US 17 Business or oceanfront lodging, take 21st Avenue North away from the ocean, and the park will be on the left. Parking is located on Grissom Parkway, just beyond the outfield fence.

How I got there:

Total trip time (one-way):  3 hours, 41 minutes (167 miles).

You may also want to see:

  • Broadway at the Beach. This large shopping and entertainment complex within walking distance of the park contains a large number of both chain and local establishments, as well as a small waterway. There is also a section devoted to historic rides from the now-defunct Pavilion amusement park that was a long-time staple of Myrtle Beach. Whether you want to shop, dine or just walk, this is a great place to do so.

  • Charleston, SC. Just 90 miles to the south is a slice of American history in Charleston. There are a large number of historic homes, a beautiful coastline and the epitome of life in the old South. Charleston has lots to offer for the history buff, the weekend warrior and just those who love to witness a slice of Southern culture.

For pictures of this ballpark, visit this site.  For pictures of other ballparks from this feature, visit the photo archives.

To email the author with comments or questions, please send correspondence to footballjones AT gmail DOT com.

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