I know it has been a very long time since I've posted and probably because I've been busy with two children. However my ballpark quest hasn't dropped off. I've been to 8 parks (7 new) since my last post for Augusta last year. 6 of the 8 are Minor League Parks while I made my first trip to PNC Park. I will get to those all later.
For now, I will talk about Huntsville's Joe Davis Stadium, a place I visited on Father's Day 2012.
I heard numerous knocks on Joe Davis Stadium, as some have claimed that it was the worst ballpark in all of Minor League Baseball. I couldn't see how that was possible after going to Birmingham's Regions Park and Chattanooga's AT&T Field. And after this trip I still can't see it.
Huntsville's park will never ever win Minor League Baseball's Park of the Year. That's for sure. It is run-down and the owners are somewhat holding a gun to the city, demanding a new ballpark or they'll move the Stars out of Huntsville, which means the maintenance is very shoddy to prove their point. But there were some redeeming qualities of the park.
The first thing was the staff at the park were all incredibly nice and courteous. It was bobblehead day and they gave us a few extra bobbleheads given how the place was around 1,500 for the attendance (which for Huntsville, that was high).
The next thing was that prices as a whole, both for food and souvenirs were relatively cheap even for a Minor League game. And $8 for a ticket puts you anywhere in the park you so well please.
One of the unique things I have seen on my trips was the bathroom. A sign by the sink had the "how-to" on washing your hands and it said "hum take me out to the ball-game all the way through as you scrub your hands with soap." I liked it for some oddball reason.
While the inside of the stadium itself was rough to look at as signs were torn off their hinges, the scoreboard display was not working, and there was no overhead to protect you from the shade, the backdrop was a gem, overlooking the Northern Alabama hills which gives it a nice, scenic view.
Our moment of the day though came in the third inning when a foul ball blazed past me and my wife with our two kids with us, giving us a heart attack in the process. I ended up getting the ball since we were the last ones in the row and it it the fence behind us and came back. Nice "moment." The other moment was my daughter got to run on the field between innings.
But overall, I actually liked my visit to Huntsville. Prices were reasonable, food was good, and the staff was great. And you still had that Minor League Baseball feel (something I think Chattanooga lacked). The stadium itself was a mediocre looking stadium however with aluminum pretty much covering the entire park. It wasn't bad, but just not for baseball.
What I liked:
1. Staff. Great.
2. Food. Very tasty and some unique things like the bagel cheeseburger. The bagel itself was a pretzel-style bagel too.
3. The backdrop of the Alabama hills.
4. The bathroom sign.
What I didn't like:
1. Owners have let this park to waste. Poorly maintained and even the staff were wondering if the Stars were on the move.
2. Excessive seats. Huntsville might be the lone park in Minor League Baseball that is a multi-sport stadium as it is used for high school football and if I am not mistaken, North Alabama games. So you have about 10,000 for a capacity, a little too high for AA ball.
3. Scoreboard. The LED was not in use and they just had the line portion of the scoreboard working.
Overall I gave Joe Davis Stadium a 78%. It was better than I imagined, but just too run-down and with no effort to improve it, it would probably get worse as the years continue in Huntsville. I'm thinking either the Stars will move or get their park soon.
My overall stadium standings for MILB