Friday, August 19, 2011

Canal Park is a hit

The crown jewel of minor league baseball venues in Ohio is Huntington Park in Columbus, home of the Indians' Triple-A affliate, the Columbus Clippers.

Not too far behind is Canal Park in Akron. Co-workers and I checked out the home of the Aeros on Tuesday in what turned out to be a perfect night for baseball.

Baseball phenom Bryce Harper, the No. 1 overall pick in last year's draft, was on display across the diamond for the Harrisburg Senators. Harper had a rough night, but it didn't put a damper on our experience.

Canal Park is worth the visit. The stadium, which opened in 1997, takes its name from its location adjacent to the Ohio and Erie Canal, which runs behind the left-field wall, but isn't visible from your seat, or at least our seats on this night.

Speaking of our seats, it was the best view I've ever had at a ballpark, and for good reason. It could not have been any better. Behind home plate, first row. Loved it.

The entrance to Canal Park is eye-pleasing with a warehouse-type look that gets you into the baseball mood. The field is perfect, the scoreboard is huge, there's a right-field concourse with bleacher seating, a kids play area and a restaurant. Everything a baseball fan could possibly want.

Capacity is just over 9,000, and the drive from Cleveland is an easy one. If the Captains' level of play is a bit too low for you, check out the Aeros, a collection of Double-A talent two call-ups from the big leagues.

Canal Park isn't too shabby either.

- Mark Podolski

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