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Fifth Third Field aka ballpark

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After the fire, who else thinks it would be a great idea to rebuild downtown?

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It didn't burn to the ground.

 

And it is fine where it is. Why abandon their current location?

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Yeah, I know it didn't burn totally. I've just always wanted to see them downtown. I believe John Wheeler also floated this idea in the past.

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Yeah, I know it didn't burn totally. I've just always wanted to see them downtown. I believe John Wheeler also floated this idea in the past.

 

I think with the insurance mess they're going to be dealing with, particularly since it sounds like one of the work contractors was at fault, I don't think they're going to be willing to entertain a $50 Million move to downtown right now. Particularly since they're dedicated to being open for business in April for the Whitecaps season.

 

Why not bring this idea up again in a couple of years. The city doesn't have the money. The county doesn't have the money. So the idea is moot.

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A new state-of-the-art stadium and an overhaul of the franchise and re-name using "GR" in the symbol could do a lot for community support and wider recognition. At the vary least, maybe they will replace the cheap looking vinyl siding! 

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i certainly dont want to kick anyone while they are down, but this ballpark is one of, if not the worst ballpark ive ever been to. dont get me wrong, i love going to caps games. but the stadium itself is as exciting as white bread and water for dinner. they could use this opportunity to make a more pleasing and original stadium. i would rebuild those suites and add another level above it on the first base side only. then, where the second row of suites ends behind home plate, i would open that up with tables and chairs along a railing with a bar behind it and run that down the third base side. and i would add a partial roof over the whole grand stand. one that maybe covers 5-10 rows of seats. that would make the park look more original and pleasing to the eye and atmosphere of the stadium.

 

i apologize for the lack of grammar and punctuation, but im lazy in those areas.

Edited by ironyisadeadscene

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Ha, I knew there would be a thread on this as soon as I saw the news.  :)

 

From the owners' perspective, they've already got a damaged stadium; the only thing worse would be lost home games when the season starts.  It's lost revenue.  They're going to bust their butts to get the ballpark ready by April.  Missing a season to build a new stadium is the last thing they want to do.

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i certainly dont want to kick anyone while they are down, but this ballpark is one of, if not the worst ballpark ive ever been to. dont get me wrong, i love going to caps games. but the stadium itself is as exciting as white bread and water for dinner. they could use this opportunity to make a more pleasing and original stadium. i would rebuild those suites and add another level above it on the first base side only. then, where the second row of suites ends behind home plate, i would open that up with tables and chairs along a railing with a bar behind it and run that down the third base side. and i would add a partial roof over the whole grand stand. one that maybe covers 5-10 rows of seats. that would make the park look more original and pleasing to the eye and atmosphere of the stadium.

 

I realize that it was built twenty years ago and expectations have escalated since then but when it was built it was considered a palace compared to the dumps that most lower minor league teams played in at the time.  I think to some extent, the success of the Whitecaps ballpark led to the construction of all the nice new minor league parks since then.  As far as another row of suites, is there a demand for them?  I suspect not but I don’t really know.

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Ha, I knew there would be a thread on this as soon as I saw the news.  :)

 

From the owners' perspective, they've already got a damaged stadium; the only thing worse would be lost home games when the season starts.  It's lost revenue.  They're going to bust their butts to get the ballpark ready by April.  Missing a season to build a new stadium is the last thing they want to do.

 

On the news this morning the 5/3 reps said they thought it was about $500,000 in damage. I think that might be a tad low but I'm sure insurance will pick it up. Even still, $500,000 vs $50 Million+ for a downtown stadium? I think it would have to be a 5 year plan type of thing. Since it's all privately funded, that's a lot of money to raise. The Downtown Market was $34 Million (?) and took 3 years (or more) to raise that kind of private money, even with some public dollars thrown in.

 

There's also this:

 

http://gazette.com/success-of-downtown-stadiums-a-mixed-bag/article/1506322

 

 

They're essentially a walled off block downtown for 6 months of the year, plus a 5000 car parking deck. Not much different from a casino. Is that really all that attractive for a downtown?

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I realize that it was built twenty years ago and expectations have escalated since then but when it was built it was considered a palace compared to the dumps that most lower minor league teams played in at the time.  I think to some extent, the success of the Whitecaps ballpark led to the construction of all the nice new minor league parks since then.  As far as another row of suites, is there a demand for them?  I suspect not but I don’t really know.

 

most minor league parks follow the same formula. seating bowl around homeplate down the baselines, open concourse, level of suites above it. the thing is, other ballparks have followed the same formula and built stunning ballparks. i get that 5/3rd ballpark may have set the trend, but now, its in bad need of an overhaul.

 

as for a second level of suites, i dont know if the demand is there for them. im just thinking about how to make the ballpark more pleasing and original. it would only double deck the area that was lost yesterday. the open bar would swing from down home plate to the left field line, and a roof above it that covers some seats.

 

also, replace the seats with green seats. ballparks are supposed to be green.

 

one thing i DID notice about the ballpark is the addition of seats from the suites. used to be all indoor suites, now you can exit them and sit outside them. that actually made the park alot nicer. a small change like that can do alot for a ballpark.

 

again, i dont want to kick grand rapids while its down. i love the city and adopted its teams as my own. but the ballpark could be so much better.

 

for examples of a beautiful minor league stadium, look at huntington park in columbus ohio. its the same size as 5/3rd ballpark. it is stunning. i just feel, as a baseball fanatic, they are settling for a mediocre park at this point. but 20 years ago, it did set the standard.

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On the news this morning the 5/3 reps said they thought it was about $500,000 in damage. I think that might be a tad low but I'm sure insurance will pick it up. Even still, $500,000 vs $50 Million+ for a downtown stadium? I think it would have to be a 5 year plan type of thing. Since it's all privately funded, that's a lot of money to raise. The Downtown Market was $34 Million (?) and took 3 years (or more) to raise that kind of private money, even with some public dollars thrown in.

 

There's also this:

 

http://gazette.com/success-of-downtown-stadiums-a-mixed-bag/article/1506322

 

 

They're essentially a walled off block downtown for 6 months of the year, plus a 5000 car parking deck. Not much different from a casino. Is that really all that attractive for a downtown?

 

absolutely. i get that baseball stadiums in the north (and in general) are largely only used for baseball with few exceptions, and that the building is idle for 6 months, but a downtown park would be a great addition. especially in the arena area, where the  bar and entertainment district is already well established.

 

that said, if they made improvements to the current park, it wouldnt be needed.

 

also, a new or significantly improved ballpark could be used to land a AA or AAA team. a city grand rapids size shouldnt have a single A team.

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 also, a new or significantly improved ballpark could be used to land a AA or AAA team. a city grand rapids size shouldnt have a single A team.

I have given more thought to sports development in GR and it's potential to land different levels of different sports than one should. Market wise we should have a higher, preferably AAA, baseball team. The Midwest is quite dense with MLB and AAA teams and I'm not sure the region needs another one. Toledo seems to have a strong hold on the Tigers AAA team, would local fans support another MLB teams players the same as the Tigers. Say for instance Indy got a MLB team and located their AAA team here, would anyone care? This would also infer the relocation of the Whitecaps. I think one reason they are so successful is that fans can watch kids in person and then watch them play on TV for the Tigers in a few years. Most baseball fans around here seem to follow the Tigers.

I keep debating if a AAA team would be successful here. Ticket prices would be higher and the focus would be higher on baseball, than promotions. It seems that half the stadium emptys out about 9pm at every game I've been to, would parents take take their young children at the same rate if it was a more serious baseball atmosphere?

When the Whitecaps came into existence, the owners were looking to buy any minor league team and relocate them to GR, the Madison Muskies were available. So that's what we got. Were they to have gotten their hands on a AAA team back then we would have one today. Cost may have had a major factor, I don't know what different levels of minor league teams went for in the early 90's. At least that's always been my understanding of the teams beginnings.

As for the ballpark, it has the capacity to host a higher team, I'm not a big fan of the design, particularly the siding on the suites and press box, but it's a A stadium, so I give it a pass. It could be far worse. The park has been upgraded many times over he years.

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I have given more thought to sports development in GR and it's potential to land different levels of different sports than one should. Market wise we should have a higher, preferably AAA, baseball team. The Midwest is quite dense with MLB and AAA teams and I'm not sure the region needs another one. Toledo seems to have a strong hold on the Tigers AAA team, would local fans support another MLB teams players the same as the Tigers. Say for instance Indy got a MLB team and located their AAA team here, would anyone care? This would also infer the relocation of the Whitecaps. I think one reason they are so successful is that fans can watch kids in person and then watch them play on TV for the Tigers in a few years. Most baseball fans around here seem to follow the Tigers.

I keep debating if a AAA team would be successful here. Ticket prices would be higher and the focus would be higher on baseball, than promotions. It seems that half the stadium emptys out about 9pm at every game I've been to, would parents take take their young children at the same rate if it was a more serious baseball atmosphere?

When the Whitecaps came into existence, the owners were looking to buy any minor league team and relocate them to GR, the Madison Muskies were available. So that's what we got. Were they to have gotten their hands on a AAA team back then we would have one today. Cost may have had a major factor, I don't know what different levels of minor league teams went for in the early 90's. At least that's always been my understanding of the teams beginnings.

As for the ballpark, it has the capacity to host a higher team, I'm not a big fan of the design, particularly the siding on the suites and press box, but it's a A stadium, so I give it a pass. It could be far worse. The park has been upgraded many times over he years.

i think these are all good points, but the argument that its an A stadium. have you ever been to lansing? midland? both parks follow the same formula for a park, yet both are significantly more charming. (both are also more new).. especially midland. lansing has the curved metal roof and the high foul lines due to the street and the grass for fans in the outfield. midland is simply stunning. but its also a decade newer.

 

 

im not arguing for a  new park. im saying that this fire offers the whitecaps the chance to upgrade the park and add charm and originality without significantly altering the park is all. its just a simple symetrical stadium. i feel they could do more. and i had a better idea where they simple double up the third base side suites, and the first base side is "open" with a bar and a roof that is from third to first above the suites, bar. boom. stadium is significantly upgraded, its not symetrical, its charming.

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Every upgrade would need to be paid for, through ticket sales or sponsorships. I don't think they've been adding anything on for aesthetic reasons, mainly to provide additional revenue streams (the new lounge seating sections come to mind).

This market is what it is. The biggest night at griffins games is $1 hotdogs and beer night on Fridays. Discount nights at whitecaps, same deal. The only time we go as a family is for an outing with a group (discounted). Would the average family perceive the difference of going to a AAA team? I really doubt it. i even catch major league games on tv and most of those stadiums look 1/3 full. if a move downtown pushed ticket prices to $20/each, that's over $100 for a family once you add in parking and food. That bird don't fly here.

I would also add that just because those other cities have much nicer stadiums, that doesn't mean they're making money. I was in downtown Toledo and saw their brand new stadium (in an otherwise desolate downtown) and I wondered how much of that was sucking money from the city coffers.

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I hope that this gives them the opportunity to update the facade a bit (as others have said, the vinyl siding is bad). Make the old part match the new (instead of matching the old vinyl on the new). 

 

I don't want the Whitecaps downtown. Like GRDad said, it's dead real estate many months of the year. It seems like they built the ballpark in a good place. Centrally located, easy expressway access, cheap enough to not have to jack up ticket prices. 

 

Joe

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I have given more thought to sports development in GR and it's potential to land different levels of different sports than one should. Market wise we should have a higher, preferably AAA, baseball team. The Midwest is quite dense with MLB and AAA teams and I'm not sure the region needs another one. Toledo seems to have a strong hold on the Tigers AAA team, would local fans support another MLB teams players the same as the Tigers. Say for instance Indy got a MLB team and located their AAA team here, would anyone care? This would also infer the relocation of the Whitecaps. I think one reason they are so successful is that fans can watch kids in person and then watch them play on TV for the Tigers in a few years. Most baseball fans around here seem to follow the Tigers.

I keep debating if a AAA team would be successful here. Ticket prices would be higher and the focus would be higher on baseball, than promotions. It seems that half the stadium emptys out about 9pm at every game I've been to, would parents take take their young children at the same rate if it was a more serious baseball atmosphere?

 

When minor league teams change class, it generally has more to do with the wheelings and dealings of the franchise owners and the major league affiliates, and less with the city's market size.  It usually comes in deals that result in swapping affiliations.

 

Personally, my favorite thing about the Whitecaps is that it's in the Tigers' farm system.  If I had to choose between moving the Whitecaps to a different league with a different affiliate, or keeping them Single-A but still affiliated with the Tigers, I would choose single-A in a heartbeat.

Edited by RegalTDP

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When minor league teams change class, it generally has more to do with the wheelings and dealings of the franchise owners and the major league affiliates, and less with the city's market size.  It usually comes in deals that result in swapping affiliations.

 

Personally, my favorite thing about the Whitecaps is that it's in the Tigers' farm system.  If I had to choose between moving the Whitecaps to a different league with a different affiliate, or keeping them Single-A but still affiliated with the Tigers, I would choose single-A in a heartbeat.

 

 

i absolutely agree. but if the caps moved to AA and the tigers ended their affiliation with erie, it could be done.

Edited by ironyisadeadscene

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Every upgrade would need to be paid for, through ticket sales or sponsorships. I don't think they've been adding anything on for aesthetic reasons, mainly to provide additional revenue streams (the new lounge seating sections come to mind).

This market is what it is. The biggest night at griffins games is $1 hotdogs and beer night on Fridays. Discount nights at whitecaps, same deal. The only time we go as a family is for an outing with a group (discounted). Would the average family perceive the difference of going to a AAA team? I really doubt it. i even catch major league games on tv and most of those stadiums look 1/3 full. if a move downtown pushed ticket prices to $20/each, that's over $100 for a family once you add in parking and food. That bird don't fly here.

I would also add that just because those other cities have much nicer stadiums, that doesn't mean they're making money. I was in downtown Toledo and saw their brand new stadium (in an otherwise desolate downtown) and I wondered how much of that was sucking money from the city coffers.

funny you mention the griffins. they no longer do dollar beer dollar dog night, they raised it to 2 each. anyways, attendance is down on the griffins. pretty bad, from what ive heard. 

 

also, alot of northern baseball teams are doing winter festivals that last all winter, or parts of. cleveland and boston have put in large sledding hills, a skating trail, and hockey rink, and have tournaments. toledo is doing an outdoor hockey tournament as well, rochester NY did this winter. so more baseball teams are using their parks in the winter, even if it is small time compared to arenas. 

 

as far as ticket prices go, with a higher league, youd see a small hike in prices, but nothing too outlandish.

 

but alot of minor league teams do draw very well, toledo is one of them. i dont know if they make money, but most sports franchises dont make money. the tigers do because they draw so well, but i think the red wings actually lose money. but i could be wrong on that, im not a wings fan... 

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funny you mention the griffins. they no longer do dollar beer dollar dog night, they raised it to 2 each. anyways, attendance is down on the griffins. pretty bad, from what ive heard. 

 

also, alot of northern baseball teams are doing winter festivals that last all winter, or parts of. cleveland and boston have put in large sledding hills, a skating trail, and hockey rink, and have tournaments. toledo is doing an outdoor hockey tournament as well, rochester NY did this winter. so more baseball teams are using their parks in the winter, even if it is small time compared to arenas. 

 

as far as ticket prices go, with a higher league, youd see a small hike in prices, but nothing too outlandish.

 

but alot of minor league teams do draw very well, toledo is one of them. i dont know if they make money, but most sports franchises dont make money. the tigers do because they draw so well, but i think the red wings actually lose money. but i could be wrong on that, im not a wings fan... 

 

The conservative nature of West Michigan doesn't really like "money losing" operations. Except ironically the Amway owned hotels, which several people tell me don't really make any profit.

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Amway Grand Plaza doesn't. Every penny of profit goes into keeping the heritage alive. I do believe JW will become profitable in the future!

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Amway Grand Plaza doesn't. Every penny of profit goes into keeping the heritage alive. I do believe JW will become profitable in the future!

 

That's what I'm saying, I don't believe they make even a penny of profit. They're there to support the convention business and to help keep downtown vibrant. The Marriott brands might be different in that part of the revenue goes to the chain. Don't know.

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