Hot Corner: First impressions go a long way
By Rich Palzewic
ASHWAUBENON – They say you never get a second chance to make a first impression.
If that’s the case, I was impressed by Capital Credit Union Park, the new home of the Green Bay Booyah baseball and Green Bay Voyageurs soccer teams.
The new stadium opened its doors this past weekend to area fans.
I liked most everything about the experience, but like any new facility, there were a few things I noticed or heard from other fans about the venue.
Positively, I took a walk around the whole park, and I didn’t see a bad seat in the house.
The concourses are wide, the food looked good and plenty of staff are available to help.
With the concourses being so wide, though, that leads to lots of people out of their seats milling around.
Foul balls and walking fans that are not paying attention are not a good combination. It’s only a matter of time before someone probably gets plunked – keep your eyes on the field if you’re out of your seat.
Aesthetically, the stadium is very nice looking, at least from my view.
It was a little hard to get used to an all-green turf field, though.
I understand the reasoning behind the choice – infielders get true hops from what I saw, and the water drainage is top notch.
I think over the course of a season, it will lead to a few more hits for players.
Unlike a natural grass field that might slow a ball down, once the ball hits the field turf, it picks up speed and finds a hole a little quicker.
Like when the team was at Joannes for so many years, the club does a great job with promotions and fan entertainment.
When a predetermined Wisconsin Rapids player struck out, it was half-price beer for the inning. It happened on two occasions, and there was a mass exodus by grown adults – most sprinting – from their seats to the concessions area.
The team also has the coolest named mascot in the Northwoods League – Rocky Bal-Booyah.
Rocky was flown in pregame in a helicopter that landed behind second base. It was a pretty dramatic entrance.
Flash the therapy dog got some of the loudest cheers of the night. When a Green Bay batter left the batter’s box and headed toward first, Flash would bolt from the dugout, find the bat – sometimes slowly – and carry it in his mouth back to the dugout. By the end of the night, he was pretty tired.
The distance behind home plate to the backstop – a padded concrete wall – was only about 30 feet, so on a handful of occasions when a ball got by the catcher, it would bounce off the concrete wall and end up halfway back to the pitcher’s mound. I know the stadium had only so much room to work with, but an extra 10-15 feet behind home plate would have been perfect.
Finally, the only other complaint I heard was with the traffic on Holmgren Way.
There is no parking directly at the stadium, so fans have to park on side streets or businesses that allow parking.
And with no crosswalks on Holmgren, fans – including myself – were darting across the lanes to get to the stadium side. Maybe the village of Ashwaubenon will put in some crosswalks at a later time?
I was also impressed by Booyah manager Tom Carty. He let me know after the game when the team loses – as they did on opening night – he would rather me talk to him only. When the team wins, he would prefer I talk to a player to give them the credit they deserve.
If you head to Capital Credit Union Park this season, you will enjoy your time. The amenities are great and the experience is fun.