Everyone loves playing and watching baseball, whether you’re a player, manager, coach, umpire, or fan. The game has a fun and exciting atmosphere at every level — from youth leagues to high school games to college ball. But the sport is also challenging and often frustrating at times. That’s why it’s so important for every minor league ballpark to have the right features that make it as welcoming as possible for players and fans alike. If you own an amateur or professional baseball field with unaddressed issues making it difficult to attract players and spectators, this article is for you! Here are some ways to make your baseball stadium more crowd friendly.
Have A Grand Opening
Opening day is a great opportunity to showcase your park to the community and draw in new players. You can also offer activities such as a grand-opening softball tournament, open practice, or autograph sessions for players and their families. You may also choose a team-themed costume party or a community-oriented STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) program where students can learn more about baseball and the related fields. These activities can help raise awareness of your park and draw in new players and fans. You can also open your park at a different time than during the regular season to allow more time for these activities.
Provide Shaded Seating
Viewing and playing a baseball game can sometimes be a challenge because the sun can cause an intense glare in some stadiums. Add some shaded seating or a canopy to help protect players’ eyes. If possible, try to install shaded seating in the areas of the park that get the least sunlight during the day, such as the bleachers. You can also try to install shaded fencing behind the baseball backstop netting. This fencing can be movable depending on the amount of sunlight and temperature in the park. You may also choose to host a month or two of “rain days” to help relieve the intense heat and glare. A drop in temperature can help reduce glare and make the field more hospitable for players and spectators.
Install Quality Sight Lines
Sight lines are simply the line from the first base bag to the left field fence. With a little planning, you can make your field fit the needs of both players and spectators. First, you can try to ensure that the distance from the left field fence to each foul pole is approximately the same. It will help to eliminate any “dead spots” on the field where fans and players won’t be able to see the entire area. You can also try to ensure that the distance from each foul pole to the shallow outfield wall is approximately the same. Although most professional parks have some level of sloping field, it is best to avoid caution with this feature. If you have a particularly short or steep field, you can place a few flags at the edge of the field to help direct players to the base.
Add Comfortable Bleachers
Most minor league parks have wooden bleachers. While these are nice for seating small crowds, the bleachers are not very comfortable. Adding cheap cushions or even a small beanbag chair can help make these bleachers more inviting and comfortable for fans. You can also try to place a few air conditioners near the bleachers to help reduce the temperature during the hot summer months. Make sure to hide any wires or pipes so that they aren’t a distraction to spectators.
Install An Irrigation System
There are a few issues that become more prevalent in the summer months. One of these is the intense glare from the sun and the heat. An irrigation system can help to reduce the heat by lowering the intensity of the sunlight. You can also use this system to keep the field evenly watered, which can help to reduce scuff marks on the outfield grass. An irrigation system is relatively inexpensive and easy to install, so it may be worth investigating for your baseball park.
Provide Efficient Restrooms
Baseball fields aren’t the only places that have unisex restrooms. Most high schools and colleges will have a unisex restroom or even a single-occupancy restroom. These are especially helpful if large crowds require longer restroom usage. You can also try installing low-flow valves in the toilets to help reduce the amount of water pumped into each flush.
Install Accessible Entrances And Ramps
Opening the gates and entering the park should be straightforward for everyone. There should be easy-to-find entrances and ramps both inside the park and along the entrance road. Ensure adequate signage and gates, so everyone entering the park knows where to go and how to access the field. You may consider installing accessible parking spots along the entrance road and nearby streets. These will make it easier for people with disabilities to visit and park for the game.
Provide A Playground Or Other Kid-Friendly Features
If you own a minor league baseball field, it shouldn’t be surprising that you have to entertain the kids occasionally. You can try to schedule a kid’s day at the field where the kids can participate in games, interact with mascots and team leaders, and more. You can also try to schedule some special kid activities outside the game, such as a bouncy house, midway games, or other activities that appeal to children. You can also try to schedule the “bat practice” for the adults to begin an hour or two before game time. It can give the adults time to warm up and rally before the game begins.
In conclusion, there are many ways to make your baseball field more welcoming. You can choose to host a grand opening, provide shaded seating, install an irrigation system, provide efficient restrooms, install accessible entrances, install sports netting and ramps, provide a playground or other kid-friendly features, open the gates and enter the park easily, or host a batting practice for the adults. These are just a few ways to make your baseball field more welcoming.