For the past two summers, I have driven home to Georgia for work. Instead of driving 14 hours straight through as usual, I decided to make a few stops along the way and check out some baseball stadiums while also enjoying some of the sights.
My first stop was North Little Rock, Ark., for an Arkansas Travelers game. I had a deer dog, which is a jalapeno and cheese deer sausage made by Petit Jean Meats. I debated between the deer dog and bbq nachos, which staff at Dickey-Stephens Park said were the two most unique food items at the stadium. I opted for deer dog because I’ve had so many different cased meats that I felt like I had to go that route. It was covered with grilled peppers and onions, and I added some Texas Pete hot sauce for good measure. It was delicious, and well worth it.
|My Deer Dog.|
Beer fans would also enjoy this ballpark, which has a host of local brews. Diamond Bear Brewing Company supplies most of the local brews on tap. My first selection was a Southern Blonde, which went down smoothly. In the beer garden, I tried a New Belgium Dig, which is a spring ale. It was flavorful, but too hoppy for my tastes. With my deer dog, I had a Firehouse Pale Ale, which is made by Vino’s Brewpub. It was a great compliment to the deer dog, and a great cap to my beer and food exploration for the night.
My other stop was Jackson, Tenn. There’s not much sightseeing to do in Jackson, but I wanted to add another ballpark to my list and figured it was a good jumping off point to visit Shiloh National Military Park. Pringles Park is nice, but it reflects the growing trend of minor league stadiums where fans enter the ballpark on a concourse with the seating bowl below. The stadium is right off I-40, so the view beyond the outfield is the interstate and some trees. It’s nothing special, but the atmosphere was good.
My decision to get the Deer Dog the previous night proved wise because the two specialty food items at Pringles Park according to staffers are bbq nachos and Ricoh’s Burger. The bbq nachos might be great at Dickey-Stephens Park and Pringles Park, but apparently they are not totally unique to just that one locale. Ricoh’s Burger is a 1/2-pound patty covered with grilled onions and peppers covered with cheese and bacon served on a pretzel bun. It was tasty, but it didn’t blow me out of the water especially with a bun that was dry and flavorless. Perhaps I should’ve gotten the bbq nachos.
|Ricoh’s Burger as the field gets prepared for the game.|
Prior to my journey home, I made a visit to Houston to watch my alma mater’s football team take on the University of Houston in September 2011. I went to Minute Maid Park, and saw the Colorado Rockies take on the Houston Astros.
So I have visited three more ballparks since my last update. I added one more MLB stadium (Houston, Texas) and two AA stadiums (North Little Rock, Ark., and Jackson, Tenn.). Here is an updated list of my ballpark tallies…
- MLB = 19
- AAA = 8
- AA = 13
- Low-A = 2
- ShortSeason-A = 6
- Independent = 5
- College = 16