baseball

Baseball Stadiums: Herschel Greer Stadium

The first baseball game I attended at Herschel Greer Stadium was in March 2002, when the Georgia State Panthers visited the Belmont Bruins in a three-game Atlantic Sun Conference series.  The first minor league game I attended was in July 2006 between the Round Rock Express and the Sounds, when I was attending the CoSIDA Convention in Nashville.  Both events were long before I started blogging about my visits to MLB and MiLB stadiums, so when the Nashville Sounds announced that 2014 would be the last season at Greer Stadium I wanted to be sure to visit for “the last cheer at Greer.”

Unlike MiLB.com’s Ben Hill, nobody had my name marked on a calendar.  Although I had been to the stadium before, it had been several years and, as always, I read up on food suggestions and the gameday experience from Hill’s piece when he visited during the 2013 season.

The main entrance to the stadium is one of my favorites in Minor League Baseball.  The stone wall and wrought-iron fence are distinctive, and the baseball diamond on the ground lets any observer know he is entering a baseball stadium.

Exterior of the main concourse with sky boxes in the background.

It may not be clear in the photos, but there are banners of former Nashville players who have reached the Major Leagues with a picture of them as a Sounds player and with their current club.  For example, a banner shows Prince Fielder with the team in 2005, and in his current uniform with the Texas Rangers.

Ticket office and main gate.

Although I walked around the concourse once I entered the stadium, I wasn’t particularly hungry and I could not find a beer to drink.  So after checking out the gift shop, I decided to take my seat and just watch baseball.  So I took in a lot action during the first inning.

First pitch between the Reno Aces and Nashville Sounds.

In addition to the first pitch of the game, I got photographs of both starting pitchers.

Sounds starting pitcher Ariel Pena.
Aces starting pitcher Zeke Spruill.

I also got a photograph of the Sounds third batter, which isn’t significant unto itself.  However, I wanted to capture a shot that showed the Milwaukee Brewers patch on the shoulder of the uniform.

Sounds second baseman Elian Herrera.

I also took a photo of the seating bowl, although Ben Hill’s piece details the age of the facility much better than my one shot.  Knowing that he took a ton of pictures highlighting the age of the seats, I opted to take a simple overview of the seating bowl with the press box and sky boxes.

A view of the press box and sky boxes from the third base side.

I may need to seek professional help, but getting my picture taken with MiLB mascots has become a bit of an obsession for me.  So instead of exploring more of the stadium, I waited for an inning or two along the third base line so I could get my picture with Ozzie.  I’m wondering if there’s a “Mascot Addicts Anonymous” or something I could join.

Anyway, while I waited I had a Ruby Red from Fat Bottom Brewery.  For beer connoisseurs, the color was a deep red and it was a very tasty amber ale.  While waiting I started talking with a professional photographer who was shooting for a local web site.  He agreed to take my picture with Ozzie whenever the big cat came by.

Me with Ozzie in a blurry photo taken by a professional photographer.

When I entered the stadium, I noticed the paw prints on the concourse as documented in Ben Hill’s piece.  At the risk of being overly critical, I really don’t understand why the paw prints exist.  The team isn’t called the “Cougars,” and it seems like something a high school would do.  In fact, I’ve seen stuff like that at a high school stadium where team was called the “Wildcats.”  Granted, maybe the young kids like following the prints to the funnel cake stand, so who am I to judge.

Ozzie prints leading you to the food.

Like many ballparks built in the late-’70s and early-’80s, Greer Stadium has the concourse and concession stands sitting beneath the seating bowl.  So fans are cutoff from the action, and the stands themselves are rather commonplace.  Surprisingly, the team never added TVs to keep fans connected to the game.

A standard concession stand beneath the seating bowl.

Due to my lack of hunger, I checked out all the concession stands trying to find a signature item and never found one that appealed to me.  Most employees said there wasn’t a particularly unique item, but that I could visit Slugger’s Restaurant on the 4th Floor.  I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I decided to check it out.

The food menu was nondescript.  It had the usual ballpark food like burgers, hot dogs, and chicken tenders.  Nothing particularly appealed to me, so I opted to get a beer and watch some of the game from upstairs.

Viewing the action from Slugger’s Restaurant.

For my beer choice, I opted for the locally brewed Southern Wit from Tennessee Brew Works.  It was a nice alternative to the nationally-available Shocktop Belgian White that was also on draft.  After an inning or so upstairs, I headed downstairs to find something to eat.

Eventually I settled on getting BBQ Nachos from the Whitt’s Barbecue stand along the first base line.  The nachos looked good covered in nacho cheese with a good serving of pulled pork, but I was surprised that it wasn’t topped with any sauce.  Instead, I had to add sauce from the condiment stand.  It got weirder when the sauce at the condiment stand was Sweet Baby Ray’s.  I really like Sweet Baby Ray’s sauce, but it’s odd that a sponsored concession stand wouldn’t have BBQ sauce from its provider.

Regardless, the Sounds re-tweeted the picture I posted on Twitter of the nachos.

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Late in the game after finishing my nachos, I opted to watch the remainder of the game from my seat behind home plate.  In the bottom of the 9th, Jeremy Hermida singled to center field to bring home Elian Herrera and give the Sounds a 2-1 win.

The legendary guitar-shaped scoreboard with the final score: Sounds 2, Aces 1.

Many people have written about the guitar-shaped scoreboard, which is truly one of most unique sights in Minor League Baseball, so there’s not much I can add to that conversation.  However, fans should enjoy a “Last Cheer at Greer” with the old guitar scoreboard before the Sounds move onto their new digs.

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Categories: baseball, MiLB, stadiums, Tennessee

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