baseball

Baseball Stadiums: Lake Olmstead Stadium

One great thing about growing up in metro Atlanta is the amount of Minor League Baseball teams within a day’s drive.  One of the worst things about growing up in metro Atlanta is having to decide which teams to visit.  Having to choose which teams to visit has led me to only recently seeing the Augusta GreenJackets in action last week.

By the time I made it to Lake Olmstead Stadium for my first game I had read up on the place from my favorite MiLB blogger, Ben Hill (read his visit here), and consulted my trusted copy of The Ultimate Minor League Baseball Road Trip by Josh Pahigian.  So I was well prepared for my visit, but the most notable part of my planning was taking advantage of BOGO tickets on Social Media Night.  I submitted the requested information and ultimately purchased two box seats for $12 instead of the usual $12 apiece.

After the planning the first thing I saw after parking the car was a red carpet rolled out for fans at Lake Olmstead Stadium like this…

Main entrance.

After getting in the gate, I immediately saw the gift shop, but opted to explore a bit before taking photos of the shop.  The sun was still setting when I entered the stadium, so I wanted to get some better photos with the shadows not wreaking havoc on my pictures.  In fact, I came back around to take the above photo because of the sunlight issues.

Next to The Hive gift shop the GreenJackets mascot shows off his arm on a beehive background.

The concession stands along the third base line were closed, but the banners above them displayed the GreenJackets’ pride in their current affiliation with the San Francisco Giants.

A banner shows off the number of former GreenJackets on the Giants’ 2014 World Series team.

Along the third base line is also a plaque honoring former South Atlantic League president John Henry Moss, who worked in Minor League Baseball for 50 years before his retirement in 2007.  The plaque details that the South Atlantic League Board of Directors retired the number 50 throughout the league in his honor.

Plaque honoring former South Atlantic League president John Henry Moss.

Closer to the gift shop, appropriately called The Hive, I found the traditional items: the league standings and the night’s starting lineup.

South Atlantic League Southern Division standings entering play on June 16, 2015.
Starting lineups for the Lexington Legends and Augusta GreenJackets on June 16, 2015.

After exploring the concession stands and gift shop, I decided to take my seat before the game started.  As I waited for the first pitch the GreenJackets mascot Auggie came around, so I was quickly able to get my mascot photo out of the way.

Me with Auggie before the start of the game.

Soon after getting my photo with Auggie the game started.

Augusta GreenJackets starting pitcher D.J. Snelten delivering the first pitch
to Lexington Legends shortstop Humberto Arteage.

Sitting to the left of the net by the visitors’ dugout on the third base side, I had a great vantage point for some action photos.

Closeup of GreenJackets starting pitcher D.J. Snelten.
Closeup of Legends starting pitcher Niklas Stephenson.
GreenJackets second baseman Ryan Jones at the plate with the SweetWater Draft House in the background.

After watching a few innings of the game, I decided to explore a bit and get a bite to eat.  So I set out toward the first base line because that was the only location with concession stands open on the Tuesday night I was in attendance.

Along the way I saw the team’s Wall of Champions, which celebrates wild card, division, and league championships since the the team’s first SAL title in 1989.

GreenJackets Wall of Champions with two former players who made it to the Majors and the year they played in Augusta.

One thing I got photos of, but didn’t to explore was the SweetWater Draft House.  It is a picnic area that groups can reserve for large parties, which was the case when I was there.

SweetWater Draft House down the first base line.

After debating my choices between an Auggie Doggie or Auggie Burger, I settled on maintaining my trend of having encased meat over alternative choices when dining on a ballpark’s signature food item.

Auggie Doggie, which is a hot dog topped with coleslaw and pulled pork.

The Auggie Doggie was tasty, but admittedly in hindsight I should’ve made one important change to the dog.  I should’ve added BBQ sauce because while the pulled pork was tasty it needed a bit of flavor, and it would have been more flavorful with the BBQ sauce.

Although the ballpark is named after the nearby lake there are no views of the lake in the distance.  However that doesn’t mean there aren’t occasionally aesthetically pleasing views from the ballpark like the sunset I captured.

Sunset over center field.

After enjoying a few more innings of action, I wandered down the left field line and saw a couple of banners that I had missed earlier.  The GreenJackets seem to take a lot of pride in their history and the history of baseball in Augusta.  I know that before Spring Training became focused on Florida, and later Arizona, that many Major League teams would use different sites from year to year, but I was unaware of Augusta’s role until seeing the banner.

Banner detailing the history of Spring Training in Augusta.

In addition to the banner hailing Augusta’s Spring Training history there were a variety of banners detailing the previous names of baseball teams that called the town home like the Augusta Electricians in 1893.  Instead of inundating people with all banners, I wanted to share the banner with the most unique name: the 1922-29 Augusta Tygers, who were named after Ty Cobb.

Banner honoring the Augusta Georgians and Augusta Tygers.

After seeing the banners, I returned to my seat and enjoyed the last few innings of the game before taking a photo of the scoreboard.  So in the bottom of the ninth inning I got a photograph of the scoreboard.

Closeup of the scoreboard in the final frame.

Despite Deacon’s name appearing on the scoreboard, the Giants No. 15 ranked prospect Aramis Garcia pinch hit for him.  However, the pinch hitter did not make an impact in the game and the Legends held on for a 4-2 victory over the GreenJackets.

Despite the incredibly warm evening (with temps during the day hitting above 95 degrees), I enjoyed the BOGO night at Lake Olmstead Stadium.  The drink deals were great, and the signature food items were very good.  I would definitely order the Auggie Doggie again, and I was extremely tempted to try the Auggie Burger.  The concession stand lines always moved quickly.  The mascot was accessible throughout the game, so even if I hadn’t gotten my picture early in the game I would have been able to capture that shot numerous times throughout the game.  The staff was friendly and welcoming throughout the game, which is always a key part of wanting to return to a ballpark.  So I’m glad that I finally made it to Lake Olmstead Stadium and “Caught the Buzz.”

Final Score: Lexington 4, Augusta 2
Box Score

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