Minor league baseball returned to Reno this year in the form of the Reno Aces of the Pacific Coast League. Reno built a brand-new ballpark for the Aces. Barbara and I love ballparks, minor league baseball, and road trips, so we drove to Reno last Saturday to watch the Las Vegas 51s play the Aces. The ballpark is gorgeous, and the Aces are very popular: an hour before game time, when the ballpark gates opened, thousands of people were already lined up to get in on a blustery night. The ballpark is downtown, near Harrah's, wedged nicely between the train tracks and the Truckee River. There is no parking at the park: fans park at downtown casinos and office buildings, then walk over. There's a big retail development under construction next to the ballpark, and a riverwalk is also being built. It's a great scene and I hope it will be even nicer in a year or two when the surrounding area is built up.
The most unique and bizarre ballpark feature shows up during the 7th inning stretch. A giant inflated talking baseball rises up over the hitter's eye in center field, holding on with giant inflated hands, and proceeds to talk to the crowd -- as his mouth moves -- and lead the fans in the traditional singing of Take Me Out to the Ball Game.
This is just as bizarre and wonderful as it looks.
The huge outfield led to numerous fly ball doubles.
Outfield berm seating. Lights are drag race theme, with flags of other Pacific Coast League teams. When the Aces score, the lights flash and strobe.