High Point, NC
Review by Gary
On a whirlwind weekend road trip to Lynchburg and Martinsville, VA, we ventured 90 minutes south to stop in at North Carolina’s newest ballpark and home of the Atlantic League’s High Point Rockers, the former Bridgeport Bluefish. As we walked up to the ticket takers, I was immediately greeted by a friendly person who said, “Good Morning! Here are free tickets to today’s game. Enjoy!” I was stunned and surprised by this generosity on a Sunday morning in July, two hours before game time.
I soon realized that the Rockers had invited folks out to watch the 2019 Women’s World Cup soccer final featuring the US vs Netherlands. What a great idea! Watch the match and stay for a ball game! There were some 100 or so fans in the shaded seats watching the match on what I would soon learn is the largest video board of all the North Carolina minor league stadia!
This is a fantastic new ballpark. I met a number of wonderful folks who work here, notably the director of PR, Caroline Keating, who graciously spent time showing me around the ballpark and introduced me to the Rockers’ Club President, Ken Lehner. Ken is a longtime sports executive who added his own flair to the ballpark by creating a “Vintage Seating” section in right field where fans can sit in any of 26 seats from 13 former major and minor ballparks around the country. These include Philly’s Veterans Stadium, Fenway Park, Yankee Stadium, and the Durham Bulls old park just down the road apiece! Ken also incorporated his childhood collection of game-used bats in High Pint Craft Beer Bar and gift shop. These bats are now LED lights that hang over the bar itself. How ingenious! Thanks to Caroline and Ken for their time on a busy game day!
As we watched the US Womens team defeat the Dutch, we sat in mesh folding chairs enjoying the park’s free Wi-Fi & a lunch of tasty chicken tenders and funnel (cake) fries, I wished that I would have had more time to take a few swings in the team’s batting cages, which are located on the concourse by the left field foul pole for fans to use during the game! Another innovation that I had not seen before were the bag hooks located near the seats and at all the standing room sections that surround the ballpark. There are many seating options all around the Rockers’ stadium, most notable of which is a throwback “Loge”, an enclosed group seating area on the front of the third-base side of the concourse.
The entire playing surface is artificial turf, including the infield “dirt” and warning track, which enables Caroline to schedule creative community events such as a cricket/baseball double header, kickball tournament, concerts, movie nights, World Cup Final watching parties and more at this awesome downtown High Point venue that is the jewel not only of the Atlantic League, but of North Carolina’s ballparks, in general. I was so glad to have taken a side trip here during the Rockers’ Inaugural Season to see this exceptional ballpark.