C.O. Brown Stadium
Battle Creek, MI
C.O. Brown Stadium was the home of the Michigan Battle Cats of the Midwest League when I visited in 1999. The Battle Cats were the Class A affiliate of the Houston Astros. Since the Battle Cats left town, the park has been downsized a little and collegiate ball has taken over, but it is still there and it is still rather nice. It is now home of the Battle Creek Bombers of the Northwoods League.
Review by Mike
The ballpark has a classic feel to it, despite having been built in 1990. The grandstand is pretty small, consisting of mostly bench seating with backs. There are three rows of box seats at the front rail, but the view from these is not as good as from the benches, not to mention that the benches are more comfortable. The grandstand wraps from just beyond 1st base to just beyond 3rd.
The feature that defines this stadium, though, is the roof, an old-fashioned, full roof that covers the whole grandstand. It rises high above the seats and therefore does not obstruct any fan's view. Such a large roof does come with a price and here it is paid in the form of pillars which obstruct some portion of the field for everybody sitting in the main seating area. I don't think this detracts from the stadium at all, but adds great character, especially since I found a seat where the pillars didn't block either the pitcher or the batter.
There is a small erector-set grandstand down the left field line and beyond that a bar and grill with three tiers of stool seating along a counter. There is another section beyond the left field fence with a couple of rows of chairs on a tiered wooden platform. All of these extra pieces add to the shape and definition of the park, giving it a hodgepodge, yet well maintained appearance. The right field line is home to a picnic area with tables and such.
The crowd, though small, was really into the game and the sound effects were not overdone, although the ones they had were still too loud, misplaced, and annoying. The stadium is located in a public park, which makes for a nice setting and parking is free. Overall, this was a very nice place to see Class A baseball. Intimate and boasting a lot of character for a stadium built so recently. I would recommend a visit if you happen to be wandering through Battle Creek.