Fifth Third Field
Review by Mike
Fifth Third Field is the home of the Toledo Mud Hens of Triple-A East. In 2002, the Mud Hens left venerable Ned Skeldon Stadium for a brand new, downtown ballpark called Fifth Third Field. Joining similarly named stadiums in Dayton, Ohio and Comstock, Michigan, this is now the Third Fifth Third Field. Say that three times fast, I dare you.
Talk about a change of scenery! The old park was well out of town in the middle of an open fairground, while Fifth Third is shoehorned into the Toledo skyline. The ballpark features a very nice brick and stone facade, and is just as nice on the inside. Opting for two levels of seating gives the park a big league feel while at the same time allowing all of the seating to be very close to the field. It's a cozy AAA park. I sat all over the stadium and my vote for the best seats in the house are in the upper level midway between 3rd base and the left field foul pole.
The ballpark just fits into the block in which it was built. This closeness to the streets along with the field being set below street level allows for one of my favorite features. People on the sidewalk outside the park can stand and watch the game over the outfield fence with no obstruction. I think this is great in a publicly funded ballpark. The taxpayers paid for it, so if you'd like to watch from the outfield for free, go right ahead.
The views all around the park are great. Warehouses to the right, a hotel and the Seagate Center to the left, and the bustle of the city streets rumbling back and forth just beyond the outfield fence. The concourse extends all the way around the park and there are small picnic terraces scattered about the outfield for people who want to eat their food at a table.
One of my favorite spots in the park is "The Roost", which is in the right field corner, wedged between two buildings. The view may not be the best, especially when the late day sun shines in your eyes, but it's just cool, and that, after all, is the main thing. Well done, Toledo, I say. This is a fine ballpark in which I can find no flaw.
When I visited Toledo in 2002, I stopped by Ned Skeldon Stadium, but was unable to get inside. These photos were taken over and thru the chain link fence. The infield was beginning to fill in with weeds and grass, but the structure was still sound.