Newman Outdoor Field
Review by Mike
Newman Outdoor Field in Fargo, North Dakota is the home of the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks of the independent American Association. I always thought that the name of this ballpark was an exercise in the obvious until I learned that it is named for a company that makes outdoor advertising signs... Newman Outdoor.
Located on the campus of North Dakota State University, the stadium is remarkably generic in design, execution and location. As home to the only professional baseball team in the entire state, I had hoped for something a bit more North Dakotan, or at least something to match the reputation of Fargo as a unique town.
The stadium stands amidst a sea of parking lots on the north side of town. The outside has a basic brick facade with stairs that lead up to the entrance and the inside is a study in forest green. Everything is green; the seats, the pillars, the railings, the facade, everything, except for a small section of red seats down the left field line. Ran out of green paint, maybe?
Built in 1996, the main grandstand follows the basic 1990s template of a seating bowl with an upper concourse and a luxury suite/press box structure above that. It's fine and provides good views of the field from all angles and allows you to move around and stretch your legs while still watching the game.
There is a picnic deck down the left-field line and a party deck of high counters with tall bar-chairs in the right field corner. These both look to be pretty new and are nicely done, although the actual view of the field from both of these spots is iffy, suggesting that watching the game is not the primary concern of anyone in those areas.
The coolest quirk is the little wooden "treehouse" out by the left-field foul pole where the home team relief pitchers can sit and watch the game over the outfield fence. Despite the newness of the ballpark, this perch looks like a kids clubhouse built in the 1930s, hand-crafted with peeling paint and plastic chairs. It's a delightful bit of character in a stadium that desperately needs some.
My 2020 pandemic visit to Fargo saw the "visiting" RedHawks playing the "home" Winnipeg Goldeneyes, since the American Association grouped teams in hub cities to limit travel. It was a desperately hot day, which turned into a sweltering evening and, as the sun dropped below the horizon, several squadrons of gnats emerged to feast on my salty face and arms. After 30 minutes of desperate swatting and trying to avoid inhaling the pests, I surrendered in the 7th inning and bid farewell to Newman Outdoor Field, with an overall impression of... meh.