|Chronological Tour: Stop 382|
Main entrance and ticket windows at Jimmy Johnís Field, Aug-2016.
Fans enjoying the game from the right-field berm.
A healthy crowd attends on a Saturday night.
Appleby plans to open a second ballpark to the west, in Oakland County, which will host two teams, giving the league four teams playing at two sites. The idea is to play no games Monday or Tuesday evenings, which are historically weak attendance days, and focus on the more profitable late-week and weekend dates. As a one-time owner of the Fort Wayne Wizards and a former executive in the group that owns the NBA Detroit Pistons (who play their home games in Oakland County), Appleby is familiar with both the Detroit market and the trials of operating a baseball team. The northern Detroit suburbs may well be fertile ground for independent ball. Indeed, there was a previous effort to build a ballpark in Waterford (west of Auburn Hills and Pontiac) for the Midwest Sliders of the Frontier League, who played one season at Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti. The new ballpark, if it is built, would likely be in Birmingham or Bloomfield Hills.
One unusual note: The league itself has a naming sponsor. United Shore Financial Services is a mortgage lender based in Troy, in Oakland County.
There is a sizable unpaved parking lot just across the river from the park, accessible from Auburn Road or from Cass Avenue, the other main downtown Utica street.
There is also a lower club level, right at field level between the dugouts, where tickets run as much as $35 each. There is also a small sky box level centered directly above the press box. However, one can get a ďdrink railĒ ticket (a reserved place to stand along the upper concourse rail) for $10, and general admission is $6. With the general admission ticket, one can hang out on the berm in left or right field (the one in right field is more expansive and offers a better view).
The club also sells group plans for various picnic areas, one along each baseline covered by tents and a pavilion with a car-port style roof beyond left field.
Several concession stands line both the lower and upper concourses. Surprisingly, while the local franchiser for the Jimmy Johnís Subs chain sponsors the ballpark, there is no Jimmy Johnís stand.
Also surprisingly, the USPBL does not run the usual gamut of between-innings contests, at least not at the game I attended on a Saturday in 2016. However, it was 50s & 60s Night, with a live band performing in the outfield picnic pavilion before and after the game as well as between innings. Kids do get to run the bases after every game, and they also run the ubiquitous Launch-a-Ball contest after the game.
|1473||Sat 6-Aug-2016||United Shore||Ind.||Birmingham 4, UTICA 2|