Chronological Tour: Stop 368

Baseball Returns to Charlotte, Uptown

The main entrance is actually down the first-base line, at Mint and 2 Streets.

From down the third-base line, Bank of America Stadium (home of the NFL Panthers) is visible.

From behind the plate, fans get to see the Charlotte skyline.

Quick Facts: Rating: 3 baseballs
After a quarter-century exiled to the suburb of Fort Mill, S.C., 15 miles south of center city, the Charlotte Knights returned within city limits, to this new ballpark in the “uptown” section, which in most other cities would be downtown as it plays host to the financial district as well as the stadiums for the NFL and NBA franchises that call the Queen City home.

The fans have flocked to the ballpark in droves since its opening (only standing room was available when I arrived an hour before first pitch on the same day as a major NASCAR race several miles east), but perhaps because I have visited so many parks, I was distinctly underwhelmed by the facility, especially given that it hosts Triple-A ball in an otherwise major league city.

Getting to the Game

The park is fairly convenient to most travelers, as it is located just a half-mile from I-77 (use the Trade Street exit and head east). It is also just two blocks from the Greyhound bus station. (Amtrak runs nearby, but its station is about a mile away.) And since it’s in the heart of the financial district, folks can walk to the park after work.

In a trait common to a few recently built ballparks, there is no home-plate gate. There are service entrances along MLK Boulevard near Graham Street, but the main patron entrance and ticket offices are down the first-base line at the corner of Mint Street. There are also outfield entrances along 4 Street, and each of these includes an automated ticket kiosk shielded from the elements.

Watching the Game

There is one main seating bowl here; the only upper-deck seating is part of the luxury boxes. Box seat tickets are sold, but for the inaugural season they are mainly sold out. Buying from one of the automated kiosks incurs a $1 service fee, which is not unusual. The team does sell standee tickets when the game is sold out.

The area behind the plate is taken up by a separate premium area, the Budweiser Home Plate Club. This is an enclosed, air-conditioned area restricted to club ticket holders. However, there are regular seats (at a higher price) located in front of the club, directly behind the plate.

General admission ticket holders can enjoy the game from a grass berm in left field; however, part of the berm is obstructed by the scoreboard. There are also five regular seating sections in the outfield, designated Home Run Sections.

Public address announcement is competent and proficient, as is the information on the video board. However, there is no dedicated scoreboard, and while the basic game information (runs, hits, errors, inning, count, outs) is constantly displayed on auxiliary matrix boards, the numbers become difficult to read when both runs and hits reach double digits. This is not the case on the main video board - but the score display is often removed from the main board for promotional reasons, especially between innings.

Enjoying the Game

The first-base concourse is expansive, including a wide food court. However, the third-base side has a much narrower concourse that is difficult to navigate. There are limited concessions available in the outfield.

The kids’ play area is largely behind the batter’s eye in center field. There are also the requisite picnic areas in the outfield. In the infield, the club has provided rails for standees to consume food, score the game, etc.

Game # Date League Level Result
1308 Sun 25-May-2014 International AAA Indianapolis 10, CHARLOTTE 6
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This page updated 25-May-2014