Chronological Tour: Stop 253

First American Bank Ballpark

Home-plate entrance to First American Bank Ballpark, Aug-2003.

Looking from the right-field berm through the bullpen at the field.

The view from above the season-ticket reserved section.

Quick Facts: Rating: 4 baseballs
First American Bank Ballpark replaced woeful Christensen Stadium, about which I said in 2000, “There’s only one thing this ballpark needs ... a new ballpark.”

The park is part of the Scharbauer (pronounced Skarber) Sports Complex, which also includes the football field for Midland and Lee High Schools; I believe they use the park as their baseball facility as well. Football, especially high school football, is such a passion in west Texas that they actually had footballs as a giveaway item at the baseball game I attended in 2003.

Inside, one finds another typical seating arrangement, with box seats shielding the concourse from the elements. The field faces southeast, same as in El Paso, so the setting sun is always behind home plate and thus the pitcher is shielded from it, though it can be rough on outfielders early in the game.

What is atypical about First American is its field configuration. In right field, the bullpen is an area fenced in from the main wall, so that the distance drops from the 380-foot range at the end of the bullpen to 330 feet down the line. Left field is even more unusual, as an elevated grass area beyond the fence creates an indentation and a short porch. The bullpen on that side is also fenced in. The net result is a very unusually shaped outfield wall. You can walk all the way around the concourse, and there is berm seating – some of which lets you peer into the bullpens with ease.

I found myself really liking this place, for some reason. Maybe it was the small touches, like the giant umbrella-like contraptions in right field that protect picnickers from the brutal Texas sun. Maybe it was the occasional breezeways in the concourse that help make very hot days more pleasant (Midland reached 106 degrees Fahrenheit for the game I attended). Perhaps it was the fact that they didn’t charge for parking. Or maybe it’s just that this was such an improvement over Christensen Stadium.

Game # Date League Level Result
617 Sat 9-Aug-2003 Texas AA MIDLAND 6, Round Rock 4
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