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Official Review by Ryan Norris, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
The Reno Aces are the Triple-A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks and have played in Reno since 2009 when they moved from Tucson. Aces Ballpark opened the same year and has the look of a new, state of the art ballpark.
Aces Ballpark is part of a larger redevelopment project called the Freight House District. Construction on the new redevelopment has slowed but has opened a few restaurants over the years and is great place to hang prior to games.
Since the ballpark is only a few years old there isn't much in the way of historical context here. The ballpark, the Aces and the city of Reno will host the 2013 Triple-A All-Star Game.
The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:
Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
Aces Ballpark provides a variety of gourmet hot dogs as well as burgers, fries and popcorn. These are available at the four main food stands.
The dozen or so food/beverage carts are where you can find the specialty items. These options include Italian sausage with peppers, pulled pork sandwiches, veggie burgers, smoked brisket sandwiches and spicy carnitas tacos, amongst other selections.
For dessert you can get root beer floats, ice cream sundaes, cotton candy and cookies. The also have local favorites Tahoe Creamery pints available.
Quench your desert thirst with sodas, bottled water, energy drinks and Snapple. They offer the typical domestic drafts as well as imports like Heineken and craft selections in the Berm Bar. One of the local favorites is Great Basin Brewing Company.
One of my favorite places to sit is the grass berm in right field. However, it is tough to sit there until after about 8 pm at night. For day games it is too hot and for evening games the intense sun is in your eyes. After 8 pm, it's awesome and very close to the Berm Bar.
The Aces' dugout is on the third base side and this is the first seating section to get the shade, something to consider for early evening games. The first base side gives the best view of the video board located in left-centerfield.
Alternate seating options include the 120 skyboxes, the Coors Light Party Zone (left field corner), and the Bullpen Deck (right-centerfield).
Also of note is the kids zone sponsored by local casino and arcade center Circus Circus. It is located beyond the grass berm near the fence separating the ballpark from the beautiful Truckee River.
Granted, Reno will never be Las Vegas, but it does have a lot to offer and its downtown is a 5 minute walk from Aces Ballpark. Whether gambling, shows, or restaurants are your thing, you can find them just a mile away near the hotels. The one issue is that it seems that for every bustling block there is an equally vacant one the next street over. You can certainly find plenty of fun things to do in the casino district but you also definitely notice the not-so-nice parts of town.
The immediate neighborhood (the exterior of the ballpark) is great with the constantly growing Freight House District. This area includes restaurants such as 250 Lounge, Duffy's Ale House and Bugsy's Sports Bar & Grill. Arroyo's Mexican Grill is attached to the ballpark near the entrance and the large baseball structure hanging above.
Popular hotels/casinos within walking distance are the Silver Legacy and the El Dorado. Perhaps the best hotel in town is the Peppermill, about 3 miles away from the ballpark.
The fans of Reno are unique that they don't necessarily identify with a particular MLB team. There are certainly a fair share of A's and Giants fans as well the parent club, Arizona Diamondbacks. Also represented are their neighbors to the east, Colorado Rockies.
What is most apparent is that there is a great sense of pride amongst fans for their ballpark. It is certainly a family-style event and folks show up early to hang in the Freight House District.
At first look, it seemed that they were a bit of a late-arriving crowd but it turns out that many fans take advantage of the standing room only areas in the shade until their seats are covered as well.
Aces Ballpark is easily accessible off of I-80 which stretches as far west as San Francisco. The stadium is only a few blocks from the freeway exit. Though the downtown area of Reno looks dense, it's really quite easy to get around, just be mindful of one way streets.
There is one parking lot right outside the main entrance to the ballpark. This is much appreciated as long walks in the heat would be tough. Attendants direct you to open spots and there is no tailgating to speak of. Most folks go to one of the bars or restaurants right next to the ballpark.
Parking at the casinos is free so if you're already staying at one of them, I wouldn't bother even leaving their parking garages.
Getting around the concourse is very easy. There is no seating above the concourse with the exception to skyboxes so most people head down from the concourse to their seats. Restroom lines are reasonable and concession stands are somewhat quiet. My theory is that many people eat at an attached restaurant prior to game time.
If you plan on sitting in the grass berm, I recommend getting in a bit early since it's general admission and tends to fill up quickly for weekend games.
Tickets are on a sliding scale depending on the day of the week. The game I attended, general admission tickets were $8 while getting a real seat started at $11 for the right field corner. The most expensive normal seat was a premium lower box seat behind home plate for $34. The seems pretty reasonable considering what other Triple-A venues charge for a similar seat.
Something to consider is making a whole weekend of coming to Reno with the entertainment options. You are also about an hour away from the beautiful Lake Tahoe.
The only things that I would consider an extra are quite kitschy and decidedly minor league, such as the large baseball that emerges from centerfield during the seventh inning stretch.
Other extras would be the impressive Circus Circus Kids Zone as well as the large baseball structure at the entrance. I actually thought it was pretty cool looking.
I'm interested in visiting again in a few years to see how this venue starts to change. I really enjoyed my first experience at Aces Ballpark, though it was a bit bland ballpark and they don't typically age. I do have high hopes though that it will continue to be a solid minor league experience.
Member Review by sportsroadtrips
In 2009, the Reno Aces began play after relocating from Tucson. The Aces franchise has been part of the PCL since the league's inaugural season in 1903, when they played in San Francisco as the Seals, and can boast of having Joe DiMaggio as one of their alumni. From San Francisco to Phoenix to Tucson to Reno - an interesting history that shows how minor league ball teams can get around, even if it takes over a century.
The Aces nickname came from a name-the-team contest and combines the city's gambling background along with a baseball connection. The eight letter combination ties for the shortest in minor league baseball along with the Iowa Cubs and Orem Owlz.
Member Review by jackalope on Apr 20, 2012
We were lucky to be able to attend the first game ever at Aces Ballpark and have returned more than 60 times since. It is a totally enjoyable experience. The stadium is rather small and all the reserved seating is on one level and never more than 22 rows from the field making for a great view from anywhere. The field itself is large due to Reno's altitude (about 4,500 feet). Still, the ball carries and home runs and triples (my favorite play) are numerous and make most game high scoring and exciting.
As there is no parking at the ballpark, we have found it best to park in one of the casino parking garages on Sierra Street and walk the 4 or 5 blocks to the park.
The food at the park is not to our liking so we usually eat at one of the casino's before or after the games. There are plenty of choices.
We continue to enjoy baseball and Aces Ballpark and have a partial season ticket plan for the 2012 season and hope to be able to continue in the future.
Member Review by Baseball Buddha on Apr 11, 2014
Flat out the best hospitality I have ever had at a game! Heard "enjoy the game" at least 10 times within the first five minutes; vendors had a couple of used game balls that they gave to kids when they came in, guest services actually treated me as a guest! I left my debit card at one of the attached eatery's and came back late at night to retrieve and they called around to make sure someone could come and open the place so I could get it! The guy lived 15 mins away, they blew me away! I will rate every place up against Reno from now on! They were all about the fan experience!
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