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Official Review by Mike Poirier, Stadium Journey Special Correspondent
The Barrie Baycats have been a part of the Intercounty Baseball League since 2001, and they have been fielding competitive teams almost since day one. The Baycats are currently two time defending champs and are looking to continue that run.
The Baycats play at Coates Stadium, which is located at the Barrie Sports Complex in Midhurst. The stadium can hold about 1,500 spectators, which is about average for the IBL. With Coates being in Midhurst, it’s about a 20 minute drive to the stadium once you get off the 400 at Bayfield Street in Barrie.
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".
There is only one concession area, and it is small. Be prepared for some lineups if you plan to pick up a snack or a drink in between innings.
The small concession area behind the main seating area features your basic items. French fries, hot dogs burgers and candy, along with pop, water and coffee are sold here. Due to the small size of the food stand, the grill is located outside, and the delicious barbecue smell cannot be missed in the seating area.
There is no assigned seating at Coates Stadium, which means fans tend to gather behind home plate. Those who are in attendance tend to be pretty reserved but very knowledgeable about their team. There are some bleachers along the foul lines, that tend to be empty, and there seems to be no problems with fans standing along the fence to catch the game.
The location of the stadium is a little isolated, as it is outside the city of Barrie in the town of Midhurst. The field is located at the Barrie Community Sports Complex, just off Highway 26. There are no restaurants or convenience stores located near the park, so if you are planning to eat before or after the game, it will take some planning. Despite the lack of eateries, the stadium is easy to get to, and the scenery is fantastic as it is surrounded by trees.
With the affordable prices, there are plenty of families who attend Baycat games. Despite there being plenty of kids at the games, the fans are very knowledgeable, and have grown to expect competitive teams.
Despite being outside of the city, Coates Stadium is very easy to get to, by taking Highway 26 west towards Collingwood, and getting off the highway at Nursary Road. With the stadium being located at the sports complex, there are other ball diamonds and soccer fields located nearby, but you can't miss the main stadium for the Baycats.
Parking is free, and it's not a long walk from the car to the main entrance which is in a picturesque location.
The stadium is a pretty simple layout with bleachers behind home plate, and a couple more steel bleachers set up along both foul lines between the dugouts and the bullpen. Once you get through the main entrance, you will notice a small gift shop along with a few booths promoting various programs in the community and the 50/50 table.
Once you reach the seating area, you will notice that most fans will be sitting around home plate, and there is no shade. There are trees that surround the stadium though which makes it feel like you're watching a game in the forest.
Also, if you are need of a washroom, you have to leave the stadium to access the facilities, which are not too far from the stadium entrance.
Ticket prices are very affordable for adults at $10, and kids under 12 are free which makes it very easy on the pocket book for families.
There are no real extras that come with attending a Barrie Baycats game. If you're a fan of baseball and enjoy being in the great outdoors, then attending an IBL game in Barrie is for you.
The Intercounty Baseball League may not use stadiums that seat close to ten thousand people per game, but the small seating area makes it a more personal experience for fans, and helps with building community pride for the home team. The success that the Baycats have experienced has further solidified their standing in the Barrie sports community.
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