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Official Review by Nathan Deal, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
What is summer? It’s going to the beach and getting a nice tan, if you’re lucky enough to avoid a sunburn. It’s eating at interesting places you’ve never eaten before. It’s watching America’s favorite pastime, baseball. All of this can be found in beautiful Pensacola, Florida.
After a complex sequence of negotiations, Pensacola received a minor league baseball team in time for the 2012 season. The Pensacola Blue Wahoos are a young team, but they are slowly building into a contender.
The real story in Pensacola, though, isn’t the team, but rather where they play. Their home is a shiny new park that cost $18 million to build. The whole project (the stadium and the surrounding park) cost a whopping $54 million. If you ask anyone who’s visited Community Maritime Park, they’d tell you it’s money well spent.
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".
I feel like I've said this many times in previous Stadium Journey reviews, but it's stadium food. The concession stands are nice, just like the rest of the stadium, but it's still stadium food. It's actually a step above other places I've been in terms of food and drink, but it's hard for stadium snacks to earn more than 3 stars.
I'll spare the fancy words and cut to the chase: this stadium is really nice. In fact, it might be the nicest, fanciest, and most beautiful minor league park in America. The park is lovely, the scenery is excellent, and the atmosphere is wonderful. The stadium is on a small peninsula, so it's surrounded by water on three sides. It's common to look out of the stadium and see sailboats gracing the waters.
The employees are incredibly nice as well, helping to make this visit one of the best experiences I've had at Stadium Journey.
Outside of a Blue Wahoos game, there is much fun to be had in Pensacola, including having a blast in the sand. Nearby Pensacola Beach is one of the best beaches the Sunshine State has to offer, even though it doesn't receive the attention that Panama City, Destin, and Miami do.
The restaurants in Pensacola are great as well. My personal favorite is McGuire's Irish Pub. To say this place is interesting is an understatement. There's dollar bills stapled everywhere. The walls and the ceiling are covered with signed dollar bills. An option, if you're up to it, is that if you've never eaten at the restaurant before, you kiss a moose head that's mounted on the wall. Don't worry, you don't have to. Also, there's a secret about the bathrooms, but I won't tell what it is. I should let people get there and find out themselves.
The park surrounding the stadium is also lovely. There's a large stage just behind the stadium. There's wide, grassy areas that run alongside the water.
All in all, Pensacola is just a good place to be in the summer.
For a first-year team, the Blue Wahoos have a very passionate fan base. How passionate? Well, when I visited, the Blue Wahoos had played 33 home games... 21 of them being sell-outs. These fans arrive early, fill the seats and cheer loudly for the home team. These fans yell "Woo-Hoo!" for the Wahoos (yes, I realized how stupid that sounds as I wrote it and I apologize). Pensacola has some of the best fans minor league baseball has to offer.
The stadium is located on one of the main roads that leads to Pensacola Beach, so getting there isn't an issue. You have to pay to park, but getting to the stadium itself is easy. Leaving might stick you in some tough traffic, but it's not bad enough to downgrade this rating. Also, traffic will be an issue at any sporting event, so don't look too much into that.
For the price of a minor league baseball ticket, this is a wonderful experience. You get to watch a fun game in a wonderful baseball park with great surrounding scenery on a summer night. It's hard to argue against that.
This might not be a very unique tradition, but every Saturday night, there's a fireworks display after the game. These fireworks are actually pretty nice and should entertain you greatly unless watching fireworks at Disney World has greatly affected your fireworks standards.
The employees are nice, which is always a plus. The backdrop, no matter where you're sitting, is a gorgeous view.
The Pensacola Blue Wahoos are a great example of a minor league baseball team done right. They have solid success, have one of the best stadiums in the sport and attract many fans every game. If you're in town on a summer night, you must check out a Blue Wahoos game.
Member Review by dwoody44 on Aug 22, 2012
Best outfield view in all of Minor League Baseball. Well run park and the staff is great....lots of energy. Only wish there was a way to walk all the way around the outfield.
Member Review by TheJourneyman on Apr 22, 2013
This is simply one of the most beautiful parks I've ever been to. It sits right on the water which gives it great views and a nice cool breeze that blows in.
It's a small place so there isn't a bad seat in the house. It's affordable and if you are really wanting to go cheap get a seat out on the grass hill in right field.
The night I was there the fans were great and the staff was even better. They made it an even more enjoyable time. I'll definitely be back when I'm in the area.
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