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Official Review by Paul Derrick, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
Just off Interstate 20 and within rock throwing distance of Independence Stadium is Fair Grounds Field, the home of the Shreveport-Bossier Captains of the Independent American Association. The Captains, like their fellow city counterpart Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs, are also a successful team. They were the 2010 champions of the American Association. Fair Grounds Field was built in 1986 and seats nearly 4,200 people, and seems to be a perfect home for the Captains.
In Nov, 2011, it was announced the Captains have been purchased by Laredo Baseball Investors, LLC, who are moving the team to Laredo, Texas, to play the 2012 American Association season as the Laredo Lemurs. Southern Independent Baseball, the owners of the Shreveport-Bossier Captains are currently working with the City of Shreveport and another party to bring a summer collegiate league team to Fair Grounds Field in 2012.
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 nothing out of the norm offered by the Captains when it comes to food. Offering everything from cheeseburgers to chicken strip baskets, all fairly priced around $6.50. They do offer one of my personal favorites, the Frito pie, which I found to be quite pleasing. The Captains also offer all the norm of peanuts, popcorn, hotdogs etc.
When it comes to drinks, there is definitely quite the selection. I am a big sweet tea fan, and was quite giddy when I saw that McAlister's Deli had a stand selling sweet tea for $3 a cup with $1 refills. Needless to say I definitely drank my share of sweet tea. For the alcoholic beverage fans the Captains carry beer in 16-ounce cans for $4.50, or a bucket of four for $16. The Captains also carry 12-ounce mixed drinks for $5 and 16-ounce margaritas for $6. It's not a bad selection but nothing over the top or to die for.
The Shreveport-Bossier Captains were the 2010 American Association champions, but you'll be hard up to find any remnants of that at the ballpark. I was sad to see the only thing the Captains have to remember that season is a championship flag hanging from the flagpole beyond the outfield fence.
Overall, the Captains provide a great mix of fans. The Rangers are the closest MLB team, and you will see an assortment of Rangers apparel and even some Astros apparel which I found surprising. The Captains atmosphere is right on par with most of what I have seen throughout Independent league baseball.
If you're looking for a great place to eat or hang out right around the stadium before or after the game, good luck.
There are a couple of pretty shady looking neighborhoods, and nothing but fast food eateries around the ballpark. I would definitely suggest making the ten to fifteen minute trek to downtown Shreveport for pre and post game activities. With casinos and restaurants galore, you have a much better chance of finding a way to enjoy yourself.
One spot I did find on my most recent stop was Grady's Smokehouse Barbecue which offers a good selection of different barbecues and at a reasonable price.
I'm sure every game is different but I'm going to speak about the game I attended. I found some of the fans to be like that one drunk relative everyone has; you are super glad to see them at first, but as the night goes on you really wonder if they will ever stop talking. Most of the fans are great at heckling the opposing player when needed and always keep the umpire on his toes with timely rants. Unfortunately though, there were a couple of fans who as the game went on got more and more intoxicated and their rants got more and more annoying. At one time a couple of fans sitting in front of them asked them to be quiet at which time a scuffle almost occurred. Unfortunately those couple of bad apples ruined the basket of what was mostly engaged fans.
Located right off of Interstate 20 you should have no problem finding the stadium. Parking is free at Fair Grounds Field, which is wonderful in my book. The concourse area is mostly out of view from the field as it is located behind the seating areas, but is wide enough for easy access around the ballpark. The bathrooms were easily accessible and I never noticed a line.
With tickets only being $5 for a reserved seat and free parking, you can't really go wrong with this investment.
Food prices are all fair and you should easily be able to eat and watch the game for under $20, which is a steal in today's economy. The Captains put a great product on the field and seem to be more about the sport of baseball then some of the antics you may see from other minor league organizations. Overall you can't find a much better deal for watching baseball, unfortunately park security hasn't figured out how to handle unruly fans which keeps this ballpark from getting a five.
I definitely have to give one point to the beer vendor guy who seemed to be having the time of his life and who the fans seem to love. He came up with some fancy nursery rhymes to belt out to get everyone's attention and I even found them quite amusing and bought a beer from him, so his antics do work.
Another extra point goes to Captain Jack the mascot. One for being completely engaging with the crowd (the kids loved him), and two for being the absolutely skinniest mascot I have ever seen in my life. There must be an 18 year-old super model in that costume.
My last extra point goes for a combination of things from the free parking and the friendliness of the staff who were very knowledgeable about baseball and interested in producing a great product for the fans.
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4125 Hearne Ave
Shreveport, LA 71103
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