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Official Review by Paul Derrick, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
The small town of Robstown is about 15 miles west of Corpus Christi, right in the heart of what use to be cotton country. In 2003 the Coastal Bend Aviators arrived as a new Central League team. Just two years after their start, Corpus Christi got its own team, and the Aviators continued on for three more seasons. In 2009 Coastal Bend signed on with the United Baseball League and re-branded from the Aviators to the Thunder.
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".
Coastal Bend carries a variety of different things to eat at the stadium, just nothing to brag about. The hot dogs and burgers are just ok, but are reasonably priced at $3.50 for hamburgers and the hot dogs were a steal the night I went, priced at only a dollar. Sorry beer enthusiasts, no draft beers here, just cans and bottles sold from $2-$3.50.
As far as other edibles like Chicken baskets and chopped BBQ they are all reasonably priced. They do have interesting promotions though, such as selected batters from the opposing team are called beer batters and when they strike out the next 100 canned beers are sold for a quarter. I would say if you plan on taking part in that promotion much, make sure to have a designated driver. Overall there was nothing that caught my eye or taste buds, but they do have hard to beat prices.
From the moment you walk into the stadium and hear AC/DC's "Thunderstruck" you get the feeling that it's time for some baseball. Unfortunately, this is where the baseball fun ends, as there's not much of a baseball feel in Robstown.
The fans are scarce and the feel of baseball is even more scarce. I have enjoyed the baseball atmosphere more at high school baseball games than I did at Coastal Bend. It's a beautiful ballpark with an elevated concourse, that consists of a nice home plate portal leading between the outer and inner concourses. Seating does not extend all the way down the foul lines, but grass berms are provided at each end of the stands.
Coastal Bend definitely has a nice stadium with Fairgrounds Field, and there is a lot of potential, but right now it just falls flat as a good baseball experience.
Well to put it nicely there isn't a neighborhood, at least not one that I felt safe traveling in. Robstown to me felt very run down with almost nothing to offer. I haven't felt this unsafe in a town after dark for a long time. So I would advise anyone who is in the Corpus Christi area and wants to attend a Coastal Bend game in Robstown, go back to Corpus Christi for the after party or after game activities. Trust me once you end up in Robstown you will see what I mean.
In what I hope for the Coastal Bend Thunder's franchise was a slow night, the park held at the most 100 fans. I don't know if it's because Robstown is so close to Corpus Christi that people would rather see the Corpus Christi Hooks play, but it's bad. The fans that were there seem to be loyal fans and were cheering for the players by name. One fan even took the 25 cent beer special a little too far as by the 6th inning he was heckling the entire opposing team. It was funny at first, but by the 9th inning highly annoying. Overall Coastal Bend lacks fan support and if 100 fans is a nightly usual, I don't see how the team can stay above water too much longer.
The stadium is pretty accessible, not off the beaten path by too much. Parking is $3, which is reasonable especially since that's one of the only ways at making money on the game. Restrooms are easily accessible, and as you can imagine no line at all. Overall, I guarantee you should have no problem finding the stadium, it's the enjoyment of the game that I can't guarantee.
If you're in the Corpus Christi area, I can't see a real bad return on investment for this game. I would however definitely recommend watching the Corpus Christi Hooks rather than a game at Coastal Bend. Ticket prices are pretty low from $4 to the highest being $6. I'm pretty sure you could buy a $4 ticket and sit about anywhere without anyone saying anything to you. At this point in time I just don't think Robstown is the best place for independent league baseball.
The new stadium itself warrants at least an extra point, overall though there's definitely better baseball in Texas. I wouldn't go out of my way to catch a Coastal Bend game, but if you're in the area for some god awful reason, go for it.
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615 South Highway 77
Robstown, TX 78380