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Official Review by Lloyd Brown, Stadium Journey Special Correspondent
The Greenville Drive are the A-level affiliate of the Boston Red Sox, and are members of the South Atlantic League. They have played in Greenville since 2005, and opened their present home at Fluor Field in 2006. Fluor Field is located in the West End neighborhood of Greenville, now one of the trendiest areas of the city. In the early 1900s, it was a very different place, as it was dotted with textile mills and the homes of the mill workers. Fluor Field is actually constructed from bricks salvaged from these mills, and has a Heritage Plaza inside the stadium to tell the story of these mills and the many mill-sponsored baseball teams provided for their workers.
Fluor Field has a seating capacity of 5,700 in both fixed seating and on grass berms in the outfield areas. The dimensions of the park are 310 to left, 302 to right, and 420 to dead center, the same exact dimensions as Fenway Park. The park also features the intimate feel of Fenway, as there are no seats more than 13 rows from the field. There is literally not a bad seat in the house.
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Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
There are central concession stands within Fluor Field, along with numerous kiosks that sell a specific item such as beer, barbecue or ice cream. The park also has vendors roaming the stands during the game, so there is not too much of a problem with long lines forming. Prices are very reasonable, and the food is locally-sourced and very fresh. (Alas, the hot dogs are not the famous "Fenway Franks"). A sampling of the prices is as follows: barbecue platter ($8.50), Chick-fil-A sandwich ($4.50), and single pizza slice ($2.50). Sodas are $2.50. For fancier food fare and a great view of the field, you can head up to the 500 Club along the first base line.
There are a number of things you will notice upon arrival at Fluor Field. The first is that it offers a number of amenities not typically found in a Class A-level park. The materials used in building the park, the many seating options, the in-game entertainment, the matrix scoreboard and the concession choices are all more likely to be found in a well-designed AAA-level park.
The second thing you will notice is the stunning resemblance Fluor Field has to Fenway Park. It is very obvious that the Drive is an affiliate of the Boston Red Sox. The dimensions of the field match Fenway exactly, right down to the Pesky Pole. Fluor Field also has its own Green Monster in left field, though this one is only 30 feet tall. The scoreboard inside the Green Monster also is changed manually, just like Fenway. One more Red Sox tradition that has made it to its southern outpost is the singing of "Sweet Caroline" during the seventh-inning stretch.
The last thing you will notice about Fluor Field that has been incorporated from another famous ballpark stands behind the left field wall and runs all the way to deep center. The Drive has taken a page from the Baltimore Orioles' Camden Yards, as a multi-story office/condominium complex serves as a backdrop for more than half the outfield. It is not unusual to see residents sitting on their patios and enjoying the ballgame from the comforts of their own home.
Fluor Field is the centerpiece of the West End neighborhood, one of the trendiest areas of Greenville. The blocks surrounding the ballpark are filled with great restaurants, fashionable boutiques and upscale art galleries.
A great place to hang out before or after the game is the Liberty Tap Room, which is just across the street from Fluor. In addition to wonderful pub food, their Happy Hour (M-F, 4-7 PM) is hard to beat. During that period, food selections are $5, and the well brands are $1 off, selected drafts are 50 percent off and domestic bottled beers are $3. Two other eateries to check out are Smoke on the Water and Breakwater, which are both located on the outskirts of the Park on the Reedy. The hotels nearest the park include the downtown locations of the Westin, the Hyatt Regency and Holiday Inn Express.
The fan base in Greenville is very energized about the Drive, as baseball has deep roots in this city. The stadium's location makes it very easy to access after work. The team does a great job of marketing to the man on the street, as the scoreboard shows several vignettes each night featuring surprise visits to area companies and schools by the Drive's spirit squad. In addition, Reedy Rip' It, the team's mascot, does a great job stirring up the crowd. (Reedy is a frog who lives in the nearby Reedy River who simply loves baseball.)
Another characteristic of Drive fans is the Fenway feel. Even though Greenville is hundreds of miles away from Boston, the intimacy of the park and the Green Monster in left field have brought a Red Sox level of enthusiasm to the locals. This is never more evident than in the spirited singing of Sweet Caroline during the seventh-inning stretch.
The parking immediately surrounding Fluor Field is limited and expensive. A majority of the fans attending Drive games take advantage of the free parking located at the County Square government complex a few blocks away and either make the 10-minute walk or take the free trolley directly to the park. The trolleys run on a continuous basis before, during and after each Drive game. Once you arrive at the field, you will find very wide concourses to navigate and more than adequate restroom and concession facilities.
Fluor Field offers tickets in various price ranges. The Reserved Terrace seats are $7, as are the Lawn and Deck seats on the berm; the Reserved seating area goes for $8, and Box seats are $9. (Seats are $1 less for purchases in advance of the day of the game.) Parking and the trolley shuttle to the park are free, as long as you park at the County Square complex. The concession prices are very reasonable, and you have immediate access to some great clubs and pubs just outside the park gates.
Fluor Field is just blocks from some of Greenville's main attractions:
The Shoeless Joe Jackson Home and Museum is just across the street from the stadium. This was Jackson's home throughout his life, and the museum tells the story of how he moved up from being a mill worker to become one of baseball's stars of the early 1900s. No matter what you think about his guilt or innocence in the Black Sox scandal, it is a great look into the early days of baseball. The museum has limited hours of 10am-2pm on Saturdays, as it is completely staffed by volunteers. It is certainly worth a visit prior to a Drive game.
Falls Park on the Reedy is a natural gem located just a few blocks from Fluor Field. The park flanks the Reedy River with a series of beautiful waterfalls as they cascade through downtown Greenville. You will have a wonderful vantage point of the falls from the Liberty suspension bridge as it crosses the natural ravine. Make sure you take a walk through the ravine, as it features paved trails, public art and wonderful gardens.
The West End neighborhood surrounding the park is one of the trendiest neighborhoods in Greenville. You can fill a day shopping, eating and drinking in its many boutiques, galleries and restaurants.
Fluor Field deserves an extra on its own for its faithful recreation of Fenway Park in miniature, and for also honoring Greenville's baseball heritage.
Member Review by brian on May 10, 2012
One of the coolest things about minor league baseball is all the attached history. Clubs become part of the fabric of a city, and can hold the same affiliation for decades. It is not too often, though, that a club's history spans two states and three cities like that of the Greenville Drive.
The club got its start in Shelby, North Carolina, in the late 1970s as a Reds affiliate, then carried their eventual Mets affiliation to Columbia, South Carolina, in 1983. After 20-plus years in Columbia and affiliations with the Mets and Red Sox, the team was moved to a new park in Greenville, built after the Braves ended their affiliation to move to Pearl, Mississippi. The Drive (named for the city's automotive history and association with BMW and Michelin) wheeled into Greenville in 2005, spending a year in the old Greenville Municipal Stadium before opening Fluor Field. The park that made the Braves leave and drew such disagreement in the city now leads the charge in a revitalized downtown Greenville.
Member Review by MarcV on Aug 10, 2013
Fluor FIeld at the West End is the home of the Greenville Drive of the South Atlantic League. The 5,700-seat stadium debuted on April 6, 2006 and borrows many elements from its parent club, the Boston Red Sox, and their home Fenway Park. Its near identical dimensions with Pesky’s Pole in right field, the Green Monster, and the singing of “Sweet Caroline” have made many refer to the park as “Little Fenway.” However, there are also attributes inspired by the city of Greenville as many of the bricks used to construct both the stadium and the apartments in back of the outfield were reclaimed from local textile mills. Also, famous players and past teams are highlighted throughout the concourse with “Shoeless” Joe Jackson being paramount. Some even say his ghost is in the outfield.
Member Review by oldskoolberk on Feb 13, 2014
After being a part of "Braves Country" for years, the Braves took their AA team to Mississippi and Greenville took the Capital City Bombers (in Columbia) and then named them the Drive after the BMW plant near there. Could have been called the Shoes or the Joes in honor of Greenville native Joe Jackson, but with that whole Black Sox thing, kinda messed that up.
I love this park. It is a great minor league experience for anybody who loves Minor League baseball. The idea of making it a mini-Fenway was a neat one, though I know some who scoff at the idea, but remember this a Red Sox farm team, so might as well try to get used to the idea of playing at Fenway. Definitely worth a trip to see the Drive.
FOOD/BEVERAGE: Variety is solid with "Sweet Caroline's" Ice Cream, which is a big hit, though I had a stale waffle cone when I ate it. You also have BBQ, Nachos, Pizza, and the standard fare. I tried a pizza though and it was on the disappointing side. Not the greatest of places for food quality though.
ATMOSPHERE: The place has a nice baseball history and they show it. You do feel like you are in a classic Minor League town.
NEIGHBORHOOD: If you are behind the left field monster, you have some places to eat. There is a nice place right behind the wall, where it is a nice place to eat, and some of the best burgers around. You do have some other places around, but not too many and you are close by to a mall, but the one behind the monster is definitely worth it.
FANS: Into the game from first pitch to the last out. And it is Red Sox lite in terms of that.
ACCESS: Not off any major interstate, but it is easy enough. You can park at the mall for free, though nobody is watching, but most of the fans did it so it must not be that much of a concern.
ROI: Tickets are fairly inexpensive as you can get seats behind home plate for about $10. Prices for food & souvenirs aren't too high so you get a lot for what you pay for on this one.
EXTRAS: Mini-Fenway is a great idea especially for a Red Sox farm team. You have good seating all throughout and you have a nod to some of the best baseball players to come out of the Greenville area. The Joe Jackson birthplace & museum is next door, but come very early for that as it closes 3-4 hours before gametime.
Member Review by sportsroadtrips on Aug 16, 2015
A near perfect experience. The review says it all, but this is how minor league ball can combine family friendly entertainment without sacrificing the game itself.
1 Augusta St
Greenville, SC 29601
941 S Main St
Greenville, SC 29601
1 Augusta St #202
Greenville, SC 29601