Vintage Throne Stadium - Barrie Baycats
Photos by Dave Cottenie, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 2.86
Vintage Throne Stadium 2100 Nursery Rd Midhurst, ON L0L 1X0
Year Opened: 2000
On the doorstep of Ontario’s Cottage Country, the City of Barrie lays claim to the seven-time Intercounty Baseball League Champion, Barrie Baycats. An expansion team in 2001, the Baycats stormed the IBL and dominated, winning six championships in a row from 2014 to 2019. Relatively young compared to the majority of clubs in the amateur baseball league in Ontario, the Baycats have fit right in with the rest of the teams and remain competitive into their twentieth season as part of the league.
The home for the Baycats is located just outside of the city limits of Barrie in the town of Minesing at the Barrie Community Sports Complex. Vintage Throne Stadium is part of the complex and is a fairly simple stadium. Vintage Throne Barber Shop purchased the naming rights to the stadium in 2022.
The Baycats consist mainly of players who work regular day jobs and commute into Barrie for baseball as well as some college players. The Barrie Baycats is a non-profit organization that is run by a Board of Directors. Checking out a Baycats game is a great way to spend a summer evening or weekend afternoon.
Concession items at the Barrie Baycats are decent. The lone concession stand offers favourites including hot dogs, burgers, chicken fingers, fries, and poutine. Chips, assorted candy, freezies, slushies, and pre-packaged ice cream treats are also available. Bottled water, Coca-Cola products, Gatorade, coffee, tea, and hot chocolate round out the beverage options. On the first base side of the stadium, in the right field, a beer tent sells a variety of beer from Muskoka Brewery among others. The Baycats also feature Baycats Brew in partnership with Collingwood Brewery.
Vintage Throne Stadium is part of the greater Barrie Community Sports Complex. The stadium itself, like many in the Intercounty Baseball League, is a fairly simple permanent structure with several semi-permanent bleachers. The main structure behind the home plate houses locker rooms, washrooms, concessions, and the press box. Light brown brick with blue trim and a red roof make the main structure fairly attractive.
The seating area consists of the main bleachers behind the plate. Two sets of bleachers are on either side of the main bleachers and a few sets of portable bleachers can be found on either side down the lines. The stadium is surrounded by greenery and has a real Northern Ontario feel to it. The dimensions of the field are symmetrical with 325’ down each of the lines and 405’ to the deep centre. The fence contains plenty of advertising and lets visitors understand that the Baycats are truly a local team.
A unique feature at Vintage Throne Stadium is the video board above the simple scoreboard beyond the right field. This feature does put Vintage Throne Stadium ahead of many of its IBL brethren. The Baycats lay claim to an astonishing seven league championships, however, there is nothing of note to share this information with fans on either the inside or outside of Vintage Throne Stadium. This is unfortunate. Some Intercounty League stadiums feature chain link fences behind the plate to protect fans from foul balls. This often provides obstructed views behind the plate. Vintage Throne Stadium features the mesh that is more prevalent in major and minor league parks that is far easier to see through.
The gameday presentation at a Baycats game is fairly simple. The Baycats do broadcast games on the radio and YouTube and commentators are at the top of the bleachers, out with the fans. There are a few simple promotions and nothing too over the top. Music played between innings and before the game is a healthy mix of classic rock and country.
Vintage Throne Stadium is part of the Barrie Community Sports Complex. The complex is quite large and features numerous other baseball and softball diamonds as well as other sports fields. The complex is on the edge of the limits of Minesing, which is a very small town. The car is going to be necessary to get anywhere. Fans wishing to find something to eat in Minesing should consider Cicco’s. However, the best bet is to head into Barrie and find a place for some food or drink. The Flying Monkeys Taproom, McReilly’s, and Pi are all good choices.
Barrie is located right on the shores of Lake Simcoe and there are plenty of beaches within the city that are great in the summer. Fans who head west instead will hit Georgian Bay with more freshwater beaches. There are also plenty of fishing opportunities to the north. The Simcoe County Museum is the closest attraction to Vintage Throne Stadium. Sports in the area are limited to the winter season when the Barrie Colts take the ice at Sadlon Arena.
Assessing fans in Intercounty Baseball is very difficult. Attendance figures for games are not normally published. Fans in Barrie are typically quiet. It seems that there are around 100 fans in attendance per game. The fans are a healthy mix of friends and family as well as die-hard regulars. It is fair to say that attendance at Baycats games is not out of line with other IBL clubs.
Getting to Vintage Throne Stadium is not very difficult by car. Located off Highway 26, on Nursery Road, northwest of Barrie and east of the town of Minesing. Traffic will not be an issue and there is plenty of free parking in the Barrie Community Sports Complex. The main hiccup for getting to Vintage Throne Stadium is that there is no public transit that gets to the sports complex from either Barrie or Minesing.
This is not the biggest deal in the world, because getting to Barrie or Minesing is pretty much done by car also. Washrooms are found around the front of the stadium, on the outside, and are pretty small, however, they will do for the size of the crowd in Barrie. There is plenty of space around the ballpark and a variety of seating and standing options. However, bleachers are what fans can expect, unless they bring their chairs.
Return on Investment 4
The Barrie Baycats, like the entire Intercounty Baseball League, is a very affordable endeavor. Regular-priced tickets are $10 and seniors can expect a $2 discount. Kids 12 and under are free. Parking is free and concession prices are very reasonable. The product on the field is solid and the production is pretty simple. Overall, a Barrie Baycats game is a great way to spend a summer evening or afternoon.
An extra mark for the video board, a unique feature in Intercounty Baseball. An extra mark for the remarkable success the Baycats have enjoyed during their 20-year existence. An extra mark for the strong sense of community and non-profit nature of the Baycats.
Catching a Barrie Baycats game will not blow you away with the glitz and glamour. The ability to truly catch the sounds of the game and to go back to when baseball was simpler is a definite plus. With a very affordable experience, a Barrie Baycats game at Vintage Throne Stadium is a great way to pass a summer evening or afternoon on the doorstep of Cottage Country.
Follow all of Dave’s sporting adventures on Twitter @profan9.