Counter Clocks Field - Lexington Counter Clocks
Photos by Marc Viquez, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score" 3.29
Wild Health Field 207 Legends Ln Lexington, KY 40505
Year Opened: 2001
The Changing of the Clock in Lexington
Note: The Lexington Legends have rebranded under new ownership as the Lexington Counter Clocks. Management is currently renovating the ballpark with new seating, remodeled bathrooms and suites, and lighting. The ballpark will also feature changes to the concourse, signage, and the addition of social areas down the first baseline.
Counter Clocks Field, formerly known as Wild Health Field and Whitaker Bank Park, opened in 2001 as Applebee's Park and returned professional baseball to Lexington for the first time since 1954. At the time of its construction, the city was the largest market without a baseball team. Fans quickly embraced the franchise, purchasing 1,950 season tickets within hours of going on sale and establishing a new South Atlantic League record.
The 6,994-seat stadium was built in an era that saw 77 minor league ballparks built within ten years. Construction of the facility cost $13.5 million and was part of a $23 million complex privately financed by a group of 23 local investors, led by principal owner Brad Redmond. In 2016, the ballpark went through $500,000 in renovations resulting in a wider entry plaza, expansion of the official team store renamed Stache Shoppe, and the addition of the Bullpen Patio.
Today, the team operates in the MLB Partnered Atlantic League after being dropped by Major League Baseball in December 2020. The Legends then rebranded as the Counter Clocks for the 2023 season which included major renovations to the ballpark. This has ushered in a new era of baseball in Lexington.
The ballpark is a cozy, modest facility that has a much older feel to it than its age. Its location is in a very unassuming part of town, but only a few miles from the nearest interstate or downtown corridors. Then again, there is something wonderfully simple about driving down a small road and having a baseball stadium pop into view on the horizon.
Food & Beverage 3
The usual can be found at the ballpark with the addition of a few interesting concession items. A few new editions include the KoBobinit on the third base line offering steak, sausage, chicken, and veggie kabobs with house-made sauces including a siracha-mayo blend, teriyaki, and jerk.
Across the way are funnel cakes, corn dogs, and loaded fries for sale. You can also get a big bag of kettle corn or Donatos pizza in this area of the ballpark. Another new edition is the Dickey’s BBQ Pit which is housed down the first baseline where the specialty hot dog and Gold Star chili stand used to be; unfortunately, it was closed during our visit, but Dickey’s logo is plastered on the cup holders throughout the seating area.
Another disappointment was The Larry Mac burger that is advertised as coming with two beef patties, jalapeno beer cheese, bacon, lettuce, and tomato, but when we ordered it, only the cheese was on the burger. A staff member advised us that the ingredients had changed, but was never corrected on the menu board.
It is a good thing the beer is inexpensive, Yuengling and Bud drafts sell for $6 and $11, while craft beer from local West 6th (highly recommended) cans are $5. If you are not a beer drinker, Pepsi products are available for $4. The best place to grab a bite to eat and enjoy the game is the Kentucky Ale Tap Room. This full-service restaurant features an air-conditioned bar area and patio view directly behind home plate.
The ballpark's design is heavily influenced by nearby horse racing tracks; elements of the sport include steeples and two murals on the exterior of the building. In total, there are eight steeples throughout the ballpark.
The ballpark itself features a steep seating bowl with excellent sight lines and a middle concourse providing access to all sections including the Pepsi Party Deck in right field, bleacher seats in left field, and the rather impressive Athena Kids play area behind the left field corner.
The 2,000-square-foot Bullpen Patio down the first base line was created for anyone to enjoy the game. The patio replaced a small grassy berm and follows a path of similar “hang out” space at both major and minor league parks. The area is standing-room only and features beer and cocktail service.
The Kentucky Ale Taproom sits directly behind home plate offering drafts of their beer and bourbon along with a full-service menu and waiting for staff. The area also provides a partially covered outside patio to enjoy the game.
There are numerous promotional nights including Free Parking Mondays, 25 Cent Hot Dog Tuesdays, and Winning Wednesdays. Thirsty Thursdays offer $1 and $3 beer prices with Bark at the Park and Firework Fridays are two popular nights, but if you are with the kids, they get in free on Sunday afternoon.
The ballpark is in a rather odd part of town, in an era when ballparks were built in downtown lots or off an entrance ramp of a major freeway, the ballpark was constructed adjacent to a small strip mall 1.5 miles from the I-64 and I-75 interchanges. The best option is to take a drive downtown or to a few other areas around Lexington where one can find great restaurants, breweries, and distilleries.
The city is home to two horse racing tracks: Keeneland (thoroughbred) and Red Mile (harness) which offer racing throughout the calendar year. Kentucky Horse Park is a working horse farm and an educational theme park that offers attractions and is a great place for kids and racing aficionados.
The area is in the heart of the Bourbon Trail. Nearby distilleries include Buffalo Trace, Four Roses, Wild Turkey, Woodford Reserve, and Lexington Brewing & Distilling (located in town and also features a brewery). Castle & Key is the newest distillery that took residence in the old limestone castle built in 1887. Tours and prices will vary and all include a sample of bourbon on picturesque grounds.
Downtown Lexington offers a collection of great restaurants and breweries that include Dudley’s on Short, Bourbon on Rye, Blue Door Smokehouse, Minglewood, and Creaux. Local breweries include Mirror Twin, Country Boy, Ethereal, and West Sixth.
A personal favorite place to visit is the Historic Pepper Distillery District, a 25-acre entertainment complex that is less than 4 miles away from the stadium. Originally built in 1869 to produce bourbon, it is home to the James E. Pepper Distillery, Ethereal Brewing, Barrel House Distilling, The Elkhorn Tavern, Crank & Boom Ice Cream, and Wise Bird Cider Co. It is quite a popular place to visit in town.
There is also the chance that your visit may coincide with a Kentucky Wildcats basketball game at Rupp Arena or a Kentucky Wildcats baseball game at Kentucky Proud Park. When you include your visit with horse racing, bourbon tours, great restaurants, and other sports, you have enough to do on a very long weekend.
Attendance has been around 4,300 over the past few years which is respectable and above the league average. The city endured 47 long years without professional baseball and they have continued to support the team in the college basketball and horse racing-centric city.
There are 1,200 parking spaces, plus 3,000 more within a 10-minute walk from the stadium. The middle concourse provides easy access to all points and concession stands are brightly lit. The small nature of the ballpark can create a nice tour of the facility if one is interested in taking photos or enjoying the game from different vantage points.
Return on Investment 4
The price of a ticket to watch a Legends game starts at $6 for bleachers and bullpen patio tickets; after that, the prices go up and alter on certain days and times. A box-level seat costs $9 in advance, $10 on Friday and Saturday, and $11 on the day of the game.
The Counter Clocks have issued daily promotions that include $3 beers and sodas, $2 hot dogs, and ! chips on Tuesday. Thursday nights included $2 domestic and $3 craft beers, Saturday games feature post-game fireworks, and kids run the bases on Sunday games.
One star for the mural of Trinity Gay down the first base side of the exterior of the ballpark. The daughter of U.S. track star Tyson Gay was killed in a cross-fire shooting at a restaurant in 2016; she was just 15 years old. The 30-foot mural was designed by Dani Green and includes the words “Pass the Baton.”
Another star for the Kentucky Ale Taproom, a great spot to enjoy the game from either inside the bar or on the patio in the back of home plate on the middle concourse. This is one of the best views in the stadium and the middle of all the action.
A third and final star for making every Thursday a chance to bring your dog to the game. Whitaker Bank Ballpark is one of many facilities expanding its Bark at the Park program. Fans attending a Legends game have 11-12 dates to choose from a year to enjoy the game with their best friend.
Counter Clocks Field was built in an era where minor league ballparks opened up across the country in record numbers. The stadium brought pro ball back to town for the first time since 1954 and unlike that season when the team ceased operations midway through the year on July 7.
The ball club has placed itself among the copious sporting and entertainment options for over 20 years and growing in Lexington. A ballpark that features seats close to the diamond, cheap tickets, and cheaper eats is what minor league baseball used to be and what it should still be for the average fan.