On the Road: The Biggest Little Ballpark in Reno

To see all posts from my August 8 visit to the Reno Aces, click HERE. To see all my posts from my August 2016 “Out West” road trip, click HERE. To see all my “On the Road” posts, click HERE. If interested in seeing posts covering a visit to a particular team, search for that team’s name in the blog search bar (it’s to your right).

I visited 10 teams on my 2016 “Out West” road trip, four of which I had visited before. The Reno Aces fell into this category, but with an asterisk: When I stopped by Reno in 2013, the game was rained out. This meteorological misfortune led to one of the weirdest posts in the history of this blog, which presented an alternate (and startlingly convincing) account of my allegedly rained out night in Reno.

This time around, here in the year of our Lord 2016, I wanted normalcy. I wanted nine innings of baseball, played on a Monday, because everybody knows that Minor League teams are at their best on Mondays. That’s what I wanted, and that’s what I got.

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The Aces’ ballpark, originally known as Aces Ballpark, is now known as Greater Nevada Field. (There is no “Great Nevada Field,” in the state, but if there ever is, Greater Nevada Field will clearly have a leg up on it.) The Freight House District, seen on the left in the above photo, is an amalgam of bars and restaurants. It’s accessible to fans during the game but also open year-round as an all-purpose entertainment complex.

Immediately upon setting foot in the facility, I was greeted by Aces communications manager Cheyne Reiter. He ushered me onto the field.

img_0273Once on the field, I was introduced to pitcher Matt Capps. We had an interview scheduled.

Capps turned out to be a great interview, speaking with honesty and humor about his current, improbable comeback attempt (he hasn’t pitched in the Major Leagues since 2012). You can read my story about him HERE.

Shortly after speaking with Capps, I pivoted to an interview of a different sort.

img_2541That’s Princess,  a 10-year-old rescue pit bull who was adopted by Aces executive VP Andrew Daugherty prior to the season. She is now a ballpark celebrity, helping to dispel the stereotypes associated with her breed simply by existing. I wrote a story on Princess, and what she means to the team and community, HERE.

Princess is an absolute sweetheart.

img_2551An absolute sweetheart, I tell you.

After (reluctantly) taking my leave of Princess, myself and Aces director of marketing Audrey Hill walked around the ballpark for a bit. Taking a page out of the El Paso Chihuahuas playbook, the upper level hallways and suite interiors are decorated with the work of local artists. All of these pieces of art are for sale. Support local artists.
img_0287Artwork also enlivens the walls outside of the main entrance. The mural below, by Erik Burke, depicts Theodore Judah. Judah was the mastermind behind the Trans-Continental Railroad, which led to the creation of the city of Reno in 1868 after a railroad station was established there.

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The spray paint used for Judah’s eyes reflects through the windows, causing them to change color. Check the reflection:
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Judah’s steely, subtly shifting and not-at-all crazy gaze is fixated on a mural located directly across from him. This one is by Bryce “ABC Art Attack” Chisolm. I believe that’s Princess, there in the bottom left corner. Princess is absolute sweetheart.

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And speaking of art, this is one of the most fantastic pieces of restroom signage I saw all season.

img_2558Meanwhille, the sun was setting…

img_2560…and the ballgame was underway. The Aces were hosting the Salt Lake Bees, one of two teams in the Pacific Coast League I have yet to visit. (The other being the Colorado Springs Sky Sox.)

img_0292But, for now, I can only focus on the visits that have occurred. There’ll be much more from Reno in my next post (and the one after that).

***

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

twitter.com/bensbiz

instagram.com/thebensbiz

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