Welcome to the final installment of my 2010 “Southern Swing”. Being on the road was a most gratifying experience, and I hope to do it again as soon as possible. If you enjoyed the content that I provided, then please make this sentiment known within the all-important court of public opinion.
After visiting the Shoeless Joe Jackson Museum on Sunday, I sauntered across the street to Fluor Field (no one walks in South Carolina — they saunter). This facility, built in 2006, boasts an all-brick exterior that fits well with the rest of the neighborhood (before going any further, let me note that a complementary Greenville article can be found HERE).
I’d like to back up my above claim by showing pictures from “the rest of the neighborhood”, an area that serves as a link to Greenville’s textile mill past. Here’s one of the many churches that dot the area:
I don’t know about you, but I could certainly use some brain tonic about now:
The industrial past is also illuminated by the (still-active) train tracks that run outside of the building.
But once stepping inside, thoughts of Fenway take over:
The building beyond the left field wall offers rooftop seating, and the condominium portion of the structure (on the right) offers porches that look out onto the field.
The 500 Club party area in right field:
Drive general manager Mike deMaine provided me with a behind-the-scenes look at the facility.
The home clubhouse:
Smaller visitor digs:
The high-tech production room, where masterpieces such as THIS are churned out on a regular basis.
Upper Deck Party Area:
And, finally, the Dugout Suite. deMain wanted to make clear that the Drive were the first team to feature such a thing, contrary to the claims of the Visalia Rawhide (“We’re first and best”, he said). I am happy to provoke a Dugout Suite war of words, so if Visalia or any neglected third parties would like to respond then I’m all ears.
The suite in question is available for group rentals, and features a private food and beverage area as well as a lounge with views of the Drive’s hitting cage.
As the pictures above would indicate, I didn’t actually see a game at Fluor Field. Sunday’s matinee contest began at 4, and my flight from the Greenville/Spartanburg airport was scheduled to leave at 5:30.
So, after my stadium tour, I climbed into my rented Mercedes-Benz with Texas plates for what would be the last time and proceeded to the airport (stopping on the way for a pouch of microwavable boiled peanuts).
While I wouldn’t call the Southern Swing “fun” (the schedule was fairly relentless and I am far too prone to bouts of anxiety), it was deeply rewarding and I am very glad I got the chance to do it. Thanks for reading, and here’s to many more Minor League road trips!