— Matt Nelson
Parkview Field in Fort Wayne, Indiana, is not only a ballpark that stands out in the Midwest League, but one that stands out nationally. The TinCaps forgot no detail and spared no expense in building this ballpark. It feels like a ballpark you would find at a higher minor league classification.
The Fort Wayne team has been affiliated with San Diego for several years and used to play a few miles north of downtown. I went to a game at Memorial Stadium in 2007. While the Wizards (that’s what they were called then) staff was friendly enough and the fans showed up in big numbers at that game, the ballpark was really pretty bad. It was built only in 1993, but was bland and uninspiring.
Interestingly enough, the TinCaps are named for Johnny Appleseed. Appleseed’s real name was John Chapman. He’s buried about 400 yards from the old ballpark. The team moved downtown to Parkview Field for 2009 and changed its nickname to TinCaps. Chapman is thought to have worn a pot on his head back in his tree-planting days.
The apple theme is everywhere at Parkview Field. They sell caramel apples, the apple logo is on the end of every aisle of seats, the exterior of “The Orchard” souvenir shop has a floor-to-ceiling-logo. It’s all very well orchestrated and carries the theme throughout the park.
With the move downtown the TinCaps seem likely to draw huge crowds to a park that team officials told me was designed to attract non-baseball fans as well. Parkview Field (the naming rights belong to a healthcare operation called “Parkview”) includes an amphitheatre in center field for concerts before the game and a conference center in right field.
In time a condominium complex will rise beyond left field. What’s cool is that the workout facility for that complex will be underneath the left field stands and will have big plexiglass windows right in the left field wall! Parkview Field, the condos, and other things yet to be built in that immediate area, are part of a grand redevelopment project on the SW side of Fort Wayne.
The coolest thing in the park is the group seating section in right field. It sits on the rooftop of the conference center and is called the “Treetop” area. The hope is that fans will view it like sitting on the rooftops of Waveland and Sheffield outside of Wrigley Field.
Parkview Field is absolutely fantastic. The TinCaps really did a great job with this park. It’s a worth a stop to any baseball fan passing through Northeastern Indiana!
Did you know that just blocks from Parkview Field the very first Major League Baseball game was played in 1871? Random, huh?
Be sure to check out the video profile of Parkview Field as well as a video story on the history of baseball in Fort Wayne! Also, thanks to Chad Gramling for his help at Parkview Field. He runs a great Fort Wayne Baseball website.