In 2010 I will travel to Dayton to profile Fifth Third Field as part of KCRG-TV9’s Ballparks of the Midwest League. Of course there’s also Fifth Third Ballpark in the Grand Rapids, Michigan area. We’ll visit that later this summer. And then there’s the other Fifth Third Field in Toledo. Confusing, huh?
Fifth Third Field in Toledo is home to the AAA Toledo Mud Hens of the International League. Built in 2002 it is crammed into a downtown Toledo block. In fact two of the corners of the block are filled by new businesses that moved into the old buildings that were left in place. It really gives the ballpark a sense of history when you walk around the outside.
The outside includes what might be the best statue I’ve seen at a ballpark. Check out the kids peering through the Knothole to watch the game. What’s interesting is that anybody can stroll by the exterior of Fifth Third Park and watch the game. It’s easily visible from Right, Center and Left Fields from the surrounding streets through a black iron fence.
Inside the park the seats provide a nice view of downtown Toledo. The seats in the Right Field corner look cool, but don’t provide much of a view for evening games. “The Roost” is a triangular section of seats built into the corner of an old building. It looks great, but for night games people in those seats stare directly into the sun for a couple of hours.
I’ve been to several AAA ballparks and Toledo’s Fifth Third Field is right at the top of the list. I absolutely love Louisville Slugger Field in Louisville, Kentucky, but Toledo’s yard is just a little more unique. It is well worth a visit if you find yourself on Interstate 80 in Western Ohio.