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May 17 - At The Ballpark: Coastal Federal Field, Myrtle Beach, SC

Note from TheMirl.com: This is the newest installment of a semi-regular series by Brian Wilmer reviewing
ballparks from around the country.

Every man has his paradise.

For many, that paradise rests on the Grand Strand in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.  

From the aptly-named Paradise Circle surrounding the visiting team's hotel at the Broadway at the
Beach complex to the palm-tree lined Coastal Federal Field just around the corner, Myrtle Beach fits that
bill as well as any minor league city.

Amazingly enough, Myrtle Beach recently spent seven years without professional baseball.  The Toronto
Blue Jays organization displaced their class-A Hurricanes (who played their home games at Coastal
Carolina University just up the road in Conway) after the 1992 season, leaving this tourist destination
without baseball until the Braves relocated their high-A affiliate from Durham, North Carolina to Myrtle
Beach to become the Pelicans in 1999.

It takes only a quick glance around Coastal Federal Field to see why Lynchburg
Hillcats Director of Broadcasting (and The Writers contributor) Jon Schaeffer calls
this park the “crown jewel” of the Carolina League.  From the chair back box
seating to the pavilion in the right-field corner, this facility is impressive in every
facet.  The gates are even set up to allow visitors a nice glance into the ballpark if
the team is on the road, as they always seem to be when I visit.  

The park has wide concourses that allow a large number of fans the opportunity to congregate without
the feeling of being cramped.  The seating layout allows fans in literally any area of the ballpark to have a
great view of the action, with the highlight being the aforementioned pavilion in the right field corner.  
Parts of the pavilion are mere feet from the action, and fans can partake in reasonably-priced
concessions while almost feeling as though they are in uniform.  The look of the stadium is
complemented by such features as brick-lined exterior walls and a large, easily-visible scoreboard in
left center.  The bullpen areas, while behind the outfield walls, are also reachable to fans who wish to
walk over and watch their favorite reliever take his tosses.

If it's Pelicans gear you're looking for, you'll find that, as well.  The Pelicans Pro Shop is located along the
first-base line, and features Pelicans and Carolina League logo items.

Coastal Federal Field also affords fans a reasonable ticket price, with the most expensive seats (in the
field box level) at a mere $7.50.  For those who prefer a more open seating area, there is also lawn
seating available.  Along with these seating options, the park also features luxury suites, a lounge, and
several group seating/party areas.

Another interesting fact publicized by the team is that the seats in the park are
from the old Fulton County Stadium in Atlanta.

At 4,324 fixed seats, Coastal Federal Field is not the biggest park in the Carolina
League, but it is classified by many as the most desirable in which to see a game.  
Should your travels lead you to Myrtle Beach this summer, be sure to take in a game, and see for