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May 30 - At The Ballpark: Greer Stadium, Nashville, TN

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

Don Mattingly.  Willie McGee.  Magglio Ordonez.  Mike Cameron.

These (and many other) famous names have patrolled the Greer Stadium turf since its opening in
1978.  This park has housed affiliates of the Yankees, Reds, White Sox, Pirates, and now Brewers, and
has even hosted two teams at the same time (the AA Nashville Xpress played here for a while).

Greer is widely panned throughout the Pacific Coast League for its facilities, and this has led team
personnel to attempt to build a privately-financed stadium/residential complex on the banks of the
Cumberland River, near the Titans' stadium.  That idea, however, is all but dead in the eyes of city
officials.

In the absence of a new stadium, how is this one holding up?  Let's find out.

Concessions: B
The actual concession choices in this park are wonderful, as there is literally everything from barbecue
to Chinese to—yes, this is true—fried cheesecake.  I wasn't brave enough to try the latter, but the nachos
and cheese are extremely plentiful.  They also feature selections from Chick-Fil-A at the ballpark.  Along
with the food choices, the amount of souvenirs available at the ballpark is pretty amazing, with everything
from Prince Fielder and Rickie Weeks-autographed programs to hats for every taste.  The one downfall
of the concessions is the price – cheeseburgers are $4, Chick-Fil-A Sandwiches $4.50, and, in perhaps
the most egregious offense, 20-ounce bottles of Coke products are $2.50, and they are served warm in
most places, so you have to buy the $.50 souvenir cup of ice.

Between-innings entertainment: C
Standard fare here, with the mascot race, a lame yelling contest between sides of
the field regarding Goo Goo Clusters, and a Nashville twist on the dizzy bat race,
as it was the dizzy guitar race.  The one thing that they did that will automatically
earn a letter grade reduction for any ballpark I visit in the future that does it was
the playing of the chicken dance song.  That song is quickly becoming as tired as
the call for people in the stands to get ready to rumble.

Sight lines: A
One of the real advantages of Greer is the fact that every seat is a good seat in this stadium.  There are a
number of picnic areas in the stadium, and they offer great views.  I sat in section D (next to the visitors'
bullpen), and my view was virtually unobstructed.  There are also a number of sky boxes and a sports
bar, and they offer great views of the field.  Also, if you are coming to the ballpark on 8th Ave. South (US
31) from the south side of town, you get a really beautiful view of the Nashville skyline before turning onto
the residential street on which the park is located.

Promotions: A
The promotions on this evening were a 2005 Nashville Sounds baseball card set for the first 2000 fans
in attendance, and fireworks after the game.  The fireworks show was long (over 10 minutes), and was
very impressive.  This was easily the best night of promotions I have seen in a minor league park in a
long while.

Parking: B
There are two lots in which to park, with one on the same side of Chestnut St. as the ballpark, and one
directly across the street.  Parking is free, which is a really nice treat, and traffic control in and out of the
park is nice, but they have started marking a lot of the ballpark-side lot as reserved parking (which was
not done in previous years), and that detracted from the otherwise good parking experience.

Player accessibility: A
There were a number of players on both sides signing autographs, and the seats
literally go to the field, so the ability to get close to the players is in play at Greer.  
Another nice touch was the entire New Orleans group saying hello to me as they
came to the bullpen before the game.  They didn't know who I was – and I didn't
make a big public scene out of myself, obviously – but they all went out of their
way to say hello, and were extremely nice.  Getting to listen to their conversations  
throughout the game was almost as entertaining as the game itself.

Quality of baseball: A/F
The answer to this question depends on which team you're reviewing.  The
homestanding Sounds defeated the New Orleans Zephyrs 13-3, and hit four
homers in the process.  There are a number of solid prospects on the Sounds
team, including Prince Fielder and Rickie Weeks.  New Orleans, conversely,
could not seem to string together any hits, and of the pitchers used in the game,
the one with the lowest ERA is a reserve second baseman.  There are a few
prospects for New Orleans, but for the most part, the Nationals do not have a whole lot to pull from with
this team.

Overall grade: B+
As nice as it would be to have a new ballpark in Nashville, this one still has great atmosphere, and it is
still a comfortable and easily-reached location to watch baseball.  They have let the park go somewhat,
with faded and cracked chair backs in a lot of areas, a patch or two of dead grass in the right field corner,
and the guitar-shaped scoreboard for which this stadium is so famous barely worked during my time
there.  The out-of-town scoreboard in the left field corner has even been covered up.  With all of the
griping about a new ballpark downtown apparently leading to the death of the proposal, the money that
was to be invested in that location should go here.  This ballpark could really be something if they just
took the time and money to make it so.