First Impressions: Renovated Metro Bank Park

We took our first visit of the 2010 campaign to the renovated Metro Bank Park over the weekend and here are our intial feelings on the park, the food, the Senators, and the whole experience. It’s obviously early in the season as this was the opening weekend, so hopefully many of the kinks will be worked out before the dog days of summer are here.

The Good

  • Harrisburg desperately needed to upgrade their facilities to a Double-A level for the fans and the players. When especially compared with the recent version, the stadium has now become an impressive jewel of the Eastern League.
  • The friendly staff were out in full force with an increased presence in the parking lots, around the facility, and as part of the promotional team.
  • The Senators had the the fortuitous timing to have a fleece blanket giveaway on what will probably be the coldest day of the season.
  • Beyond the dugout suite seats along the 3rd baseline is a spot to get up close and personal with autograph requests of the visiting team.
  • The visitor’s bullpen is now out of play down the left field line (as it should be).
  • The picnic area down the right field line is now entirely covered by a roof and will be much more desirable for groups in the heat of summer.
  • With the elevated concourse, there are some great views of the city skyline if you take the time to notice.
  • I found the maligned roasted corn on the cob was actually both a fairly decent size and tasting cob (albeit without the promised Old Bay seasoning).

The Bad

  • Last year the barstools that line the outfield wall were available on a first come basis – – now they are being specifically sold and are only available with a ticket.
  • I was looking forward to the Sen-a-Taters as they were described as resembling Dutch Fries (a treat of my youth growing up in Pennsylvania Dutch country), but they were little more than a $5 boat of potato chips.
  • If you’re looking for something “different”, you’re going to need to visit The Spot and MoMo BBQ Company concession stands located on the bottom level behind home plate. It’s the only place you’re going to find non-typical ballpark fare.
  • I’m sure the older woman working the register in the hot dog & beer stand on the 1st base side is a pleasant and nice woman. However, she should be avoided at all costs as she is slower than molasses and I personally saw her miscount change out to a customer.
  • The Senators store out in left field is a fabulous addition, but there’s not one single piece of Nationals’ gear to be found…it seems odd to me that the parent club isn’t even represented a little.

The Ugly

  • Landshark Lager (manufactured by Anheuser-Busch) is not and is never going to be a “premium draft” beer, so please stop charging like it is.
  • Do you want french fries at the ballgame? Well they are only found at a little stand in center field, were swimming in grease, and you should be prepared to wait.
  • Selfishly speaking, the vegetarian options are limited to say the least…the little Appalachian Brewing Company stand in right-center still carries their signature portabello sandwich, but other than that there are very few choices.
  • The Senators are hitting a pathetic .199 at the plate, mired in last place, and are doing very little to energize the home crowd that is looking for something to cheer for.
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