The American pastime, baseball, what better way to see it than a local minor league team? Knowing that one day the players could move up into the big leagues makes it more exciting that you could be watching a rising star. The Mobile Baybears are the minor league affiliate to the Arizona diamondbacks. Their home stadium is Hank Aaron Stadium, named after the hall of fame baseball player that was born in Mobile Al. For watching a game of up and comers this venue has as much excitement as the big leagues.
As with most sporting events you must pay for parking, however ticket prices are very reasonable and balance out the cost. The cost of parking is $3 per vehicle. Although we were not in one of the private booths, our “superbox” seats were directly behind home plate and we could see all the action. These tickets cost about $10 per adult, which of course you can get less by purchasing in advance online.
Having kids is a mixed bag at a Baybears game; it’s both hit and miss. Kids love the mascots: Teddy bear, Bay B. Bear, and Kookie, who is not a bear but a green monster. When my kids first walked into Hank Aaron Stadium they were so happy to see Bay B Bear. It was hard to take pictures since he was standing directly behind the turnstiles as guests kept pouring in, so unfortunately we had to skip it. They do have other opportunities to take pictures with the mascots, this happens after the first inning. If anything they should allow pictures during the fourth or fifth inning when the game has stretched out and fans need a break. Obviously they understand that since during those innings the mascots will come around the stadium and interact with the kids. Take note that kids can get extremely bored depending on how long the games last, so these breaks are well worth it.
Aside from the mascots the children’s activities are extremely limited. There are inflatables for kids to play on, but they are not free. The cost is about $5 per child for a wristband and we never got an answer if it was unlimited uses. With only three inflatables though, kids could possibly get bored fairly quickly. My brother in law and his wife had brought their infant daughter to the game and I have to say the stadium is not stroller friendly. We were never directed towards an elevator or ramp to take the stroller up. Although the adjacent seats were empty it was difficult to fold up the stroller and wedge it between rows. An usher eventually told us we could leave the stroller at the top of the stairs and he’d watch it. After an inning it was decided to put the stroller back in the truck. With most sporting events I had a feeling it wouldn’t be stroller friendly, but the lack of ramps worried me about the accessibility for people who are disabled.
Compared to some of the other minor league teams in the area, Hank Aaron stadium is a bit dated. Built in 1997, it is an older venue and after 16 years I understand normal wear and tear. Be sure to watch your children as they sit. The seats are made of plastic as opposed to wood and I noticed some were splintering or had cracks in them. They are not made for smaller children either as I had to place my leg on the front of my daughter’s seat to hold hers down. Had I not have done that and she sat at the back of the seat it would’ve folded in on her. Please take not of the sound system was well. Used throughout the game to introduce players or for random fan inciting; it can be quite loud to young ears.
I highly recommend going to see any minor league baseball game; it’s a great way to spend time with the kids for a small amount of money. Plus it has all the thrills of the big leagues in your home town. My son absolutely had a blast watching the Baybears and the kids are hoping to see another one soon. Although the stadium needed some upkeep, it’s adequate for older kids. The Baybears are one of the best values out of all the minor league teams in our area and I know we’ll be back next season.
This review is based on a complimentary visit to Hank Aaron Stadium. I received no other compensation and these opinions are entirely my own.