Showing posts with label Accessibility Review. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Accessibility Review. Show all posts

Sunday, July 16, 2017

SunTrust Park

Date of Visit: July 14, 2017

Since a new ballpark opened, we had to go to the ballpark for a family vacation this year. We choose the game based on when the Dbacks were in town. Interestingly, the Dbacks ended up in town for Mom’s birthday, which was the same time we did Atlanta on our 2009 ballpark trip and we had even gotten her a ticket to join us that game, but she didn’t due to work and joined us in St. Louis for a game instead.

We ended up parking in Lot 29, which is what I repurchased for parking when I bought the tickets. When I was buying tickets I couldn’t find any parking map that had the same labels as the online ticket system so I kind of had to guess what seemed the closest. This isn’t the closest, but it wasn’t too bad of a walk up the hill and over the bridge to the ballpark. Also, when we were walking out of the parking lot they asked if we wanted the shuttle, so it doesn’t seem difficult to utilize that service if needed at least to get to the park (not at all sure about the after game logistics of that).

The gates were open when we got there and we tried to go in like everybody else in the middle ones and they told us we had to go over to the media entrance with the wheelchair. That’s fine, but the real problem is we get there and only one person gets to go in with him. So I then had to go back to where there was now lines of five to ten people at every gate. Nats park sometimes does it like that, too, but they specifically only send one person with the wheelchair. Also, I know for a fact a person in a wheelchair had just been allowed through the metal detector entrance instead of going around, so it’s certainly not a consistent or fair process and they are way too far into the season for any excuse to the total confusion for the entrance experience.

Once inside the way we came in there are steps down to the concourse. There is also a ramp to the left, which we used to get down, as well as elevators, but the elevator lobby is before they scan your tickets and when you come in it looks like it’s only for those going to suites, although we used them later to get to our seats and they really seem to be for general use.

We walked all the way around the main concourse before heading up to our seats. Overall we found it felt too small and crowded. That may partially have been because it was a Friday fireworks and bobblehead game, so a lot of people were there and there early. However, it really is nowhere near as wide a concourse as say like Nationals Park, which also can be crowded at times but it takes many more people to do it. Also, there are a lot of lines for team stores taking up space, which were almost Opening Day type bad that we never even went into the big team store and just got our bat and ball at the little shop by our seats in Section 339.

The one thing that we liked about the main concourse was the monument area, which seems to basically be some of the stuff from the museum that was a separate admission thing in Turner Field. It is kind of nice that it is now accessed as really a feature of the ballpark, but then it ends up more crowded and it’s kind of more like walking through the numbers at Yankee Stadium except it isn’t manned (or even have signs) to make it so that traffic flows in just one direction, which it appears is how it is designed to be done.

Overall our impressions of SunTrust Park were that it’s not a better ballpark and in fact worse. However, the actual view and seats were as good if not better, so at least the actual game experience is still good. Of course, it would’ve been better if the Dbacks won, but at least it was a close game the whole time.

Of course, Mik was happy they had cupholders for each spot in the wheelchair row. It even gets a bonus on the cupholder rating because the folding chairs in the wheelchair row also have one on them.

Destination Info:
SunTrust Park
755 Battery Avenue Southeast
Atlanta, GA 30339

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Accessibility Review: Nationals Park Section 320

Date of Visit: June 14, 2016

Ever since Dad's been working at the Capitol, we've mostly picked the games to go to based on when they do group tickets. This time Dad noticed that the Cubs were in town and the Tuesday game was $1 ice cream, so he asked me if I wanted to go on Sunday when they were doing group tickets or go on our own Tuesday. Since Mik was interested and a night game was more appealing to me summer weather wise, we got tickets for Tuesday.

First thing Mik really liked about going to the game was that we now live in walking distance of Nationals Park and don't have to deal with the crowded Metro (or potential delays...).

Mik thought the view from section 320 was great because you could see the whole field easily. However, he did not like that it was in the sun until about an hour into the game. Next time he wants to get seats on the 300 level on the third base side.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Accessibility Review: Nationals Park Section 201

Finally planned ahead enough to get tickets on the other side of the park, although still didn't manage to be able to get Gallery Level despite trying during presale (couldn't get anything) and as soon as all Opening Day tickets went on sale. It was a toss up on whether it was the way to go as Opening Day can sometimes be on the cooler side and being on the sunny side of the park in our usual choice in Right Field Terrace can be good. However, it ended up being very nice Opening Day weather in the 70s and being on the shady side worked out good.

Mik has now declared this section as his favorite as you can see the whole field (part of right field is obstructed from Right Field Terrace) and you can also see the scoreboard easier. Still noisier speaker wise than Right Field Terrace, but not bad like when we sat on the Field Level concourse for Opening Day last year.

The cup holders were even more convenient for him in this section as they are at about his knee level rather than being almost on the ground.

The only thing that makes Right Field Terrace still preferable other than it being much cheaper is that no one can crowd around you there as that area has the wheelchair seating separated from the concourse as well as the rest of the section. Section 201 is like most other wheelchair sections in that it is at the top of the section and on the concourse. Not that big of a deal and certainly was not as crowded as Field Level, but it is kind of nice that you don't have to worry much about getting in and out of your spot the way the section is in Right Field Terrace, which is one of the reasons Mik is glad he didn't decide on his powerchair for this game (mainly was about the crowds on the Metro, though).

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Accessibility Review: Nationals Park Section 230

On Monday, June 30, Mik and I went to the Rockies @ Nats game because it was Bryce Harper bobblehead day.  It was Mik's first experience taking his power chair to Nationals Park and he did great other than he really needs work on his backwards driving skills for navigating the Metro, especially the elevators, but I'm sure after a few more months of living here he'll get the hang of it.

Since we got there before they opened up the all the sections, we spent some time in the outfield concourse.  Mik enjoyed checking out the heights of the pitchers that they have on the one parking garage.  Also, we are looking forward to that area becoming a team store and hoping it ends up more spacious and thus more accessible compared to the current one.

Overall Mik liked the seats in Section 230.  Of course, any ballpark with cup holders makes him happy even though these are a little low for him to easily use himself.  The view is good other than some of deep right field is obstructed.  The main thing he didn't like is that it is in the sun and it was a somewhat hot and humid day.  However, the fact that the speakers aren't nearby and it is thus quieter than sitting in the concourse sections makes him still prefer this area over the others we have tried before.  Plus, these seats are almost the cheapest possible (actually, were the cheapest when I got around to buying tickets the day before the game).

Next time, I think I will try to get the actual cheapest over in the upper outfield gallery because those are on the shady side.  Also, maybe next time Mik will actually get around to trying some ballpark food besides the Boardwalk Fries because yet again that is what he wanted first and then the lines were crazy and it was hot, so we decided to go home rather than get anything else.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Accessibility Review: Wrigley Field Section 208 and Green Lot

For the Wrigley Field 100th Birthday game, I got us tickets in Section 208.  I ended up buying the tickets as part of a six game pack that was on sale before single game tickets to ensure we got tickets to the Dbacks game on April 23rd.  At the time we tried to buy parking, but they said it was not on sale until single game tickets.  Dad called back then and they still did not have parking or at least not accessible parking on sale and they took his number to call him back when it did go on sale.  We ended up with the last available accessible parking a few weeks later

The parking we got was the green lot, which is a few blocks from the park, but still very convenient.  Not anywhere near as close and nice as the parking right by the park entrance we got on the ballpark trip, but still nice to know you have a spot before heading over there, especially for such a major game.  However, the green lot is just dirt.  There are no actually spaces, but they didn't say anything about Dad leaving a huge area between the truck and the car they said for him to park back up right next to.  Rather disappointing parking situation after knowing they have good lots, but there is hope for the parking lot in the future because it is also clearly marked as being under construction.

Section 208 has much less hope, though. Mainly we didn't like the section because you cannot see the scoreboard, which is our favorite part of Wrigley. Also, the seats are not raised up more than the normal step between rows, so Mik couldn't see anything once people started standing up for the pregame ceremony.  This issue is made more annoying by the fact they have a bunch of TV screens there and they were just showing ads.  At least at Nats park for Opening Day when we couldn't see the scoreboard the TV screens there showed the pregame stuff even though the view of it was not actually obstructed.

Next time I will pay more attention when getting wheelchair seats at Wrigley and pay the extra for those ones up another level and behind home plate as while they were the most expensive on the ballpark trip they are totally worth it for an enjoyable game experience.

We will give them some credit for having cup holders for all spots in this area, which is good because while the rest of the 200 sections have cup holders I think there are still some regular sections closer to the field that don't have cup holders..  Also, the ushers are good at paying attention and bringing out the chairs for the companions.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Accessibility Review: Nationals Park Section 141

For Opening Day 2014 we ended up with tickets in section 141.  I would have preferred to be up a level, but certainly better than when Mom and I had seats one row from the top for the Opening Day six years ago when they opened Nationals Park.  Also, good seats considering we only finally decided to go to Opening Day versus another game while in DC this weekend and this game ended up being a sellout with the second highest Opening Day attendance for this park.

The main downsides to this section are you cannot see the scoreboard because you are under it and you cannot see plays that happen deep in the outfield in front of you.  However, they do have TV screens showing the game, which are nicely placed sideways instead of straight in front of you. Thus, they are not obstructing the view, but are still easy to look over at.

Mik was of course happy with the section because there were cup holders.  The section had a standing view are behind it, but it was nicely separated and you did not feel crowded even though the concourse was very busy and we were on the end of the row.

Overall section 141 was good, but I still like the view of the park best from the right field terrace level (sections even numbers between 222 and 236) and in particular 224. Maybe, I'm biased just from having sat there so many times when I had partial season tickets during the park's inaugural season, but I have sat in 236 and in left field mezzanine level (203 I think) and 224 remains my favorite.

Mik also said he preferred the view from 224 at least based on his remembering it from the brief few minutes we sat in 224 before getting to go to the Diamond Club on the ballpark trip.  Also, Mik found the speakers in 141 to be too loud and they really bothered him before the game when they are constantly on. I remember him having that issue a few years back at Chase Field.  Both times those were seats on the main level covered concourse area and I don't think he would have a problem with the open area upper levels like 224 is.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Accessibility Review: Turner Field Section 229/231

Chipper Jones #10On June 28, 2013, we went to the Dbacks @ Braves game.  Mik wanted to go to the game as soon as he found out that the one time the Dbacks were in town at the new closest MLB ballpark for us (4 hours vs. when we were only 2 hours from Phoenix) was also when they were retiring Chipper Jones jersey (only one of Mik's favorite players that was never a Dback or a pitcher).  I put off getting the tickets for awhile since we did not know our flights for our Disney Cruise until late April.  Once I knew we would be back in barely more than enough time to get to Atlanta for the game I found the game sold out when I went to the regular online ticket buying, but when I clicked the accessible link and went through the chat process to purchase there were still wheelchair seats with the best available being in 229.

No Cup Holder
Not sure if the seats have been changed throughout the park since 2009 or it is just the 200 level, but they now have seats that can be folded and swung to the side out of the way every two or three spaces for the accessible rows.  That seems to be an improvement, but sadly still no cup holders and it is annoying with the regular seats in that section having them.
View from 229/231

The view from our seats was not bad, but the scoreboard was partially blocked.  Mostly that did not matter, but during the Chipper Jones number retiring ceremony it was annoying to not be able to see what was going on on the field due to only seeing the bottom half of the scoreboard.  Since the row is raised up a good amount from the section, heads do not get in the way, but it also leads to it being mainly just an obstructed scoreboard view for the accessible row.  They attempt to fix this problem with television screens, but the one in our section was not on and there was nothing they could do about it (or even say that it was broken).  What is really sad is now that I look at the ballpark map, I believe we got seated in 231 and not our ticketed section of 229 and that TV worked.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Accessibility Review: Champion Stadium

Champion StadiumTonight we went to see the Nationals play the Braves at Champion Stadium located at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World.  We were staying at Disney World, so we could have taken the bus transportation they offer from resorts to the ESPN Wide World of Sports, but Mik does not particularly like riding on buses and there can end up being a bit of waiting for them at times.  Thus, we drove from the resort and parked at the complex, which is at least free, although you can pay $20 for valet.  The lanes are clearly marked for disabled parking as you enter the parking area, however, there are not that many rows of actual handicap spots and like our Disneyland experience they always seem to be full and it is just a close to park/tram section of the parking lot.  Since we need the handicap space to be able to unload Mik, we just parked between two spots like we normally do when handicap spots are full.

Champion Stadium
For the game we sat in section 104 along the first base foul line.  The wheelchair rows are nicely marked on the ground for each spot.  The ushers are good about bringing out chairs as needed.  They only allow you to buy one companion ticket and oddly our ticket for the row in front was for a space on the opposite end of the row and not right in front like we thought because the bleacher row starts with 1 on the right and the wheelchair row behind it starts with 1 on the left.  It did not end up mattering, though, as they had no problem bringing us two chairs and sitting together.  It is nice they enforce the one companion spot for the wheelchair rows while also being flexible to allow you to sit together on gameday when it is not crowded.

Champion Stadium
Overall, though, Mik quickly rated the accessibility low.  Mainly he did not like that the handicap section was not raised more than the typical row above the regular seating.  This meant that his view was easily blocked when people sat in that row.  Of course, he also did not like there being no cup holders, but that is something lacking at even some major league regular stadiums, especially when you sit in the bleacher sections.

Most annoying to him, though, was when there was a bunch of fireworks after the National Anthem.  He was totally ready for potential ones to go with rockets red glare, but he was pissed when there was a mini show of mostly really noisy fireworks after the anthem.  Between that and it being a somewhat windy and chilly evening, his opinion was tainted a little more than normal, so I think his low rating is not as low as he made it seem, although it really does make a big positive difference in enjoyment when the wheelchair seating at the top of a section is raised up more.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Accessibility Review: Marlin's Park

Marlins ParkAfter seeing the Nationals lose to the Marlins at Marlins park on Monday, May 28, 2012, we can again say that we have seen a complete game at every current MLB ballpark.  This time we should stay current for quite a while as even if Oakland ever does get their new stadium it is probably 5 years away.

I have pretty mixed feelings about the whole Marlins experience.  The first thing that really annoyed me is their website info before tickets were released for the season gave a number to call for wheelchair seats and when Dad called on the day tickets went on sale they said go buy them online.  Yes, in fact I was able to end up buying them online, but I was not pleased with ending up with crappy printed tickets and still having to pay for that as a delivery option on top of the fact they charge a convenience fee per ticket (it sure is not convenient when online was the second way we tried to buy the darn tickets!).

We did have success turning them in for real tickets at no charge for my ticket collection at the box office today, but I am further annoyed at them referring us online and wasting our time when we first called for tickets because the A to Z guide at the game says to call the number for the tickets.  That just makes it totally confusing, so I do not know if they decided online does not work or if they are back to selling the handicap sections over the phone along with the online option.

The Marlins parking also ended up annoying me.  I pre-purchased the parking pass with the tickets.  I am overall glad I did, as most of the garages had signs saying parking only for prepaid passes.  No parking was open when we ended up there at 9:30 a.m. because the last hours of driving to Miami took less time than expected.  Not being open at 9:30 a.m. for 11:40 a.m. gate opening is not an issue, but what is an issue is by the time we had driven around the ballpark all the parking garages were opened except the Home Plate one where we had our pass for.  We waited about 15 minutes before deciding to just go waste an hour at a nearby Target.  It ended up being a better option, as we still got to the park 15 minutes before gates opened, but it was frustrating that nothing says when the garages open and the different garages have at least a 20 minute difference in opening time.

Marlins Park
There was one good thing about the parking, though.  We already had the handicap tag up when we pulled up to the the first traffic director and they noticed the tag and directed us to the far left lane and notified the person up ahead to direct us to the handicap parking area.  It was nice that they were observant and we did not have to ask where handicap parking like Dad usually does.  The parking is also quite roomy, which is good for speed demon Mik as seen in the photo.

Getting into the park was also somewhat confusing, but not too bad.  We ended up going in the 3rd Base Gate, which clearly said elevator access.  When we got to elevator and he saw we were sitting in the upper level, he said we could have gone in at the home plate suite entrance since the 3rd base elevator only goes to main concourse and we had to walk to get home plate one up to the upper area. I had noticed the handicap entrance sign by the suite entrance, but it made it seem like that was handicap entrance for the suites only.  Actually, it is for suite access along with those needing the elevators, as the elevators are right inside.

Marlins Park Not a big deal to end up on the main concourse and then go up again at the other elevator, though, as the main concourse is worth checking out at least for the bobblehead museum, which is not far from the home plate elevators.  Also, the entrance near 3rd base is kind of interesting with the Marlins letters in a buried sand style along the path.  The other nice thing about the elevators is that they are all controlled access to, so they not only direct people to the nearby escalators to reduce the amount using them, but also they manage what levels they are called to help more efficiently keep it flowing.
Marlins Park

Overall once we were in the park, Marlins park was good.  The staff was very helpful in directing, except when we actually got to our section.  Just like at the old ballpark there was no one there to help figure out where to sit, which is kind of annoying because the wheelchair section just has a bunch of folding chairs and no numbers anywhere to designate where your seats are.  Sure, you can count the seats and try to figure it out, but it is confusing with some seats ending up being pushed aside for wheelchairs and not actually being removed.  It worked out fine, but it could easily be confusion and moving around as the section did end up filling up and it seemed just luck that no one ended up needing to rearrange despite figuring out later that we totally counted wrong for our actual seat numbers.

Marlins Park
We sat in section 309.  The view of the whole field was good.  At first Mik was like I cannot see first base, but he was at least foot from the bar.  I told him he was being silly and if he just pulled up so he actually could reach the cup holder (first thing he looks for anyways) he would also see the whole field.  Overall the section was great, but Mik did get lost when he zoomed ahead of Dad on the way back from the bathroom (found companion one right by home plate elevator on our level).  It is a little odd that the access to the handicap row and the lower rows of the section are kind of hidden behind the stairs to the upper rows, but what really happened was a guy was standing in the way and a concession stand is right there, so he missed noticing it the first time he went past.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Accessibility Review: Chase Field Section 140

To celebrate the last day of school Dad decided we should go to a Dbacks games, especially since we have not been to one this season. We ended up sitting in the wheelchair row in section 140. It is located behind left field and while you cannot see the scoreboard it does provide a good view of the field and we like this section and the others next to it.

I am not sure if we have ever sat specifically in this section, as Mik was surprised that we did not exactly have the typical ballpark seats, but rather the companion seats were bleacher style. It is actually kind of cool that they are set up that way because it blends in with the rest of the section being bleachers. The only problem with the set up was that we had the end of the section and the wheelchair spot is next to that seat and no way to get out without Mik having to back entirely out of his space. Probably would have been more annoying with the manual chair, as at least with the power one he could back himself out when told it was clear behind him.

This was Mik's first ball game with his power chair. He has not gotten much of a chance to get used to maneuvering it in crowds, so it was good it was a midweek game with somewhat low attendance. He did great and it was a good move towards getting him to at least be ready to give it a shot for parts of Disney World next week. That may not work out well, but at least he is now more comfortable with it and will use it when we go to the new Marlins ballpark on Monday.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Accessibility Review: Section 434 at Miller Park

View from Section 434 Miller ParkView from Section 434 Miller Park

For the July 6, 2011 Dbacks @ Brewers game we sat in the wheelchair row in section 434.  It was much better than where we had sat for the ballpark trip.  It is in the highest section, but you at least can see the whole field as well as the scoreboard.

Section 434 Miller Park

Mik, of course, approves of them as being good seating because they have cup holders.  However, they fill the section with folding chairs and there are no ushers around to take them out of the way.  Thus with the sold out wheelchair section situation there ended up being quite a few chairs in the way of the walkways to the rest of the section.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Accessibility Review: Target Field

Target Field
Mik had high expectations for this ballpark with it being new and he was not disappointed.  We did not do parking, so not sure how the parking garages are set up, but walking from the Hyatt (about a mile) to the ballpark worked out very well.  Supposedly, you can get everywhere around this area of Minneapolis through the Skyway, but we walked on the Street Level.  It is nice that when you approach on 6th Street you end up walking over the freeway on the nice Target Plaza that connects Target Center and Target Field.

Previous Minneapolis BallparksHarmon Killebrew at Target FieldHall of Fame Outside Target Field

Target Plaza includes some statues of great Twins players such as Harmon Killebrew and Kirby Puckett.  Interestingly, they also have concession stands out here that were open before the gates opened, although you cannot leave the park and come back in during game I do not think.  From the plaza you can only walk around to the left or so we were told (map looks like you can maybe cut through parking garage to Gate 3).  It is definitely worth going around the park at least until you get to the Team Shop corner, as around here the walls across from the park have the Twins Hall of Fame.  There is also a cool memorial that shows the history of ballparks in Minneapolis. 

Outside Target Field

From here there is not much reason to keep going around the ballpark unless you want to enter at a gate closer to your seats, although the side opposite Target Plaza does have some fun old baseball card style banners of former Twins players.

The first thing we did when we could go in the ballpark two hours before the game was go to the Team Store.  We barely ventured in, but were able to get a mini bat and ball, as well as get over to the penny smashing machine.  However, getting through the checkout line was sort of a pain with the wheelchair.  The dividers are placed too close together to fit, but at least they are movable.  We had to keep moving them to get by and then we would wind back and have to move them again, so the next wheelchair going through would still have to arrange as they went through.  The worst is once you check out, it is hard to get out with there being like no room to get past others checking out.  Thus you have to wait for them to be done and at the same time you are holding up the line because registers open up and people cannot get past you to them.  Bottom Line is Mik recommends skipping the Team Shop and hitting one of the several little souvenir kiosks out on the concourse, as they seemed to have most of the same stuff, which sometimes is not the case.  The Team Shop mainly seems to only have a wider selection of apparel.

Cup Holder at Target Field

For the game we sat in section 129, which is part of the Right Field Bleachers.  The view of the field was great, but you cannot see the scoreboard at all.  However, they do have televisions mounted here, which is kind of cooler, especially when they played other games going on around the MLB during the rain delay (played on scoreboard, too).  Mik likd the seats because they were way above the section, so no possibility of someone tall standing up and blocking the view.  What he really loved, though, was that there were cup holders for the handicap section, which the rest of the bleachers do not get.

Wheelchair Seats at Target Field

Mik did not entirely enjoy the section, though, because the standing room only divider is just a blue line painted on the ground and the game had a lot of standing room people.  Most respected the rules, but without a rope or some sort of real divider who can blame them for inching forward.  However, it is not okay when they ended up being right behind us, especially when one guy ended up spilling his beer onto the girl next to us and then proceeded to yell into our ears and touch us to try to get us to join his stupid yelling to get the attention of the Brewers outfield that he was actually a fan of when the game was going on.  Dad got him to go away and customer relations later even offered us hot dogs, which we did not want, but were happy they were doing their job and trying their best to have everyone enjoy the game.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Accessibility Review: Land Shark Stadium

Parking at Land Shark Stadium was easy. It does take a little driving around it to the one open gate for parking because they do not open it all up for a baseball game, but it is not hard to spot the open gate. The handicap parking is located pretty close, although you do still have to cross the main in and out traffic lane for the parking lot to get to and from the spots and the stadium. It really is a poor design to have the traffic lanes go around the stadium in front of the parking spots. It makes it dangerous for anyone to cross the car traffic to get to their car as well as making it hard for people in wheelchairs to be able to just fit between the cars often stopped too close together.

Actually entering the stadium was easy. The main reason was there were absolutely no crowds. This meant it was easy to go on the elevator without having people that do not need it trying to hog the elevator. They also have a person outside the elevator after the game making sure priority goes to those that really need it. This is great because really few besides those with wheelchairs, strollers, or walkers should need the elevator because right there is a short escalator out of the park. All the seating is on the lower level except for suites and football games. Also, to get just to the level of all the seating you do need the elevator/escalator and it is not avoidable like it is for many parks if you sit on the lower level.

We sat in section 125. The seats were pretty good. The view was great from centerfield. The bar in front was not a problem at all. The seats are also raised up in front and pushed back from the row in front, so that the view is not ever blocked by people standing in the row in front of the wheelchair section. This is due to their being a ramp up to the section right in front of the section. This ramp makes the section sort of its own and keeps it from having the general section traffic ending up crowding it, which is an issue at many ballparks. Mik also liked that each spot had a cup holder.

The only issue I had with the wheelchair section was that they only sell you one companion seat next to the wheelchair spot. The other ticket is for what they say is the row behind the wheelchair row, but technically that does not exist. There was not usher to explain, but I am pretty sure this supposed row 29 ends up being folding chairs behind the wheelchair row. Boy would that be a messy traffic jam trying to get in and out of the section during the game if there were even just a few families in the section that had people in the supposed extra companion row behind us. As it was, though, it was no issue because we were the only ones in the section. We just took a set of two permanent seats with a wheelchair space next to it in the wheelchair row.

Overall Land Shark Stadium is a rather blah one for baseball, but it is pretty good accessibility wise. Even Mik felt strong enough about the accessibility to tell me after the game to make sure I said in the accessibility review that it is not a good baseball experience stadium, but it is a great accessibility experience. Of course, the really low attendance and lack of crowds helps with the accessibility working out good, but even with crowds the elevator situation should still be under control. I only think the companion row could cause a real issue for crowded games. Hopefully, the new Marlins Ballpark that is to open in 2012 can maintain and even improve the accessibility experience. It would be very sad if the ballpark improved the baseball experience and took a step backwards in accessibility.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Accessibility Review: Tropicana Field

Parking at Tropicana Field is pretty easy and it sure is plentiful with it all around the park. The handicap spots were easy to locate sort of near the main entrance to the park. The nice thing is that they really enforce that the spots are legally being used. They had police actually checking everyone’s license plates and placards. For the placards in particular they were doing a lot of checking ids to match them up, I guess, but since Mik is still a minor they did not ask for an id just made sure he was in the car since we were using his placard.

Getting into Tropicana Field got quite crowded in the little plaza between bag check and the actual doors to the ballpark. We ended up in a line that was on the far edge that was supposed to be only for season ticket holders, however, they did not announce that until the crowd got ridiculous and there was no way we could have navigated to the back of the growing longer other lines with the wheelchair. Note we were also around to the side of the building in line and you cannot tell it is labeled for Season Ticket Holders until you get around to almost the entrance. Anyways they did not say anything about us trying to get in and it was not actually an issue, but technically they can enforce the policy if they feel like it (they do not ever seem to, though, even with it being a crowded Yankees game), so it might just be better to not end up stuck in the farthest right line.

We entered the park on the level that at many parks where they have their inaccessible to the public tunnels. Basically you are under all the stands and at field level. Thus to get to any section at all you have to go up an elevator or escalator. The elevator was not too hard to find and because the escalators were literally also right there only those that needed it seemed to use it. After the game it did take forever for it to finally arrive, but there were at least ushers outside of it making sure only those that needed it ended up on it.

The view from our seats in section 321 was good. The only obstruction was the bars to the right of the section, which slightly got in the way of seeing the home plate area if you did not look at the right angle. It was at least something I could deal with. The accessible row is at least raised a good enough amount about the row in front that those standing up did not get in the way. Only thing Mik did not like was that they did not have any cup holders, although the other regular rows also did not have cup holders, so at least he did not feel discriminated against.

Overall Tropicana Field is not too bad of an indoor park even though it is a dome. The accessible seating is at least the best of the domes. It is not perfect, but it is among the better ballpark set ups. Mik really does not like not having a cup holder, but at least the view was good if you were not on the end next to the bar hand rails for those going to rows in front.