Take Me Out to the Ball Game is a Cubs DNA series where our staff review other ball parks . Today, Caleb looks at TicketReturn.com Field at Pelicans Ballpark.
TicketReturn.com Field at Pelicans Ballpark was built in 1998 and has been the home of the Myrtle Beach Pelicans since their debut in 1999. Since their debut, dozens of future big leaguers and established stars making rehab appearances have donned the Pelican colors and have taken the field at Pelicans Ballpark. From Tom Glavine (a rehab appearance in 2008) to the 2020 MVP Freddie Freeman and Cubs greats Kyle Hendricks, Willson Contreras, Jason Heyward and Ian Happ all have called Myrtle Beach home. When you visit Pelicans Ballpark, you can look for names of your favorites on their The Road to the Show wall of fame showing every player who has ever put on a Pelicans uniform and also debuted with a Major League ballclub.
For those of you wondering "When did we have Freddie Freeman?!", the Pelicans began as a Braves affiliate in 1999 before moving to the Texas Rangers in 2011 and the Chicago Cubs in 2015.
Pelicans Ballpark is a great place to relax and watch a baseball game. Cubs Right Fielder Jason Heyward has said that Myrtle Beach was one of his favorite places to play evening baseball with the breeze from the beach blowing into right field. It also provides a great place for fans to experience the game. The Clark & Addison Grille & Picnic Area is a perfect spot to grab a bite and also feel like you're right in the middle of the action.
And we cannot forget the rich history of bat dogs who have given fans plenty to cheer about. Slider, the current bat dog, entertains fans by fetching bats and running the bases. We are definitely pro-puppers here at Cubs DNA and you'll not want to miss your chance to see Slider in action if you're ever in Myrtle Beach during baseball season.
In July, my Meetings on the Mound Podcast (shameless promo) co-host Nate Hale and I had the pleasure of interviewing some of the Front Office staff on location. We were able to speak to President and General Manager Ryan Moore, Associate General Manager Kristin Call, Director of Fan Engagement Hunter Horenstein and Sales Execution Coordinator Sammy Parnell (who will sing Take Me Out to the Ballgame if you ask nicely) and in our conversations with them it was apparent just how important fan engagement is. They host multiple events and promotions and even raced horses on the field. Has Ryan Moore said in our interview, their goal is for fans to remember their experience at Pelicans Ballpark even if fans don't remember the score or even who won that day and they don't disappoint.
Player engagement is also important to the Pelicans. The last few years the Pelicans have improved clubhouse amenities and have created a space for players to relax and feel at home. Kristen Call noted that players spend a small amount of time with the Pelicans year over year and their goal is to make that experience memorable and the Ricketts have invested to do just that. Hunter gave us a tour of the ballpark showing us the ins and outs of the ballpark including the players' clubhouse which is surprisingly spacious and comfortable especially for a Single A club.
The last leg of the tour was the Team Shop and you better believe I picked up some gear for me and Baby McBoatface.
At a time where COVID-19 makes it difficult for MiLB clubs to post revenue, merchandise sales is exceptionally important. The Pelicans have some of the best gear in all of MiLB and I would urge you to support them (and all MiLB) by picking up some great gear at their online team shop (no free ads) https://pelicans.milbstore.com/
Pelicans Ballpark is a relaxing and fan friendly place to catch a ballgame. They have quickly become my favorite Minor League club and that's thanks to the staff who work diligently to make the fan experience memorable. If you're a local or visiting Myrtle Beach, Pelicans Ballpark is a must visit. You won't regret it!