During my trip to Myrtle Beach, I was very fortunate to have been given a tour of Ticketreturn.com Field, the home of the Myrtle Beach Pelicans. As it would turn out, I was given a private tour with two fantastic staff members, Hunter and Sara. We would take about an hour going around the stadium, seeing some of the sights and learning about the history of the Pelicans and the stadium. It was a fantastic experience and I can't thank them enough to take some time out of their busy schedule just for me. I was very fortunate to be the only person person on the tour, which allowed me to ask a ton of annoying questions, but also see some really cool stuff.
The Myrtle Beach Pelicans had their inaugural season in 1999, as an Atlanta Braves affiliate. They were with the franchise for over 10 years, then joined the Texas Rangers for 4 years. In 2015, they signed a development contract with the Chicago Cubs, and have been a Cubs farm team ever since. Their stadium, built in 1998, has been their home for their entire run.
Ticketreturn.com Field seats about 4,000, but can have a standing room capacity of 6,599. This is largely due to several picnic table sections in the outfield corners. The stadium has outfield seating, which is a bit of a rarity for minor league baseball. The bleachers in left field were not installed during the original stadium build, but were added later on.
The stadium is located in the northern part of the city, very easy to access via car and features a free parking lot. They are about a mile inland from the downtown beach area of Myrtle Beach.
During the tour, I got the chance to see the entire field, the broadcast box, and the front office. Unfortunately, we could not see the player areas due to COVID restrictions. None the less, we filled the time well as I got to see a lot of the behind the scenes areas of team operation.
Firstly, we walked around the stadium. Hunter showed me their road to the show wall, which displays plaques for every MLB player who also appeared in a Pelican uniform. Whether coming up as a minor league prospect or a veteran on a rehab assignment, they get memorialized on the wall.
We then walked by the home plate area. Hunter showed me their retired numbers section. Those numbers include:
#2: Rafael Furcal, Braves rookie of the year.
#42: Jackie Robinson. I didn't realize that when major league baseball retired Jackie's number, that extended down to the minors as well. Very cool!
#43: Bruce Dal Canton, former pitching coach and community powerhouse.
Dinger: The original batdog.
#18: Rocket Wheeler, former manager.
#46: Current manager Buddy Bailey, who won over 2,000 games. He was transferred to the then low A SB Cubs, but went back to the Pelicans after the MILB realignment prior to the 2021 season
Deuce: Their second batdog.
Next section was the beach area, along the third base line. Since they are in a beach city full of tourism, they try to tie that into the concept of the team as well. The beach area is essentially a picnic area, with tables and a private bar. It is for group outings, up to 200 people. Tucked right behind the visitor bullpen, it provides fans a unique way to take in the game at ground level.
A couple other highlights from around the stadium:
• Right field private box: A bullpen section that is right above where Pelican relievers warm up.
• Private boxes around home plate: several of which go to team sponsors, but others are open. Each one can fit about 20 people and have their own private food/drink access.
• Opening day lineups from every year since conception are mounted along the concourse, spanning the outer ring of the stadium.
All of that was fun and nice, but next came my favorite parts, seeing the inner workings of the stadium. First up was the broadcast booth. Situated in the upper area around home plate, the Pelicans have sections for a home broadcaster, away broadcaster, game day play-by-play, stadium video board, stadium sound system, and TV broadcast people. It's a surprisingly small area for that many people, as the technological developments of the last 20 years have kind of outgrown the original design of the stadium.
The black square mounted just outside the window is for their trackman system, which grabs spin rates, exit velocity, and all the other advanced metrics.
Then it was on to the front office areas. The Pelicans' main office area located in the stadium itself, sharing the outside wall along home plate. From the outside it seems like a small area, but there was a surprising amount of room on the inside. They have about 12 full time staff positions, then another 8-10 seasonal front office support people.
Along the inner wall outside the office, they had displays for some of their more famous alumni: Rafael Furcal, Bruce Dal Canton, and even a team signed jersey from their inaugural season.
I also got to meet the GM, Ryan Moore. Ryan is fairly active on twitter and a great follow: twitter.com/CaptainRMoore
A few other noteworthy highlights along the wall-
• Sign language night memorabilia
The Pelicans were one of the first baseball teams to have a themed deaf-awareness night, and had a very successful sign language jersey promotion. It was so successful, that other teams contacted them, seeking advice. This partly led to the Baltimore Orioles braille night.
• The rings:
All of the team's championship rings are housed in a case in the gift shop. Included is one from the 2016 Cubs World Champs.
I had a great time touring the Pelican's ballpark. Between this tour and the two games I got to see, it was a very comprehensive and fulfilling experience. Thanks again Hunter and company for taking the time to show me around!
I will leave you with a photo dump, all my pictures from the day!