Riverfront Stadium: Newark's Hidden Gem

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Riverfront Stadium: Newark's Hidden Gem
(Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)
For the most part, New York and New Jersey are pro sports areas.  The Giants, Yankees, Rangers, Devils, and Knicks all reign supreme.
Sure, St. John’s basketball is popular when it's good and now Rutgers football is gaining in popularity, but sports fans in New York and New Jersey love their pro sports.

So when I had the opportunity last night to go to Newark, NJ, to see the Newark Bears, I was very excited.  It’s not very often I get to see a minor league baseball game.  As a matter of fact, this was my first one.

For those of you who are not familiar with the Newark Bears, they are an independent team that plays in the Atlantic Coast League of Professional Baseball.  Independent teams don’t have an affiliation with a major league club.

One of the benefits of going to a Newark Bears game is that their roster has plenty of former major-league talent on it.  D’Angelo Jimenez, Carl Everett, Rob Mackowiak, Tike Redman, Ramiro Mendoza, Scott Williamson, Willie Banks, and Armando Benitez are all on the Newark Bears, and all have solid big league experience.

Last night, the Newark Bears played the Lancaster Barnstormers.  Here is my take on Newark Bears and Eagles Riverfront Stadium.

 

Pros

For those of you who have never been to Riverfront Stadium, you are missing out.  For an independent team stadium, this place is a gem.

Riverfront Stadium is located in Newark, NJ and is a 6,200 seat state-of-the-art stadium.  The stadium is very small, so you are right on top of the action.  You can hear the catcher’s glove pop no matter where you are sitting in the stadium, which is awesome.

As you would expect, the Stadium has a very old school baseball type feel to it with lots of advertisements in the outfield, some odd dimensions, and a brick wall in the outfield, which I loved.

Thanks to my buddy, Matt, whose client just happened to be the Bears’ team physician, we sat in one of the suites at the stadium.  For those of you who entertain clients, renting a suite for the night is the way to go.

The suites have everything you would want.  Comfortable couches, a bar, a flatscreen TV with HD, great service, and a great view of the game.  It’s really worth it if you want to entertain some clients or get a group of friends together to watch the game.

Not only is this stadium good for the business world, but it is great for families.  The game itself is very kid friendly with contests that involve the kids.  After every half inning, some type of promotion is going on.  Their mascot, Ruppert, is a kid and fan favorite as well.

 

Cons

It’s hard to pick out a con with this stadium because you know what you are getting when you walk through the door.  I know I am going to get a lot of cheesy and annoying kid stuff.  It comes with the territory.

However, there is one thing that drove me crazy throughout the game—the scoreboard.

To have a scoreboard that doesn’t tell you the batting lineup, who is pitching, or what that player has done during the game or throughout the year is frustrating to me.  As a baseball fan, I like to know these things.

It also would help considering that I didn’t know 90 percent of the players who were playing in the game.  Give me some background, or at least let me know who is pitching in the game.  That is all I ask.

 

Overall Game Experience

Overall, I was pretty impressed with Riverfront Stadium.  I would give it an eight out of ten.

On a side note to this game, the highlight of the night for me was seeing Armando Benitez come into the game in the ninth inning to try to nail down the victory for the Bears.

For old time’s sake, I was hoping Benitez would have a meltdown on the mound.  Maybe he would see the ghost of Pat Burrell or JT Snow, but alas, this was not the case.

To be honest, Benitez looked impressive as he got the side in order one-two-three to save the 5-4 win for the Bears.  Yet another experience unique to the minor leagues.

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