Stadium Review: Canal Park of the Akron Aeros
- Updated: March 6, 2009
Canal Park can already be considered a rare ballpark these days simply because of its name. It is named Canal Park because it is right next to the canal in downtown Akron, Ohio, not because a company named Canal bought the rights to the park. Since 1997, Canal Park has been a staple of downtown Akron. Akron received the stadium when the Cleveland Indians decided to move their AA affiliate due to a dilapidated stadium. The Akron/Canton Indians as they were called (even though their location was much closer to Canton than Akron) now had a new home and a new name: the Aeros.
The Aeros’ park was built in the same mold as the modern yet old school looking stadiums that were popping up across the country at this time. Complete with a classic brick exterior, Canal Park provides the perfect atmosphere for Akronites looking for a night on the town.
During the 2006 season, the Aeros brought in what was then the largest scoreboard in the minor leagues, which has since been surpassed by many clubs. That was the one true update that fans could see needed to happen due to the fact that the Aeros still had the same scoreboard from the 1997 season and many of the individual lights did not work any longer.
The concourse is an above average size for this type of an organization and the Aeros offer three different spots that groups can rent out for parties before games.
The team shop rivals many of those at the AA level and provides an array of merchandise for all ages with a very large section geared towards kids. The shop also offers some Indians merchandise as well as a number of minor league hats from other teams across the country.
There is a speed pitch machine that runs for one dollar starting as soon as the gates open until around the seventh inning just beyond the bleachers in right field. This inexpensive activity draws long lines of kids throughout the contest as youngsters try to see how fast they can throw.
Also past the bleachers in right field is an area where fans have a great look at the bullpens. During games, fans frequently toss programs or balls down to pitchers who are waiting to have their number called in the pen and receive autographs when they are tossed back up to them.
The suites are surprisingly nice and rival some at the big league level. While some suites are larger than others, each is sponsored by a traditional Akron company, such as one of the rubber giants, and is themed towards that corporation’s history. The organization’s mascot, Orbit, makes a scheduled appearance to the suites during every game.
The press box is not very exciting. While the organization usually treats the press well with free food, their accommodations are not extravagant. When considering that they usually only have one media member there though, this isn’t such a big deal.
There truly isn’t a seat in the whole park that has a bad view of the action and some fans actually prefer sitting in the bleachers due to the view one receives from there. Asides from the bleachers, all other seats are individual folding chairs and the entire stadium seats about 9,000.
With tickets at just $10, Canal Park creates an affordable atmosphere for many players. Parking is usually not a hassle either as there are many lots located directly across the street from the stadium. There are also many bars and eateries within walking distance of the park if spectators want to grab a bite to eat before hand or go out for drinks after taking in a game.
Minor League Stadium Grade: 4.5/5
Overall Stadium Grade: 4.25/5
Bill Jordan is a contributor to BaseballReflections.com. He can be reached by e-mail at BillJordaniv@yahoo.com.