Stadium Review: Cooper Stadium the Former Home of the Columbus Clippers
- Updated: March 17, 2009
The Columbus Clippers have had an interesting affiliation status over the last few years. They were the long standing AAA club for the New York Yankees and saw players such as Derek Jeter and Jorge Posada come through their doors, but just a few years ago, the Yankees ended their more than 30 year relationship with the team from central Ohio and moved to another organization.
This left Columbus looking for a new team to use their facilities. After a long period with arguably the most historic franchise in baseball history, the Clippers had to settle for the team with the least amount of history for a few years: the Washington Nationals. That stint didn’t last long either, however, as the Nationals’ did not agree to a long term deal with the Clippers. Luckily for the Clippers, the Cleveland Indians’ deal with their old AAA club, the Buffalo Bisons, ended in the same year as their deal with the Nationals, meaning that they could add a club and a fan base. With a new park just finished being built, and not being too far away from Cleveland, the Clippers were about to have a new tenant.
In some ways, it seems like the Clippers were forced into a new stadium. Perhaps they succumbed to the peer pressure with many other clubs on all levels getting new parks, or perhaps it was required in order to woo new team negotiations, but either way, they turned their back on a truly nostalgic ballpark when they forced their hand to get a new stadium.
For most of their existence, the Clippers played in Cooper Stadium which was located on the outskirts of downtown Columbus. (Their new stadium is located near the heart of the city.) The placement of the stadium did detract some from its looks due to the simple fact that most baseball fans have become so used to going to games in the middle of cities, that having a stadium in the outskirts of a town is now considered an oddity.
While this may be true, it doesn’t detract from the great building that it was. Everything from the stands to the concession booths to the individual ticket stands shouted old school baseball at patrons and fans alike. The stadium was no doubt showing its age, in some good ways and some bad. While it seemed that some sections may not have been open for safety reasons, the ballpark overall just gave off a feeling of simplicity that many baseball traditionalists love.
The team shop was on the grounds of the stadium, but was in its separate building down the right field line. While living in this home, the Clippers had a decent amount of merchandise, but probably not as much as most AAA teams across the nation due to the amount of space they had to use. Since they have largely been a traditional organization, with very simple logos and colors, they do not seem to do an over the top merchandising campaign, even now that they have a new home.
The stands in the old stadium had no doubt been updated since it was built, but they were not the state of the art folding chairs that the new stadium has. Baseball fans who were into the game probably would not notice that they lacked some of the comfort of the nice seating many have become accustomed to from the modern stadiums, but the children and spouses of those baseball nuts may have been a tad uncomfortable. Cooper Stadium did not features any seating in the outfield, but the seating that was provided was usually more than enough to accommodate the fans who came out to see the Clippers.
There was a station down the right field line for the children who were in attendance to burn some energy off, but it was not nearly as elaborate as those same play stations found at modernized parks.
Overall, it was probably time for the Clippers to receive a new park, but their old park was so picture perfect that it is hopefully still going to be used for baseball at some level and not just taken to the ground.
Minor League Stadium Grade: 3.75/5
Overall Stadium Grade: 3.5/5
Bill Jordan is a contributor to BaseballReflections.com. He can be reached by e-mail at BillJordaniv@yahoo.com.