NBT Bank Stadium Review
Review of NBT Bank Stadium Rating: 4
by Malcolm MacMillan
- NBT Bank Stadium is the fourth-largest park in the International League
- Park boasts unique, castle-like design from outside
Syracuse’s NBT Bank Stadium opened in time for the 1997 season, giving area baseball fans a modern facility to replace the old MacArthur Stadium, which had been in use since 1934. That old ballpark sat in what is now the current park’s parking lot. The park had previously been called P&C Stadium and Alliance Bank Stadium. It adopted the NBT Bank sponsorship prior to the 2013 season. The facility holds 11,071 fans and has seating from foul pole to foul pole. NBT Bank Stadium is one of the rare minor league parks with a legitimate second deck, which provides excellent vantage points of the field and the park itself. The playing field measures 330 feet to left field and right field, and 408 feet to center field. The infield and outfield are natural grass, which was installed following the 2007 season. In the facility’s first decade, AstroTurf made up the playing surface.
The biggest baseball crowd in Alliance Bank Stadium’s history, a staggering 13,776 fans, visited the park on May 7, 2010, to watch phenom Stephen Strasburg make his debut at the AAA level. (He pitched six innings of no-run, one-hit ball while striking out six batters to get the win.)
When you park, you’ll be directed to the huge lot on your right, but after leaving your vehicle, take a walk through the players’ lot on the left. You can’t miss it and it’s a fun place to make a quick tour because you’re bound to see some nice cars. While you’re wandering the main parking lot, remember that old MacArthur Stadium once stood here. If you’re the nostalgic type, walk to the far end of the lot to imagine the old stadium and all the greats that played there.
In the home plate area of the concourse, you’ll see concession stands, the Whistlestop Souvenirs team shop, the team’s wall of fame and more. Whistlestop Souvenirs is especially interesting – in addition to a wide variety of Chiefs gear, look for the miniature train that rides the track above your head. The kids’ zone, complete with an inflatable slide and bounce castle, is located just beyond the fence in the right field corner.
As you’re walking around Alliance Bank Stadium, be sure to check out the display on the fence in right field, which recognizes the Chiefs’ pennants and league titles. To its right, there’s a display honoring former player Hank Sauer, longtime executive Tex Simone and Jackie Robinson.
I’ve watched Chiefs home games in 2010 and again in 2013 after the stadium’s name change. I get the impression that baseball in Syracuse can be a tough sell – the weather is uncooperative in the early part of the season and collegiate athletics are arguably king in this town. NBT Bank Stadium, however, is worth visiting. It’s a beautiful, modern park with ample seating choices and fun sights to see. If you’re traveling along I-90 to visit Rochester or Buffalo, make the trek a little farther east and you’ll be glad you did.