Fifth Third Field Review
Review of Fifth Third Field Rating: 4.5
by Malcolm MacMillan
- Park has received several accolades in its short history
- The Roost section is the park's most noteworthy sight
Fifth Third Field, not to be confused with the ballpark of the same name in Dayton, Ohio, opened for business in 2002 after being under construction for about 18 months. It became the new home for the Mud Hens, who’d occupied Ned Skelton Stadium between 1965 and 2001. The field has measurements of 320 feet to left field, 400 feet to center field and 320 feet to right field, and the ballpark has an official capacity of 10,300, which puts it close to the middle of International League park capacities.
The ballpark’s most notable section is The Roost, a 282-seat group area above the right field corner, which ESPN called the “Best Seats in the Minors” in 2007. But that’s not the only accolade Fifth Third Field has received in its brief existence; Newsweek called it the “Best Ballpark in Minor League Baseball” in 2002 and is placed fourth in Baseball America’s “Top 10 Ballparks in Minor League Baseball” in 2009.
The style of Fifth Third Field is eye catching; the use of bricks helps give the park a retro feel that fits in well with several of the neighboring buildings, yet the park’s amenities scream modern functionality. How well does the ballpark tie into its surroundings? The Swamp Shop team store, located in the right field corner is located on the ground floor of a historic building, while The Roost is anchored to the same building, too. The Swamp Shop is one more of the impressive International League team stores – large, bright and full of not only Mud Hens and Detroit Tigers merchandise, but also Toledo Walleye gear, recognizing the city’s East Coast Hockey League franchise.
Like many MiLB parks, Fifth Third Field has an open concourse at the top of the lower seating bowl, and second deck of seats sits directly above the concourse, just in front of the park’s suite level. From virtually anywhere you stand, it’s easy to keep an eye on the action on the field. If you enjoy watching the scoreboard, you won’t be disappointed. The team installed a modern Daktronics board in 2009 in left field, and ribbon boards along the facing of the second deck on the first and third base sides mean that scores and stats are difficult to miss.