Newman Outdoor Field     Fargo, ND
Dimensions:  LF:  318   CF:  408   RF:  314        Capacity:  4,690        Opened: 1996

Stadium Minor League History:      Northern  League        1996-present

Current Status:  Home of the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks of the Northern League (Independent)
 

What's Good:  This is a fairly typical example of the mid-1990s style of ballpark construction.  A seating area comprised of individual seats rings the infield, while a wide concourse runs behind of it with the concession areas and restrooms.  Above the concourse is a spacious press box and twelve luxury boxes, and general admission bleacher sections are at each end of the grandstand.  While the stadium's exterior is imposingly large and clad in handsome brick, the seating area inside is modest in size, with all of the 3,200 reserved seats situated between first and third and close to the field because of a relatively small amount of foul territory.  The setting for the ballpark -- on the campus of North Dakota State -- is pleasant, easy to reach, and comes with ample parking.  The stadium is also just south of the large (and similarly brick-clad) Fargodome, which is visible over the outfield fence.  While the structure of the place itself doesn't seem particularly unique, it is well-enough suited as a baseball venue that when the team's GM left to head up the Schaumburg Flyers, he patterned much of that team's new Alexian Field after the Fargo facility.  There is a decent variety of reasonably-priced concessions -- from frozen yogurt to subs to Summit Extra Pale Ale (and on tap, no less!) -- and the souvenir store is attractive and sells a wide spectrum of team merchandise.  A couple of interesting items I spied there included copies of RedHawks backstop Chris Coste's memoir of life in the Northern League titled "Hey... I'm Just the Catcher" (which includes several construction photos of the stadium), and CDs of Sioux City manager Ed Nottle's vocal stylings.  The usual parade of promotions filled the time between innings, but the PA announcer was good, sound effects were kept to a minimum, and the staff was uniformly friendly and professional.  Overall, Newman Outdoor Field is a terrific place to watch baseball, and one of my favorites of the new breed of ballparks.
 

What's Not So Good:  Very little, actually.  It's hard to fault a stadium for not being old, historic, or unusual, and this is about as good as new ballparks at this level get.  One complaint might be that it's actually too small -- the team reportedly operates at 95% capacity, so it's usually quite crowded.  And the management might want to find a new pizza vendor (the Domino's slice I purchased was dry, tepid, and flavorless).   Still, if the worse criticism I can make is that I got a bad slice of pizza, things have got to be pretty good here.
 

This Photo:    August 12, 2000     Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks vs. Sioux Falls Canaries
 

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