Greensboro’s Ten Best Seats at First Horizon Park
The YES! Weekly Party Deck: We’re not real shy about shameless self-promotion here at YES! Weekly, so we’ll start off the list with our own little corner of First Horizon Park ‘— the YES! Weekly Party Deck, located in the upper deck along the third base line. From this vantage point, party-decksters sit practically atop the playing field and can enjoy a vista of the Greensboro cityscape as it unfolds behind right field. We don’t actually get to sit there every game (though we wish we could), but any clown with a credit card can rent it out by calling Todd Olsen at 336.268.2255.
The Berm: The swell of grass behind the left field wall brings to the stadium a piece of baseball’s past, before bleachers, when the game was played in pastures and fans watched from picnic blankets laid around the field. Tickets for this area are only six bucks and the lawn not only attracts great mid-afternoon sunlight but also is a prime location for home run balls. Be ready when there’s a right-handed long ball hitter facing a lefty who hangs his curve a bit too long.
Section 109, Row A, Seat 1: For dedicated pitcher-watchers, this is the best seat in the house ‘— the front row behind the plate just a bit to the right. You’re in on every pitch; you can see both on-deck circles and inside both dugouts and you’re so close to the action that you can tell which players prefer sunflower seeds to chewing tobacco. If you watch closely you can follow the optical illusion that is a curveball or be amazed at the heat some of these guys can throw.
The lower concourse in right field: At the Marlins exhibition game every inch of the stadium was packed with bodies except for this nook behind the right field corner. They’ve got tables and chairs set up and you can watch the opposing team’s pitchers warm up right there. I was back there with the family at the Marlins game for like an hour and a half, during which time two balls were hit back there by power lefties.
The press box: Not every arena gives the best seats to the working press, but in the new stadium the members of the media command an almost Trump-like view of the diamond from the upper deck, right behind home plate. From this height you can see the game for the chess match that it is ‘— outfield shifts, hit-and-run signals and subtle manipulations of infield positioning are more evident up here than anywhere else. Remember, there’s no cheering in the press box, and also that you can’t go in there unless you’re a member of the press. They check.
Section 104, Row C, Seat 3: Stealing an idea from the grande dame of ballparks, Wrigley Field, Greensboro architect Kenneth Mayer placed the batters box so close to the good seats that you’ll think you can reach out and grab the batter’s shirttail. If you’re a real baseball fan you’ll like the proximity because you can see the players’ faces, watch their eyes and see how they grip their bats. And if you’re the surly, drunken type, you should know that this is the best spot in the stadium to heckle the opposing team.
The First Horizon Luxury Suite:Purchasing the naming rights to the stadium also gets you a sweet-ass luxury suite on the upper deck behind first base. At the end of the row of big-spender cubbyholes, First Horizon’s crib has two windowed walls that look out onto the park and the lower concourse. This is perhaps the best people-watching spot in the entire joint, and if you’re lucky enough to score an invite up there you’ll be hooked up with food and drink as well.
The couch: I don’t know why nobody ever thought of this before: a couch in a baseball stadium. The black upholstered piece of furniture, donated by Grasshoppers sponsor Sofa Express, has four seats that recline fully, each with its own drink holder. They call them ‘The Best Seats in the House’ and at every Hoppers game they will pull four fans from the outfield lawn and set them up on the sofa.
The playground and slope: A fancy-schmancy playground exists in foul territory just off the right field corner and without it I’d rarely be able to enjoy a game. My kids love the ballpark, but they don’t really give a crap about the game ‘— they’re in it for the popcorn and sno-cones and also this play area. I can bring them up there after they’ve crammed their cookie-holes full, and then run them until they beg to be put to bed. And if there weren’t netting covering the entire space, this would be a prime spot for foul balls (and also concussions).
Grandstand Box 2: Owned by Triton Management, this field-level lounging area in shallow left is the next best thing to standing on third base. I swear, it’s like you’re right on the field and there’s a beer bar right nearby. But if you ever get the chance to sit there, bring a mitt and (if you’re a spaz) a helmet. I’ve seen a pulled foul ball squash a grown man’s nose like a soft tomato.