Way back in 1931, a new baseball diamond opened near Columbus, Ohio. This concrete behemoth was one of the biggest diamonds in minor league baseball, and it held roughly 15,000 people, on a good day. The field was so old, in fact, that it was one of the first diamonds in America to have lights. Red Bird Stadium, Jet Stadium, Franklin County Stadium, Cooper Stadium – no matter what you called it, you knew that you were talking about Triple-A baseball in central Ohio.
Well, the years were rough on the field, and the owners realized that it either needed to be destroyed or fixed up. The concrete was deteriorating, the area around the stadium was becoming a ghetto, and the Coop was just out in the middle of nowhere. Instead of renovating the field, the owners of the Columbus Clippers, decided to move the team to a new home. Thus, Huntington Park was born.
A view of the backstop and signage at Huntington Park. Photo Credit: Robert M. Barga
Huntington Park is the current home of the Columbus Clippers, the Triple-A affiliate of the Cleveland Indians. The park, as with the team, is entirely owned by Franklin County. Huntington Park opened on April 18th, 2009 with a game against the Toledo Mud Hens, who beat the Clippers 3-1. Over 11,000 people gathered to watch that first game, resulting in the first sellout of the season.
Huntington Park is far smaller than its predecessor, at 200,000 square feet, compared to the 300,000+ square feet that the Coop occupied. The city block is so small, that the Clippers needed to get special permission to shorten the distance between home plate and the backstop. Even with the small size, the openness of the new park, along with the general layout, makes it feel bigger than it truly is.
The entire left-field side of Huntington Park is seating. You can see the Roosters On The Rood bleachers at the very top. Photo Credit: Robert M. Barga
Huntington Park has a seating capacity of 10,100 people, and it has gone past this number 15 so far this season. For those who wish to sit, there are tons of options from which they can choose. Though there are the normal boxes, club, and grandstand seats, there are also rooftop bleachers, seats along the right-field wall, and seats on balconies hanging out from the bar. For those not interested in being confined to chairs, there are picnic tables, standing tables, and even a small patch of lawn for the kids to play in. Even with all of these distinct viewing areas, the park is designed to flow, and so all of the sections sort of meld into each other.