« Everything Evergreen

My favorite ballparks

by Chris Conley

EVERYTHING EVERGREENS (FOX SPORTS WAUSAU-WSAU) There are some ballparks that I like, and some that I don't.

Simon Field, home of the Evergreens, falls right in the middle. Its' standard... a little too standard. The field itself plays well. Pitchers appreciate the extra foul territory. Batters have a pretty good hitting background. The permanent spectator tables and the landscaping behind the Simon Field marker are nice features. On the negative site, the dugouts are falling into disrepair, and the press box along the third-base line offers a poor view of the field and has become somewhat run-down.

The Evergreens will visit my two favorite ballparks this week.

On Tuesday we'll be in Stevens Point at Bukolt Park. I like everything about this field. The view of the Wisconsin River beyond the outfield fence is spectacular. The playing surface itself, which is heavily used, is perfectly groomed. The press box is the most spacious in the league. The bleachers are slightly elevated and give fans a great view. And the SPASH athletic department are always good hosts for their out-of-town guests. This is one of the best baseball experiences in the state.

On Thursday we're scheduled to play at the "other"Athletic Park in Merrill. This is a great neighborhood park with the same historic stone-work that's seen in Wausau. (The two ballparks were built at the same time as depression-era public works projects.) The renovations were very well done, including the new press box and concession stand. Last year when the Evergreens played here it was such a night day that I set up my broadcast equipment on a picnic table behind home plate and called the game from there. My only complaint is that this used to be a very big playing field. Id like it even more without the pulled-in outfield fences.

If you've never seen a game at Bukolt Field or Merrill's Athletic Park, both are only a short drive away.

Getting to visit my two favorite baseball places in the same week is a treat. Coming home with two wins would be even nicer.

Chris Conley