2. Fort Wayne TinCaps
The Fort Wayne TinCaps are the Padres Single-A minor league affiliate. The team is located in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and they play at Parkview Field. Parkview can hold a maximum of 8,100 people, and is really, really nice. It was named No. 1 in terms of Overall Minor League Ballpark Experience and was nominated for the best theme night in all of Minor League Baseball.
A website named Stadium Journey ranked the park as the 10th best sports venue in ALL OF SPORTS. On a 0-5 scale, Parkview received a 5 in food and beverage, atmosphere, fans, returns on investment, and extras. Downtown Fort Wayne was given a 4 on the scale. Some of the food at Parkview sounds absolutely delicious, as described by StadiumJourney.com:
The concourse that circumnavigates Parkview Field measures 1/3 of a mile, and you are going to need to circle the field a few times to walk off the calories you take in while sampling the incredible amount of food available here. Of course, the menu stays true to the apple theme, under the leadership of Executive Chef and Culinary Director Scott Kammerer. The clearest example of the apple’s influence on the menu can be seen at the Apple Cart, located near home plate on the third base line. The Apple Cart serves up some of the best (and biggest) desserts in baseball, including apple dumplings, apple won tons, fried apples, caramel apples, apple crisp (served in a plastic mini-helmet), and more.
The apple theme continues throughout the concourse at stands such as Manzana’s Mexican Grill (where they put apple in the mole sauce), Bases Loaded BBQ (where they put apple juice in the BBQ sauce), and Center Field Grill (where they glaze the grilled chicken with apple).
Beer options are plentiful with local choices from Mad Anthony, which has a brewery just a couple of miles down the road. You can also find more apple alcoholic beverages if you want to keep the theme going including Redd’s Apple Ale, and Angry Orchard (a gluten-free beer).
There are more gluten-free options which are listed in their game day program, and can be found at the concession stand to the third base side of home plate, and also the BBQ Cart (13 options in all).
The latest addition to the TinCaps apple-infused menu is “The Big Apple” group dessert. For $30, fans can share four helpings of Apple Crisp, four homemade Apple Dumplings, five scoops of vanilla ice cream, all drizzled with hot caramel and garnished with apple slices, served in a full-sized batting helmet. Intended to be a group dessert, many foolhardy TinCaps fans have attempted to finish this monstrosity off by themselves.
A kid’s play area is located in left field, complete with a bouncy house, climbing wall, and a slide. People are allowed to step and play in a fountain over the center field fence, especially on hot Indiana days. Compared to many minor league stadiums, Parkview’s 58 x 26 video board appears quite big. Middle of the innings are filled with entertainment, giveaways, contests, and games.
In terms of affordability, it can’t get much cheaper. Seating options are vast and tickets range from $5 to $12.50, and parking from $3-$4.
Fort Wayne is far and above the most exciting minor league team that the Padres will have, at least to open 2017. Anderson Espinoza (left), the team’s #1 prospect, will start the season in Fort Wayne. Other notable pitching names likely to start 2017 with the TinCaps include Cal Quantrill, Eric Lauer, Adrian Morejon, Jacob Nix, Austin Smith, and Logan Allen.
Chris Paddack, who the Padres acquired for Fernando Rodney, had some eye-popping numbers in 2016. In 42.1 innings with the Greensboro Grasshoppers and Fort Wayne TinCaps, he registered a 0.85 ERA while only giving up 20 hits. He also had an unheard of 71/5 K/BB percentage. However, he was removed from a start in July and ended up having to receive Tommy John surgery. Jeff Sanders of the Union Tribune stated at the time there was a 14-18 month recovery window, which points to 2018 (if all goes well) as the next time he will take the hill for Fort Wayne.
In terms of position players, SS Chris Baker (2016 17th round pick) will look to build on a successful start to his pro career, Fernando Tatis Jr., who has really impressed scouts since the Padres acquired him from the White Sox in exchange for James Shields, will possibly jump to FW some time during the 2017 season. He only turned 18 on January 2nd, though. Hudson Potts is in that category too. Speedster Buddy Reed also appears destined to be a TinCap some time in 2017.
PAGE 4 LINK BELOW