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Affordable Baseball: The Greenville Drive
A Visit to Fluor Field - "Little Fenway Park"
Earlier this baseball season, my two sons and I attended a minor league baseball game in Greenville, South Carolina. The local minor league team in Greenville is known as the Greenville Drive and they are part of the Boston Red Sox organization. The Drive plays at the single A level.
If you ever get the chance to visit this park, you must go. We had a great time! Of course, part of that has to do with the fact that I like baseball. In fact, I love baseball! Now let me clarify that somewhat. I am not a big fan of watching major league baseball on television. I do that occasionally but it is just not the same. What I really enjoy is either going to my youngest son's games or attending minor or major league games in person.
I have been to major league games at Camden Yards in Baltimore, Turner Field in Atlanta, and Fenway Park in Boston. They all have appeal of some sort. Camden Yards had great food and Turner Field does not have a bad seat anywhere. Fenway Park has its charm and I had a blast in the bleacher seats! I've been to some minor league games and parks as well.
So, what makes a minor league team in Greenville, South Carolina worth seeing? The bottom line is that the City of Greenville and Fluor along with other corporate partners did it right. The Greenville Drive play at what is known as Fluor Field. Fluor is a major industry in Greenville delivering engineering, procurement, construction, maintenance, and project management services to their clients. Fluor is a major corporate partner of the Drive. Fluor did not commit half-heartedly and neither did the City of Greenville or any of the other corporate partners. The team and the ballpark were seen as major investments in the City of Greenville and that investment is paying off big time.
First, getting there is easy once you are in Greenville. The park is located in the West End on South Main Street near the downtown area. Parking is convenient and reasonably priced. I think I paid $5 to park in a lot that was literally right across the street from the stadium. We did not buy tickets in advance and probably should have. However, I only paid $18 for three tickets. It was nearing a sellout the night we went and we had to sit along the right field line but the seats were still good ones. I thought concessions were reasonably priced and there was some free entertainment for the younger crowd. My youngest son enjoyed testing his pitching speed on an exhibit just inside the entry gate. The venue itself is new, clean and very well-maintained. The employees that run the park and work there do a great job of providing entertainment between innings and during other breaks and it is truly good, clean fun. There is an electronic scoreboard but in keeping with the fact that the park is a replica of Fenway, there is also a manual scoreboard complete with a real scorekeeper working behind the Green Monster to keep the score. Of course, the trip was made complete with the singing of "Sweet Caroline" just like it is done at Fenway Park in Boston. We were there the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend and after the game, we were treated to a fireworks display and just like everything else at Fluor Field it was a first class presentation. After the game, we walked across the street and got in the car and traffic was dispatched quickly and we were on our way home!
If you are a Red Sox fan and particularly if you have been to Fenway Park, this is a must see if you find yourself in the Greenville, South Carolina area. If you live in South Carolina, this is a great day trip for many that live in the northwest part of the state. If you live in other areas of the state, it would be a great weekend getaway that could be combined with other Greenville area attractions. Lastly, if you are a baseball fan and find yourself traveling through South Carolina on I-85 or other routes and you are anywhere close to Greenville and have the time, stop and catch a game there if it is baseball season. You won't be disappointed!