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Shaw Park / Winnipeg Goldeyes

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There's a certain type of ballpark currently in vogue in the minor leagues: a raised mezzanine packed with concession stands, with a grandstand sloping down to the playing field. There are many advantages to this layout: the mezzanine area can accommodate socializing and fans can hit the concession stands without missing any of the action. There are a host of new ballparks adopting this model. Shaw Park fits in that mold, with an expansive mezzanine level, skyboxes, and large gift shop.


FAST FACTS

Year Opened: 1999
Capacity: 6,266
Dimensions: 325L, 400C, 325R
Website: goldeyes.com
Phone: 204/982-2273
League: American Association
Previous Names: CanWest Global Park (1999-2011)
Address/Directions: 1 Portage Av. E., Winnipeg. CanWest Global Park is on the western edge of downtown Winnipeg. In general, you can follow the many signs directing you to the Forks, a popular gathering spot by the river at the edge of downtown Winnipeg.

Shawl Park benefits greatly from a prime location in an area that bridges downtown Winnipeg with the popular Forks area. But because Shaw Park was crammed into a small piece of real estate with some severe physical limitations due to an existing railroad track and the river, it is oriented slightly differently than the average ballpark. On a hot summer afternoon, the right-field seats become a rather intense sun field and it is due west between the pitcher's mound and home plate (normally it is southwest), so outfielders must contend with direct views into the sun on a sunny day. The good news is that you will roast in comfort: all 6,266 seats in the stadium have backs, arm rests, and beverage holders.

One unique feature of Shawl Park is the Batter's Eye, which is actually part of the outfield fence that features rotating panels with advertisements. The advertisements appear between innings, and they rotate back to dark green once play is resumed.

Goldeyes games tend to be low-key events. There's not the frenetic level of shtick you find at other Northern League ballparks, and this is one of the few ballparks I've visited where the ushers (oops -- fan services representatives) are charged with rousing the crowd. Goldy the Goldeye -- who basically is a yellow Youpi (guess it must be mandatory for Canadian teams to have mascots resembling Youpi) -- is usually trailed by a pack of adoring kids.

Technically, the Goldeyes have averaged more fans per game than Shaw Park holds. In cases where games are sold out, an overflow crowd is allowed into the patio area down the first-base line. This is actually a pleasant place to watch a game as long as you snare one of the picnic tables.

(One disclaimer when you look at these photos: they were taken during a preseason exhibition game and the temperatures were in the upper 40s. They are not representative of the usual Goldeyes crowds.)

CONCESSIONS
Shaw Park is a really a giant food court masquerading as a ballpark. I'd venture to say that on a square-foot basis this ballpark features the most number of concession stands of any minor-league ballpark.

In fact, I can't imagine an appetite that can't be quenched by one of the many food stands at Shaw Park.

For starters, there is standard ballpark fare like hot dogs, jumbo dogs, smokie dogs (recommended!), hamburgers, pork on a bun, nachos, corn dogs and fries (gravy extra).

Past that, you can find almost anything at the ballpark, ranging from perogies to poutine.

HISTORY
Winnipeg was an original member of the Northern League in 1903 and competed in the various incarnations of the league through 1942, when the entire league shut down due to World War II. When the league relaunched in 1946, it did so without a Winnipeg team, which didn't field a team in the league again until 1954-64 and 1969. In 1970 Winnipeg was home to a AAA International League team, the Winnipeg Whips.

Winnipeg also fielded a team in the Class B Western Canada League, winning league championships in 1919 and 1921.

The Goldeyes began their modern history playing at Winnipeg's football stadium, Canad Inns Stadium.

FOR THE KIDS
A playground is located down the third-base line.

PARKING
There are six lots controlled by the Goldeyes adjacent to the ballpark; you'll obviously pay for the privilege.

If you don't want to pay for parking, you can try finding a parking spot on some adjacent streets or in one of the free lots at The Forks.