Wednesday’s Triple-A All-Star Game turned out to be a strong showcase for Cheney Stadium, and the ballpark overhaul completed by the Tacoma Rainiers (Pacific Coast League).
Leading up to Wednesday, the Triple-A All-Star Game had been hyped for a number of reasons. It not only marked the first time that Tacoma–a longtime Pacific Coast League market–hosted the Triple-A All-Star Game, but it was one of the first major events at Cheney Stadium since the team completed a major renovation project prior to the 2011 season.
It is not as though the Cheney Stadium renovation has gone unnoticed over the years; in fact, the project won our 2011 Renovation of the Year Award for the $20M+ category. However, with a reported crowd of 7,024 in attendance, the All-Star Game gave many involved in the renovation project–including its principal architect, David Bower of Populous–a chance to reflect on how the upgrades have reshaped the fan experience. More from The Olympian:
“This is one of the first ballparks that started a trend for the size of seating in Triple-A,” Bower said of a park with 5,000 permanent seats. “In the old days, 10,000 typically was the standard. We addressed what the market was doing, and the market is not so much seating. The market is socializing.
“ ‘Thirsty Thursdays’ had always been a good deal for the club,” Bower continued, “but those fans needed a view of the field, and we capitalized on that.”
The principal architect of Populous, a firm that specializes in sports venues, the 62-year old Bower makes his home in the Kansas City area. He traveled to Tacoma to savor the atmosphere of Cheney Stadium, among the 30 stadium designs he’s directly overseen since he got into sports architecture business in 1988.
On the field, the night belonged to the Pacific Coast League, who pulled out a 6-4 victory over the International League. The Triple-A All-Star Game has been played since 1988, and will be staged at Huntington Park–home of the Columbus Clippers (International League)–in 2018.
Photo by Mark Cryan