The Knights' inaugural Uptown season has kicked off, and new fans have been streaming into BB&T Ballpark just as fast as they've been posting photos of every possible view from the bleachers onto social media. (It's like we've never seen buildings before.)
Not only did the first three home games sell out, but the Knights lead the league in attendance - a vast improvement from where they sat (at the bottom) when the team played in Fort Mill. In total, about 95,750 fans attended BB&T Ballpark's 10 home games.
The actual team hasn't given their new fans anything to cheer about just yet, which might become a problem for vendors if they continue to charge $6 for a hot dog and $12 for beers. Here are some other observations we've made about the new park.
Best Seat in the House
Trick category - the best seat in the house isn't a seat at all. The Home Run Porch is an elevated patio in right field that lets fans stand against a bar and take in the entire ballpark. The view is reminiscent of Fenway Park's Green Monster seats, although from the opposite field. Be ready for left-handed hitters to give one a ride your way. But don't look away - there's a reason the porch is sponsored by Carolinas Healthcare System. Speaking of which...
Most Obnoxious Sponsorship
On the foul pole separating the Home Run Porch from the Miller Lite Rooftop Party Zone (Yes, just about everything comes with a sponsor here) is the foul pole. This pole is simply a large yellow mast that shows spectators and umpires whether a ball lands fair or foul. There is no need for puns on a foul pole, right? Think again. Those ever-present Chick-fil-A cows show up on both poles suggesting that everyone "Eat More Fowl." You get it.
Best Spot for Kids
In right-centerfield is a patch of grass that makes for a nice - even romantic - place to perhaps stretch a blanket out and take in the ball game. But act quick. Kids smell a patch of grass like this from a mile away, and by midgame they'll likely have claimed it as their own, throwing popcorn and creating chants that may or may not be real English. Fans of the Fort Mill stadium remember the large field in foul territory that was always crawling with children under 12 running at full speed and dodging foul balls. Picture that, concentrated.
Worst of the Team Store
Foam fingers have long been a staple of sporting events. The Knights have taken the concep a step further - but not in the right direction. Foam knight helmets are being sold in the team store for $15. Not a Knights helmet. A helmet an actual knight would wear (foam-arized, of course). Sadly it looks more like some Game of Thrones torture device.
Best of the Team Store
The team changed their colors and logo set in October to go along with their new digs, and the new swag looks great. The store offers up four versions of high quality, fitted caps that go for about $26.
Best/Worst Walk-Up Music
The best walk-up music easily goes to infielder Tyler Saladino, who approaches the plate to M.I.A.'s reggae bumper "Double Bubble Trouble." The hit from last year's Matangi album starts off with "Uh-ohhhh/You're in trouble... " and rightfully. Saladino has been just about the only player on the Knights to swing an impressive bat this season. Outfielder Gorkys Hernandez, in contrast, walks up to the plate to the sounds of Pitbull mumbling something. He, in turn, is batting under .200.
Worst Concession Robbery
There's good news and bad news here. The good news is the tallboy Coors Light, Miller Lite and Bud Lights offer an extra ounce (!). The bad news is one can will set you back $9. Locally brewed beers can be bought on draft for $7.50 but a (plastic) mason jar of full of these beers shot up to $12 after premiering at an opening day price of $10.
Best Twitter Feed
Starting pitcher Scott Carroll had a hot start to the season, winning the first three games he pitched. He also won Twitter. In the first week of the month, the sinker-thrower sent out two gems within a couple days of each other. The first read, "Legit Question: What if the Malaysian flight was abducted by aliens? #WeAreNotAlone." The second read: "Turn down for what? I don't know..um, maybe to be a contributing member to society." It's hard to say how serious he is being but, legit question, who cares?