I love this ballpark. Out to prove that they don't make them like they used to, the city of Altoona (95 miles east of Pittsburgh
) constructed a 6,200-seat ballpark for the Pirates AA affiliate in the shadows of one of the more interesting backdrops in professional baseball: the 72-foot high Skyliner roller coaster. Combining America's passion for amusement and baseball, Blair County Ballpark opened in 1999 next door to Lakemont Park, 105 years after the neighboring amusement park opened. The Skyliner is in operation for parts of the game, and the coaster's cars each have a letter on them which spell out "Go Curve."
The ballpark itself is unique in that the main entrance gate is located in left field, high above the sunken playing field. Fans don't have to actually enter the ballpark to be able to see the action, as a chain-link fence fails to block the full view below. Fans entering the ballpark are met by a table with stacks of free game programs.
Blair County has more seats in the upper deck than lower, and all entrances service the upper deck, with a large concourse and wide stairwells awaiting fans who need to descend to the lower deck. The aisles within each row of seats are actually wide enough that fans can pass by without forcing fellow tenants to get up. Another interesting facet due to the ballpark's construction occurs late in the game, as fans who leave early are observed heading to their cars above left field in full view of the remaining crowd. About the only thing I could find negative about the ballpark was that the picture on the diamond vision scoreboard was distorted.
With the team setting attendance records in each of its first four seasons, Altoona expanded capacity in time for the 2003 season by adding 1,010 seats in left field, including outfield bleachers, a picnic pavilion, and a party deck with 40 "Rail King" seats, which hover just above the left field foul pole and feature a mini-TV every few seats. All things considered, baseball at Blair County Ballpark has replaced its century-old neighbor as the place for entertainment.
With an array of $3-5 parking options nearby, your best bet is to park in the large parking deck adjacent to the ballpark for just a buck.