|Year ||Total ||Rank *
|* The RockHounds' total home attendance ranking in the 8-team Texas League
Nearby Major Airports:
El Paso International
Dallas/Fort Worth International
Nearest Pro Ballparks:
Kokernot Field in Alpine
Globe Life Park in Arlington (322.5 miles)
The Dell Diamond in Round Rock (325.4 miles)
Wolff Stadium in San Antonio (337.7 miles)
The Baseball Travel Map is one of many great items in our Baseball & Ballpark Store.
Everything written or compiled on this page was done so by Graham Knight following a baseball pilgrimage to Citibank Ballpark on June 30th and July 1st of 2011. All pictures were taken on those dates.
Comments about Citibank Ballpark can be made at the Baseball Pilgrimages Facebook page, which has a section dedicated to the Midland ballpark.
Sources for ballpark historical information available upon request.
Where the pursuit of baseball never ends.
Midland, TX is football country, forever made famous by its proximity to neighboring Odessa's Ratliff Stadium, which was ground zero for Buzz Bissinger's groundbreaking book, Friday Night Lights
. So it should be no surprise that a 15,000-seat football (and soccer) stadium adjoins Citibank Ballpark, which seats around 6,000 and hosts Midland RockHounds baseball games. As far as ballparks go, Midland's is so-so. It will forever remain notable in my mind as a windy place to see a game, especially if you sit on the third base side of the park, where the non-stop gusts hit you head on. Since the wind usually moves in a north/south direction, the east/west positioned first base grandstand has more of a pleasant breeze, a welcome feeling in a place where the temperature often reaches 100 degrees. Because the sun sets behind the grandstand all of the outfield is a sun field and the big berm that is out there suffers from a lack of rain as the area's arid climate saps the berm's grass of any green. So the grounds crew really has their work cut out in Midland, which is nicknamed the Tall City. Perhaps that's why all of the wall is tall as it spans the outfield. The height of the fencing gives the berm that begins behind it a considerable, hill-like elevation. Higher up, atop the second story of the stadium, which exclusively contains the press box and suites, are little horns that make big noise whenever the RockHounds score a run. It's a train is coming loud. And so in Midland it's what you can always feel (the wind) and occasionally hear (the horns
) that leave a lasting impression at a ballpark that is a nice enough place to see a game but is nothing spectacular, which indeed means Midland's middling compared to other modern minor league parks.
Citibank Ballpark is the smaller of the two stadiums found within the Scharbauer Sports Complex, which is about 6 miles west of downtown Midland on a 94-acre site that's alongside Loop 250 and near Highway 191. The ballpark's capacity is less than half that of the football/soccer stadium next to it. Called Grande Communications Stadium, it opened in 2002 and gets dual use by the two high schools in the Midland Independent School District. The West Texas United Sockers, a minor league soccer team owned by the RockHounds' ownership, also plays their games at the stadium. New and nice hotels, restaurants and stores, none bigger than a Sam's Club, encroach upon one side of the complex while a small specialty hospital and big Baptist church can be found on the less congested side.
Getting There [map it]
The Scharbauer Sports Complex isn't far from I-20 and is found off of Loop 250, a divided four-lane highway with a 60 MPH speed limit that feels like an Interstate. Since a Loop isn't an Interstate there are no exit numbers to be on the lookout for, but Thomason Drive is the "exit" you want. It's where the road sign that says "Sports Complex" beckons you to get off of the Loop, which notably does not have signage that mentions the ballpark by name, but rather the complex. Once on Thomason go until it dead ends, about a half a mile west from the Loop, and turn right onto Tradewinds Blvd. From there the ballpark presents itself right in front of you, not much more than a half-mile away. A sign at its main entrance will say "Home Team Parking" and that's the road you want to proceed down. You can also arrive at the ballpark from Highway 191 (exit at Deauville Blvd.) and if coming from it you'll want to bypass the "Visiting Team Parking" entrance, as that will put you on the football side of the complex, and continue on Tradewinds Blvd. until you reach Champions Drive, turning left where the arrow points you to the home team parking lot.
The parking lot here is a big one, with 3,500 mostly paved spaces spread all the way around the complex. That's more than is needed for baseball but the sea of parking is necessary for the Friday night football games the region is famous for. Plenty of spaces are near the ballpark's home plate gate and they, like every other parking spot in the complex, are free to park in. The only spaces not available to the general public are those in a small section parallel to the third base grandstand that are reserved for groups and suite holders.
Eating & Lodging Options
Mileage to Citibank Ballpark is listed in parenthesis
|Osaka Japanese Steakhouse (0.3)
1207 Tradewinds Blvd
Midland, TX 79707
|Bob's Better Burger (2.5)
3417 Thomason Dr
Midland, TX 79703
|DoubleDave's Pizzaworks (2.6)
3208 N Loop 250 West
Midland, TX 79707
|Ajuua's Mexican (4.1)
3205 W Cuthbert Ave
Midland, TX 79701
|Courtyard by Marriott (0.3)
1505 Tradewinds Blvd
Midland, TX 79707
|Sleep Inn (0.8)
5612 Deauville Blvd
Midland, TX 79706
|Residence Inn (0.9)
5509 Deauville Blvd
Midland, TX 79706
|Super 8 (2.8)
3828 W Wall St
Midland, TX 79703
Citibank Ballpark Features & Details
Outside | Interior Design/Decor | Seating | Amenities | Horns | Odds & Ends
(Click on the icon to see a picture of a specifically detailed part of Citibank Ballpark on our page)
The exterior is fairly nondescript. Lots of tan brick that's the same color as the infield's dirt makes up the bulk of the facade, which is topped by a blue roof. The general usage of earth tone colors are by design, as those mimic those found in the notorious surrounding arid landscape.
The box office has a mere five ticket windowns. Lettered A through E, they are underneath an easy to spot sign that says "Tickets." The "E" window is the Will Call one.
There's one way in and out of the ballpark and that's through gates behind home plate. The sole set of gates are near the box office. Given its limited number of ticket windows, an average sized walk-up crowd means you spend more than an average amount of time in line.
The RockHounds like to tout their ballpark as Rocky Town so it's fitting that the plaza that fronts Citibank Ballpark contains a big rock. Placed about a stone's throw away from the park's entrance gates, the Midland rock comes with a brief backstory attached as a plaque on it states: "Legend has it that this rock, excavated from deep below the playing field, guarantees fun and good times to all who touch it!" Naturally, many fans touch the natural rock with the mythical background on their way into the ballpark.
To the right of the "good time rock," a slightly elevated home plate-shaped sitting area contains some markers that commemorate awards and league championships won by the franchise. In a vertical timeline display, the markers commemorate: 1975 Texas League Co-Champions; 1995 Freitas Award (Top Double-A Franchise); 2005 Texas League Champions; 2007 John H. Johnson Award (Top Minor League Franchise); 2009 Texas League Champions
Interior Design & Decor
Sculptures of a youth pitcher and batter are just inside of the entrance. Each are elevated upon simple brick pedestals. On the base of the hitter's is a plaque with this quote from Roy Campanella: "You gotta be a man to play baseball for a living, but you gotta have a little kid in you, too." Near the sculptures are dry erase boards listing the league standings and the game's starting line-ups.
The concourse is above the seating bowl. Wide and often airy, it allows for unobstructed views of the playing field, which it completely encircles, from everywhere but center field, where it runs behind the tree-covered batter's backdrop.
Double-sided banners with pictures of players in the franchise's Hall of Fame are affixed to the beams at the back of the third base concourse. Each lists the year(s) that the player played in Midland.
There's actually a bridge in the right field corner that connects the concourse there. It passes over the area where the roll-away batting cage is stored.
Uncovered walkways that act as tunnels to each team's clubhouse are at the end of each side of the grandstand. Such a design works to the advantage of autograph-seeking fans following the game, as all players must pass by, and many sign for, those gathered in the two sections that are adjacent to the walkways. That's section 1 for the visiting team and section 20 for the RockHounds.
The bullpens are in the outfield corners and placed so that home runs down the line land in them. Both have see-through fencing that makes up a portion of the outfield wall. The visitors' bullpen, which is in left field, is noticeably slanted, while the RockHounds' 'pen cuts into the playing field dimensions in right field so that a home run doesn't have to travel as far down that line. Both bullpens are partially in foul and fair territory and have a foul pole in them. The set-up is very similar to Chase Field in Phoenix.
The stadium's sole scoreboard is set amidst five rows of picnic tables at the back of the berm in right field. The big structure has an average sized live video capable screen above the traditional line score board.
Billboard style signage dots the outfield concourse. One of the signs is embedded with a pitch speed display. It's close to the scoreboard in right-center field.
The wall is quite high all the way around the outfield and fans can stand directly behind it, although it's more comfortable to do so in left field, where concrete ledges on the concourse allow for a resting place for drinks, etc. Padding atop chain-link fencing is what fans lean on in right field. As is custom in all ballparks, center field is off limits so fans cannot distract hitters.
The outfield wall is wavy in left field. While the curvature is contrived it does allow the flag poles tucked into one of the bends to occupy a noticeable spot.
Numerous concession stands are found throughout the park, with a food court of sorts occupying a spot down the left field line.
The team store is placed between the box office and entrance gates and goes by the name of "Sidewalk Souvenirs." The RockHounds' souvenir store is air-conditioned and especially well-stocked with t-shirts.
The grandstand contains about 5,000 seats within its 20 sections. All seats have cup holders and are blue. Those down the outfield lines are not angled towards the infield.
If you don't like backstop screening that extends from dugout to dugout then you're out of luck here, as all Club (sections 9-13) and Box (sections 5-8 and 14-17) seats are behind netting.
After the grandstand ends, grass (berm) seating begins. The portion of it down the outfield lines in foul territory maintains the slope of the grandstand. Because of its higher than normal elevation in home run territory, the berm that surrounds the outfield seemingly looms over the playing field. That's especially true in left field, where a hill is. The rest of the berm in the outfield is gently sloped.
The ballpark has 22 suites. They are named after players and a President, all of whom spent some time seasoning (or rehabbing) in Midland. George W. Bush (Suite 6) was raised in Midland. The doorside marker outside of the suite named in his honor is the only one that lacks stats, as each player suite lists their career Midland and Major League totals, although the MLB numbers are only through 2006. Most, but not all, players starred or had lengthy careers at the big league level. From 1 to 22, the ballpark's suites are named after: Andre Ethier, Aaron Harang, Rich Harden, Garrett Anderson, Dante Bichette, George W. Bush, Joe Carter, Shawon Dunston, Jim Edmonds, Troy Glaus, Todd Greene, Tim Hudson, Troy Percival, Adam Piatt, Tim Salmon, Lee Smith, Bruce Sutter, Fernando Valenzuela, Randy Velarde, Huston Street, Nick Swisher and Barry Zito. Each of the 22 suites has a 22-person capacity. All have balcony box seating for 12 people and inside bar stool seating for 4 more. To reach their capacity, suite leasees have the option to purchase 6 additional tickets for the season or on an individual game basis. All suites are on the ballpark's second level, which is essentially the suite level as the press box is the only other structure in the upper deck.
There are no bleachers at Citibank Ballpark.
A members only restaurant called the Diamond Club is at the back of the concourse behind home plate. Open to suite and pass holders, the Diamond Club has a sizable dining room with a high ceiling within which food is served buffet style from a serving station. The menu changes after every game and the food served generally isn't your normal ballpark fare, nor is it free with membership. The buffet of restaurant quality food is all you can eat and a beer/wine cash bar is available. In addition to tables, those in the club can choose to seat themselves at hightop chairs set up behind a drink rail that is attached to the windows along the concourse through which the playing field can be seen. However, views from those chairs are usually blocked by the continuous flow of fans on the concourse. So for all intents and purposes, fans can't watch the game when inside of the Diamond Club.
For kids, there's a fun zone with inflatables in left field and playground equipment sets in right-center. Between those two areas is a tee ball sized turfed field that is used for wiffle ball when it's open.
Each outfield corner has a picnic area. The one in right field is probably the most notable area in the ballpark, as the tables there are partially covered by a handful of umbrella-like canopies that stand out amongst the overall landscape much as wind turbines do along highways in remote areas. The picnic tables in left field are simply tent-covered.
On the concourse between sections 6 & 7 is a square-shaped bar. Fans seated at the small tavern can see the game from it, as it's just behind the last row of seats in the sections mentioned.
Texas is known as the Longhorn State but the Texas League ballpark in Midland boasts of horns of the non-bovine variety. The small set of bullhorns in the ballpark go off in quite loud quick bursts anytime the RockHounds score a run. The noise is directed toward the playing field from the horns' placement on the roof above the press box behind home plate. The cluster of five horns are painted red but would probably go unnoticed if not for their ability to blare out noise at train horn decibels.
Odds & Ends
While dirt paths from the dugouts to home plate are commonplace, and Midland's ballpark has them, it also has dirt paths in an usual spot: behind first and third base, where they connect the infield corners of the dirt diamond to the traditional warning track that goes around the field.
Team offices are along the third base concourse, where windows allow fans open views into the work areas of the RockHounds front office.
(A full gallery is viewable on the Baseball Pilgrimages' Citibank Ballpark Facebook page)
|Some of Citibank Ballpark's suites and screen are seen in the photo to the left. The ballpark has 22 suites and its protective netting extends from dugout to dugout. Shown on the right is a view from the suite level of the park's quirky left field that includes the curved outfield wall and hilltop behind it. Slanted in the left field corner is the visiting team's bullpen.
The seeds were sewn for what came to be known as the Scharbauer Sports Complex when the voting populace of Midland agreed to provide the funding for it, via a quarter-cent city sales tax increase, in November of 1999. The "yea" vote on the proposition came eight years after the owners of the local nine first spoke of a need for a new ballpark in Midland. To build the complex that would house it and a new joint football/soccer stadium, $39 million in bonds backed by the tax increase were used to pay for the bulk of the sports complex's $45.34 million price tag.
While Midland, like most of West Texas, had a lot of undeveloped land, it was decided to put the complex near the highway that bypassed the city, rather than near or in its downtown core, which had gone from the emerging new ballpark building trend to the established one by the turn of the 21st century, and so a nearly 100-acre plot of land alongside Midland's main thoroughfare, Loop 250, was selected. Situated near Highway 191 and six miles from downtown, the Loop-side location is 7½ miles from Christensen Stadium, where professional baseball in Midland had long been played, including 30 seasons (1972-2001) for the RockHounds franchise, which went by the name of Cubs and Angels prior to the team's 1999 affiliation switch to the A's.
Christensen Stadium was built in 1954 over the span of just 90 days and for only $75,000. About the only things it had in common with its Texas League replacement was general location (also directly off Loop 250) and going by multiple names (Cubs and Angels Stadium prior to its final, and current name). Citibank Ballpark opened as First American Bank Ball Park, named after a Texas banking chain. Later the last two words were squeezed together, so the place was listed in print as First American Bank Ballpark when Citigroup acquired First American Bank and its assets, which included the 25-year naming rights deal by which Midland's ballpark has been branded since it opened.
While the first official opening day was April 4, 2002, a 7-inning exhibition between the RockHounds and their parent club christened the ballpark eight days prior. The minor league team won the game with ease, 12-2, over the Oakland A's in front of 7,018 fans, but the highlight of that March 27th night was who came home to throw out the ceremonial first pitch: General Tommy Franks, aka the leader of America's war against terrorism when it, like Midland's ballpark, was still in its infancy. Four-star Army general Franks grew up in Midland and as a youth often hunted small game on the land on which the ballpark was built.
Following Franks to the mound was Midland Mayor Mike Canon, just five days removed from shoulder surgery, and then Bobby Norman got to toss the third and final "first" pitch, getting to do so because he was the president of the bank, First American, that paid $2.17 million that very month for the ballpark's naming rights.
Like Franks, Randy Velarde of the A's was a Midland Lee high school graduate. Velarde had the honor of leading off the inaugural game in his hometown and he walked against Chris Enochs. Velarde did hit a home run in his second at-bat versus Enochs in the 3rd inning, plus one in the pre-game home run hitting contest in which five homers were hit, three of them by Oakland's Frank Menechino and one by Midland's Kirk Asche. So while losing the game, the A's did win the derby, 4-1, over the RockHounds.
Citibank Ballpark Facts, Figures & Footnotes
Construction cost: Approximately $23 million of the $45.34 million spent on the entire Scharbauer Sports Complex
Financing: The complex as a whole was primarily funded through a $39 million bond backed by a quarter-cent increase in the city's sales tax that was approved by Midland voters in November 1999. The bond debt is set to be paid off in 2016. Additional monies for the ballpark came from the team and the naming rights sponsorship.
Architects: Parkhill, Smith & Cooper (lead) and HOK Sport (consultant)
Construction manager: MW Builders, Inc.
Part of a 94-acre sports complex in West Midland.
Owned by the City of Midland.
Governed by the 7-member Midland Football-Soccer and Baseball Complex Development Corporation, more commonly known as the 4B Board.
Was formally dedicated on March 23, 2002, the day of its public open house.
Was originally called First American Bank Ball Park after the Bryan, TX-based bank paid $2.17 million for the naming rights in a 25-year deal agreed to in March 2002. When New York-based Citigroup acquired First American Bank in 2005 the ballpark's name was changed to its current one.
Originally had 16 suites. Six more have since been added to the ballpark's upper level.
Was named the Sports Turf Managers Association 2003 Baseball Field of the Year (professional division).
Has hosted two Texas League All-Star Games; 7,112 attended the 2004 game; in 2010, the crowd count was 5,989. Prior to the 2010 game, a Home Run Derby was held in which Roger Clemens pitched to all eight of the Texas League hitters, which included his son, Koby.
Citibank Ballpark Firsts
First game (exhibition): On March 27, 2002, the Midland RockHounds beat the Oakland A's, 12-2, in a scheduled for only 7 innings game that was attended by 7,018 fans
First game (official): On April 4, 2002, the Midland RockHounds beat the San Antonio Missions, 12-4, in front of 4,448 fans
Other official ballpark firsts (all of which occurred on 4/4/02, unless noted):
|Pitch ||Batter ||Home Run ||Winning Pitcher ||Losing Pitcher ||Save (4/6)
|Marcus Jones ||Jamal Strong ||Graham Koonce ||Kevin Gregg ||Rafael Soriano ||Franklyn German
Citibank Ballpark Photo Gallery