|Harbor Park Info
LF: 333' CF: 410' RF: 318'
Affiliate: Baltimore Orioles
2014 Tides Schedule
Radio: WVSP 94.1 FM
Nearest Major Airports:
Reagan National in Arlington (191.3 miles)
Nearest Pro Ballparks:
The Diamond in Richmond (95.1 miles)
Perdue Stadium in Salisbury, MD (135.2 miles)
Five County Stadium in Zebulon, NC (161.2 miles)
Closest Major League Park:
Nationals Park in Washington, DC (194.5 miles)
|Year ||Total ||Average
See all the ballparks, like Norfolk's Harbor Park, in which professional baseball is played. Our Pro Baseball Ballpark List includes every one.
Where the pursuit of baseball never ends.
From location to look, Norfolk's Harbor Park bridges the gap between the old and new (or dated and retro) minor league ballparks.
While not placed smack in downtown of what's Virginia's second-largest city, it is pretty close to it and, as the ballpark's name suggests, Harbor Park is waterside, with the waterway being the Elizabeth River. I'm a big fan of ballparks with great backdrops and that's what you'll find here, as the majority of fans in the foul pole to foul pole spanning grandstand can see what covers the majority of Earth's surface. Just those sitting below the cross aisle in the field level grandstand can't see the river.
Of course, the cross aisle here isn't really necessary but was considered a nice amenity at the time Harbor Park opened, which was in 1993. An open concourse wasn't en vogue then, but there's a roomy one atop the grandstand and it's filled with a copious amount of baseball history, as plaques for the 56 members of the "Tidewater Shrine" line the back wall, which has loads of trivia and facts listed on it -- at the bottom of the backlit ad panels. That's a really innovative way to get people to pay attention to a company's message, as each advertiser, from McDonald's to the Navy, essentially sponsors an interesting piece of baseball information. When you add in a good range of concession fare, mostly at portable carts at the top of the seating bowl, then I think it's fair to say the concourse at Norfolk's ballpark is one of the best in baseball today.
Also included on the site is a restaurant with a full-service bar. Situated in the right field corner, the "Hits at the Park" restaurant is a comfortable place from within which you can watch the game while eating all you can from a buffet that's near the bar, which stays open after food service has stopped. The restaurant certainly wasn't an afterthought, and its inclusion is part of the template that other ballparks have borrowed from since. But as a byproduct of an early adopter era Norfolk's park lacks some things that are nice to see, such as a berm or a concourse that wraps the playing field, and the stadium itself is bigger than necessary, as it could probably do without the nine sections worth of upper deck seating down the baselines. Including them, the capacity of this place swells to over 12,000 and the upper decks make Harbor Park look like a mini major league park. Once upon a time minor league ballparks were built big enough to hold the once a year crowd of 10K plus, rather than being sized for the routine gatherings they regularly attract. So Harbor Park is a remnant from the bygone bigger is better era, although it has many of the amenities of the modern one for group and special occasion use (suites, picnic area, party patios and deck). While Harbor Park won't wow you, I couldn't help but thinking afterwards this is a darned good place to see a game.
Norfolk is a very coastal city and, as its name appropriately suggests, Harbor Park is a waterside baseball stadium. It stands just beyond the reaches of the Elizabeth River, nestled between that waterway and I-264, which passes within close proximity to the ballpark's home plate and third base facades. With active shipyards situated across the Elizabeth River, which parallels right field, and the elevated Interstate passing so close to the premises, there's a lot of ambient noise emitting from two sides of the ballpark. Not contributing much noise but adding to the mass transit scene adjacent to the baseball grounds is the Hampton Roads Transit's light rail station, simply named the Harbor Park Station
, that opened in August 2011. The station is stationed next to the road that most use to enter the ballpark parking lot, and users of the light rail service arrive to see the Tides on what's generically called "The Tide" by the local public transit agency, which also offers a way to arrive at the Tides' stadium via water courtesy of their seasonal Harbor Park ferry
. The ferry docking station for the ballpark is near its 1st Base gate.
Although close to downtown, Harbor Park is not actually in what most would consider downtown Norfolk. Rather, it's just off to the side. Given its wedged in between river and road location, the ballpark wasn't built as an anchor for adjacent development. So while a lot is near it, there's really nothing around it in terms of restaurants, bars and such. That's all a walkable distance away in downtown, although it's much easier to make the very short drive given the not good by foot access between the ballpark and city's core, where highlights include the Nauticus maritime museum and Town Point Park. The heart of downtown where such attractions are found is roughly a mile west of Harbor Park. As for the more immediate vicinity, Norfolk State University is on the other side of I-264. The historically black university has the same street address as the ballpark and its campus lies just a half-mile northeast of Harbor Park on Park Avenue.
Norfolk is most noteworthy for being home to Naval Station Norfolk, the largest naval base in the world. That makes Norfolk very much a military town and naval ships are a common site throughout the area since the large navy base is based a little less than 10 miles north of the ballpark.
Paid parking, and plenty of it, is available at the ballpark in its paved lot. The bulk of the parking lot is in the left field corner and thus most fans park there, as that's where general public parking is. From there, the 3rd Base gate and its adjacent ticket windows are near. At the main gate behind home plate, parking is available by permit only and limited in general, as the ballpark lot tapers from sizable in left field to minimal by the time it fronts the home plate entrance.
There's also some parking available elsewhere, such as underneath the Interstate overpass, but because the ballpark lot is so big it's not often necessary to search for parking elsewhere.
Has three entrance areas and above each "Harbor Park" is carved into stone. All gates are at ground level, with the concourse being a story above. Because of that, the ballpark's first and third base gates have switchback ramps. Those entering the park through the doors behind home plate do so into what has the feel of an old auditorium lobby. There's a staircase and an elevator in there, along with a short hallway that leads to the Tides' clubhouse, while a wall in the tile-floored lobby contains the plaques of the Hampton Roads Sports Hall of Fame, which was started in 2008 to celebrate the every sport success of those who came from the area or made noteworthy contributions to sports in the Norfolk region, which is collectively referred to as Hampton Roads.
The ballpark's name is quite noticeably listed in large letters on the press box fašade, while its city/state location is listed in much smaller lettering below.
There's a light tower look of yesteryear here. Two big banks are in the outfield. Those are supported by poles. The classic vibe comes from the steel-framed towers that hold the lights rising above the infield. The four cagey, erector set-looking infield-based towers hold a much more narrow band of bulbs than the stanchions in the outfield do.
|The press box is outside of the grandstand but the concession stand is within it at Trinidad's quaint Central Park.
Harbor Park Facts, Figures & Footnotes
Construction cost: $16 million
Financing: Paid for by team rent and revenue generated from extra activities at the stadium.
Architect: HOK Sport
Construction manager: McDevitt Street Bovis
Was built on city-owned riverfront land called Bessie's Place, which was mainly used as a parking site for city employees prior to its selection for Norfolk's new ballpark. The city first proposed the 37-acre location in August 1990.
Ceremonial groundbreaking took place on February 21, 1992. Among those there that day were Fred Wilpon and Clint Hurdle, as the Tides at the time were the Triple-A affiliate of the New York Mets and Hurdle was then the team's manager.
Owned by the City of Norfolk.
The current lease between the city and Tides is for 15 years and officially began on April 1, 2013, although it was not agreed to until after the 2013 season (on 12/17/13). The original lease was for 20 years and expired after the 2012 season. Per the terms of the active lease, the Tides pay $225,000 in yearly rent, plus 10% of all gross annual revenue exceeding $6.3 million, up to $150,000, to the city.
Naming rights belong to the city, so if Norfolk ever decides to seek a paid sponsorship to change the ballpark's name they would retain all revenue from the deal.
Was named the best stadium in all of minor league baseball following the 1995 season by Baseball America, which called Harbor Park the "Camden Yards of the minor leagues" in its praise.
The Norfolk Tides officially drew their 10 millionth fan to Harbor Park on June 10, 2014. They reached the 5 million mark in all-time attendance at the ballpark on August 20, 2002.
Replaced Metropolitan Memorial Park as home of the Tides, who were known as the Tidewater Tides when they played at what was generally referred to as Met Park from 1970-1992. While that stadium was torn down long ago, its dedication plaque was saved and is affixed to a concourse wall inside of Harbor Park. Nothing was preserved at the actual site of Metropolitan Memorial Park, which was located near the Norfolk airport.
Official Ballpark Firsts
Game: April 14, 1993; the Norfolk Tides beat the Ottawa Lynx, 2-0, before an announced crowd of 12,113
Pitch: Thrown at 7:38 p.m. by Bobby Jones
Other official ballpark firsts (all of which occurred on 4/14/93, unless noted):
|Batter ||Hit (single) ||RBI ||Home Run (4/15) ||Winning Pitcher ||Losing Pitcher ||Save
|F.P. Santangelo ||Terrel Hansen ||Steve Springer ||Steve Springer ||Bobby Jones ||Tavo Alvarez ||Gregg Langbehn