Best Ballpark (1999)

Mark Light Stadium

This ballyard on the campus of the University of Miami is everything good about going to a baseball game, you think as you lean forward on your concrete bench along the first-base side of home. Especially on a late winter day like today, with enough clouds to offer shade yet not threaten rain, and the wind blowing briskly out to left. The visiting pitcher misses with a 1-0 breaking ball. "Baaaallll two!" the hard-core 'Canes fans hoot directly behind home plate. Yes, sir, you think. Despite the clink of aluminum bats, the brand of baseball played here, and the cozy, welcoming atmosphere of the 4500-seat stadium, can easily transport you back to a simpler era in the history of the Great American Pastime. The snack vendor begins his circuit, barking out his wares at a volume more appropriate to Pro Player Stadium. "Peanuts, popcorn, soda, Gatorade ..." A pause for dramatic effect, then: "SUURRRGE!" Some smiling 'Canesters know the routine and join the vendor in his call. A hard drive to right scores a run for the home team, and sets the fans to hollering. You can hear every one of them individually. The slap of high-fives at the plate is palpable. The sun starts angling down in the late innings. The bullpens are working. Maybe you'll have some peanuts.


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