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The crack of the bat. The lush green of the field. The smell of popcorn and hot dogs drifting on a warm breeze. Baseball and summer--it's a match made for enjoyment. Out at Shaw Park in downtown Winnipeg, the Goldeyes have been hitting it out of the park for decades. With its family friendly atmosphere, affordable tickets, delectable variety of food and amazing views, taking in a game is a perfect way to enjoy a summer evening and here are a few reasons why.
1. The Baseball
Maybe this is obvious, but the Goldeyes are part of the American Association of Independent Professional Baseball and its clear these guys are pros. If you're a diehard fan, then there's no better live action to be had in the province when it comes to a bat, bases and a ball.
Okay, confession time--I'm not really a baseball fan per se--and it's not baseball's fault at all (I feel that way about most professional sports), but here's the great thing--you don't have to be a baseball fan to enjoy a game because there are so many other things to make it fun. The food is a big one and Shaw Park has no lack of options from fluffy, soft pretzels, to craft beer (there's even a Manitoba social platter to go with it), to mini perogies, to homemade pies to cookie dough to authentic bbq and so much more. I don't know about you, but I cannot resist a cold lemonade on a hot summer day and the one I had here was as refreshing as they come. Oh and did I mention you can even get Indian food--including butter chicken? Come hungry. Like really hungry.
3. The Views
With Shaw Park situated right in downtown Winnipeg, the views and surroundings of a game really can't be beat. There's the vibrant greens of the field itself but when back dropped with the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, the Esplanade Riel and the skyline of the city, it really makes for a beautiful setting.
4. The Spectacle
Half the fun of a Goldeyes game is all the other action that happens. Whether it's the antics of beloved mascot Goldie or his friend Goldette or it's the games and contests happening in the field and stands. On any given night keep an eye out for staff throwing out freebies like chips and of course, they're always singing and dancing in between plays and innings. The Goldeyes do a great job of drawing kids into the action by selecting a 'let's play ball' kid who gets a microphone to announce the game opening (definitely a highlight for my 7-year-old who was a little bit 'famous' for a few minutes), and getting a child to race the mascots across the bases. Whatever is going on, there's way more than just a ball game.
5. The Family Friendly Atmosphere
Speaking of kids--a Goldeyes game is the perfect outing for the whole family. Tickets are extremely affordable and there is plenty to keep little ones occupied during the game. See above re: the spectacle of course, but there's even a playground on site where kids can get some of their energy out. At the end of games, kids are often invited to come down to the field for a run of the bases--an activity that absolutely delighted my children. And while my kids are past this stage of life, Shaw Park has one of the best parents' rooms in the city for those with babies. The room is full of comfy sofas, a changing area, crib and TVs so you don't miss any of the game (oh, and it's air conditioned). It's clear this venue goes the extra mile to be welcoming to families.
If you're like me and like any reason to shop, a Goldeyes game delivers on that count too. A pro shop sporting Goldeyes souvenirs and paraphernalia is the perfect way to show support for your team. There is clothing for all ages (Goldeyes onsie anyone?), cute little stuffies, baseball hats and lots more.
7. The Fireworks
This probably doesn't need a lot of preamble. I mean it's pretty hard not to be impressed by fireworks at the end of a game, right? Talk about a spectacular end to an already fantastic evening.