Dr Pepper Ballpark
Home plate entrance of Dr Pepper Ballpark
|Former names||Dr Pepper/Seven Up Ballpark (2003–2006)|
|Location||7300 RoughRiders Trail
Frisco, Texas, U.S. 75034
|Owner||Frisco Baseball LP|
|Operator||Frisco Baseball LP|
|Field size||Left – 335 feet (102 m)
Left Center – 364 feet (111 m)
Center – 409 feet (125 m)
Right Center – 364 feet (111 m)
Right – 335 feet (102 m)
|Broke ground||February 6, 2002|
|Opened||April 3, 2003|
|Construction cost||$22.7 million
($29.6 million in 2016 dollars)
|Architect||David M. Schwarz
|Project manager||The Beck Group|
|Services engineer||G.W. Vines|
|General contractor||Centex Construction Co.|
|Frisco RoughRiders (TL) (2003–present)
TXU Energy Winter Games of Texas (2006–present)
Dr Pepper Ballpark (formerly Dr Pepper/Seven Up Ballpark) is the home ballpark of the Frisco RoughRiders Class AA minor league baseball club. Located in Frisco, Texas in the United States, the stadium has a capacity of 10,316. The ballpark is host to numerous functions in addition to minor league baseball games, including corporate and charity events, wedding receptions, city of Frisco events, and church services. Local soft drink manufacturer Dr Pepper Snapple Group holds naming rights and exclusive non-alcoholic beverage rights in the park.
Since its opening in 2003, the Dr Pepper Ballpark has won awards and garnered praise for its unique design, feel, and numerous facilities. In his design, park architect David M. Schwarz desired the creation of a village-like "park within a (ball) park". Dr Pepper Ballpark received the 2003 Texas Construction award for Best Architectural Design and was named the best new ballpark in the country by BaseballParks.com.
In 2001, Mandalay Sports Entertainment, owner of the Shreveport SwampDragons Class AA baseball team, reached an agreement with Southwest Sports Group to move the team to Frisco for the 2003 baseball season. As part of the deal, Southwest Sports Group assumed part-ownership of both the team and the ballpark to be built following the 2002 season. The project, designed by David M. Schwarz Architectural Services and HKS Sports & Entertainment Group, broke ground on February 6, 2002.
The ballpark serves as the anchor for a 74-acre (0.30 km2) $300 million development project near the intersection of State Highway 121 and the Dallas North Tollway. The project was jointly funded by the city of Frisco and Southwest Sports Group. Frisco put forth $67 million to build the complex, which was raised through special financing, unconnected to the city tax rate. On January 21, 2003, it was announced that local company Dr Pepper/Seven Up had purchased the naming rights for the new ballpark and retained exclusive non-alcoholic beverage rights for an undisclosed amount.
The ballpark opened for its first game on April 3, 2003, a RoughRiders loss to the Tulsa Drillers. The RoughRiders earned their first victory in the ballpark the next day, with the RoughRiders' Kurt Airoso hitting the park's first home run.
Dr Pepper/Seven Up Ballpark was renamed Dr Pepper Ballpark on March 31, 2006. On that date, the RoughRiders' Major League affiliate, the Texas Rangers, defeated the Florida Marlins in an exhibition game played at Dr Pepper Ballpark. The sold-out game was the ballpark's first major-league game of any kind. Overall attendance ranked in the top 10 in all classes of minor league baseball during the RoughRiders' first nine seasons. The stadium ranked first in all of Class AA for attendance from 2006-2011. Average attendance at RoughRiders games is 8,000. On average, there are 30 sell-out games per season. In August 2017 Dr.Pepper Snapple Group said they will not be renewing naming rights to Dr.Pepper Ballpark. "Dr.pepper Snapple Group not renewing naming rights".
Other events at the ballpark
As baseball is not a year-round event, Dr Pepper Ballpark is used for other functions throughout the year. The ballpark hosts corporate events, such as company softball games and movie nights, in addition to local charity events, such as 5K runs and bike races. Since 2004, the park has hosted the "Tournament of Champions" high school baseball tournament. The Dr Pepper Ballpark was selected to host the 2005, 2009 and 2017 Texas League All-Star Game. Beginning in January 2006, Dr Pepper Ballpark has begun hosting the opening ceremonies of the annual TXU Energy Winter Games of Texas. The ballpark also hosts wedding receptions, the opening ceremonies for the Frisco Baseball and Softball Association, city of Frisco events, and church services.
Following its construction in 2003, the Dr Pepper Ballpark received the Texas Construction award for Best Architectural Design for 2003 and the surrounding sports complex received the Best Sports and Entertainment award for 2003. It was named the best new ballpark in the country by BaseballParks.com. MinorLeagueNews.com has also named the park No. 2 on its top ten minor league ballparks for 2004 and No. 7 for 2005.
The design of the Dr Pepper Ballpark was spearheaded by David M. Schwarz. Schwarz had a stated goal of creating a "park within a (ball)park" in the stadium. To achieve this effect, the nine interconnected pavilions, where concessions, restrooms, and luxury suites are located, are built separately from the main seating area. The space between these pavilions allows for improved air flow in the Texas heat; the wind can move through the buildings and is not impeded by their presence. Constructed of James Hardie fiber cement siding, architectural critics have commented that their layout and material choice enhances the village-like feel of the ballpark, giving it a "coastal Galveston aesthetic". Others have commented that the design is very reminiscent of Churchill Downs in Kentucky.
The seating area is populated by just under 8,000 open-air fold-down stadium seats. Combined with general admission for standing room-only and grass berm seating, the stadium can hold a capacity crowd of over 10,000. The concourse area, between the pavilions and the seating area, wraps completely around the ballpark. Critics have commented positively on the 360° views afforded by this construction choice.
In addition to fixed stadium seats, the ballpark also features 26 luxury suites located on the second level of the ballpark, which feature patio balconies from which to view the game and closed-circuit television feeds of the game. Also unusual, the bullpens for each team are built into the stands behind the first and third base lines. This has received a mixed reaction from critics, with some calling it "contrived" and "pointless". In the outfield, seating is available on the grass area. This area is branded "San Juan Hill", after the Battle of San Juan Hill in which the team's namesake Rough Riders fought.
Originally the park featured a swimming pool built just past the wall in right field, level with the top of the outfield fence. Groups were able to rent out the pool during the game. In 2016, the pool was replaced by the Choctaw Lazy River. All ticketed guests have full 360-degree access to swim, wade or float on the gently-flowing lazy river, which measures longer from end-to-end (almost 175 feet) than an Olympic-size swimming pool and nearly as long as an NHL ice rink. A full lap around the Lazy River will take you over 400 feet - the distance from home plate to the center field wall. For Thursdays and most Sunday home games, the Choctaw Lazy River is the site of a "pool party" with tickets available to the general public.
Four exclusive members-only areas have been set up around the park. The most prominent of these "Founder's Areas," is the JCPenney Club, a private, air-conditioned bar and restaurant situated below the press box behind home plate.
Non-architectural critical reaction
Critics have taken issue with ticket prices at the ballpark, set at $7, $15, and $18. While less expensive than ticket prices for major league ballparks, prices are among the highest in all minor league classes. However, the ballpark has seen strong attendance despite these ticket prices. The ballpark runs a number of specials throughout the year including "Friends & Family" where 4 tickets, 4 hats and 4 value meals to a restaurant cost less than $10 a ticket. It also has a "High 5 Plan" where a block of 5 games (roughly one game each month) start at $9 a game, or a $19 ticket that includes all you can eat food and drink. In its inaugural season, Dr Pepper Ballpark had an attendance of 675,620, ranking it fourth overall in minor league baseball attendance for the year. The ballpark sold out for 53 RoughRiders home games that season.
- A baseball hit above the yellow line in outfield is considered a home run.
- A baseball that hits the yellow fair line below the fence is in play.
- A baseball that hits the yellow fair line above the fence is a home run.
- No player is allowed to climb the stairwell leading into the bullpens to catch a ball.
- If a ball gets caught in one of the grates leading into the stands the ball is considered dead and the base runner is allowed one base.
- A player is only allowed to catch a fly ball on the first step of the dugout. If the player has one foot on the first step and his other foot on the second step the ball is ruled non-playable and the player is not allowed to catch it.
- If a player catches a ball and falls into the dugout the batter is ruled out and the base runner is allowed one base.
- If a baseball hits anywhere on the dugout it is considered out of play.
- If a baseball hits the green fence the ball is in play.
- A player is allowed to lean on the tarp to catch a fly ball, but not stand on the tarp.
- On the backstop at the top left and right corners is a metal wire that holds the backstop up and if a ball hits it and deflects foul, then the ball is foul; however, if a ball deflects into fair play, then it is in play.
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