By Contributing Writer: Chuck Boemmel Jr.
Minor League baseball is known for many things: colorful team names and logos, at times zany promotions, family friendly entertainment and affordability as well as preparing players for the Major Leagues.
Photo Credit: Norfolk Tides' Website
Baltimore Orioles' fans are fortunate in that four of the team’s Minor League affiliates (Aberdeen, Delmarva, Frederick and Bowie) are located within the state of Maryland. A fifth, the Norfolk Tides, are located in Norfolk, Virginia.
The Tides, the Orioles Class-AAA affiliate in the International League, play their home games Harbor Park. Located in downtown Norfolk and on the Elizabeth River, Harbor Park is a 4 to 4 ½ hour drive from Baltimore. The Park opened in 1993 and was designed and built by HOK Sports Facilities Group. You may recall that this is the same company behind the building of Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Like OPACY, Harbor Park will celebrate its 25th season this year. The Tides have many promotions planned this year to celebrate the park’s 25th anniversary.
Harbor Park is a 2-level ballpark that has a listed seating capacity of 11,856. Ticket prices are very reasonable (game day purchase) and are as follows:
Box Seat: $15
Lower Reserved: $14
Upper Reserved: $14
Advanced purchases receive a $2 discount.
Seniors, children, military and AAA members can get an upper or lower reserved seat for as low as $10 with an advanced purchase ($12 on game day)
The City of Norfolk charges $5 per vehicle for parking at Harbor Park.
The Tides have several season ticket options as well:
Full Season 71 game plan ($600)
18 game partial season plan ($180)
13 game Sunday plan ($140)
10 ticket plan where you choose the game you want to attend ($109)
Premium seating is located in the 2-level Luxury Suite with packages for 12, 18, 20 and 24 people. Groups of 40-125 can be accommodated in the Party Deck in right field with several catered menus to choose from. There are also patios on both the 1st and 3rd base sides of the ballpark for smaller groups and have a catered menu as well. Tables of 4 can be purchased in Tides Landing and there is an all-you-can-eat buffet menu available. The Tides also offer a full service restaurant, Hits at the Park, which is open to the public on all home games: reservations are requested for seating. Ordering and pricing information for all these options can be found at the Tides website: http://www.milb.com/index.jsp?sid=t568
Considering the drive, a trip to see the Tides would be best as either an overnight or weekend stay for most people in the Baltimore area. There are many attractions in Norfolk that would be perfect to plan as part of the stay. You could visit the Hampton Roads Naval Museum, tour the USS Wisconsin, visit the Norfolk Botanical Gardens, shop or dine at several brew pubs/craft breweries in the area.
With everything you can see and do in the Norfolk area as well as the great baseball at Harbor Park Orioles fans are encouraged to make the trip down I 95 to see the Tides this season. My family and I have it on our summer to-do list; there are brewpubs I want to visit.