Every summer we go to minor league baseball games at the Cove in South Bend. Named for Stanley Coveleski, a Hall of Fame pitcher who once lived in the city, the Cove was always a charming, relatively inexpensive way to spend a day at the ball park. It didn’t matter who the teams were; the members played their hearts out in the hope of being scouted.
But things have changed. In 2013, the stadium was redeveloped and named the Four Winds Field at Coveleski Stadium. It took research in Wikipedia to realize that Mr. C’s name was still part of the official title, as it wasn’t anywhere in sight at yesterday’s game. The “new” stadium is certainly bigger, flashier, and filled with all kinds of activities for families. There is a water park and a playground complete with supervision. There are inflatable bouncy slides and houses too.
For the adult spectator who wants more than a beer there is the Tiki Hut, the party patio, and various stations around the complex where you can get the beverage of your choice. Food options are plentiful.
But some things were missing. No vendors hawked their wares in the stands with sing-song chants; instead you had to miss some of the game to purchase your nachos or barbecue or hotdog. You had to have cash too. And the mascot, named Swoop, wasn’t as grand as he used to be. In fact, he looked rather subdued; and I don’t think it was because the home team lost.
It was still good, clean fun; but the Cove has lost some of its old-fashioned charm as the game itself – which is why one goes to a baseball stadium – seemed almost like an afterthought.