I took my family to see our first ever Fort Wayne Tin Caps game at Parkview Field this weekend. We had attended a Fort Wayne Wizards game several years ago, but the team name and the stadium have changed, so this was our first time back to see the new team and field.
We went on a Friday night, and I was astonished to see so many people streaming into the ball park. I’ve been to several Indianapolis Indians games, and seen large crowds, but the Fort Wayne crowd seemed bigger. Of course, it doesn’t hurt to have a smaller venue, but even so! The final crowd total was 7,857 — nearly every seat in the house was full — and they certainly loved their Tin Caps.
The team gets their name from the mushpot Johnny Appleseed (aka Jonathan Chapman) wore on his head as he walked around Indiana and Ohio, planting apple trees. In fact, the logo is an apple with a mushpot for a hat. There is even a section of the stadium marked “J. Chapman,” in honor of the team’s namesake and inspiration. They are the AA affiliate of the San Diego Padres.
There is a lot of community support for the Tin Caps in the Summit City. The large local companies are big sponsors, the fans show up dressed in Tin Caps garb, with Tin Caps bumper stickers, and even on weeknights, they can fill up at least half the stadium.
Although the Tin Caps weren’t able to pull it out tonight — they lost, 5 – 3 — the fans still had a great night. It was Country Night, so all the music and the scoreboard graphics were country and cowboy themed. The between-innings games had a country flavor. And even the groundskeepers performed some country line dancing as they dragged the base lines. (You can see some photos of the dancers in the photo album below.)
Tickets are inexpensive, starting at $5 and going all the way up to $12.50. Concessions are average ball park food prices, but they have a decent beer selection behind center field. Crowds are friendly, the people are fun, and the Tin Caps sure know how to put on a good show. If you’re visiting northeast Indiana, or you already live up here, make sure you check out a Tin Caps game. You’ll have a great time.