Not hard to be – or find – a good sport
Fifth Third Field – home of the Toledo Mud Hens, the AAA affiliate of the Detroit Tigers -- has been ranked the number-one ballpark in the International League and the fourth best in all of minor league baseball by Baseball America.
The organization’s Top 10 Ballparks list was prepared through a survey of minor league officials, baseball club personnel and architects.
The award, the latest in a series garnered by the stadium, confirms what many living in the Maumee Bay area already knew: going to a game at Fifth Third is not just about whether the Mud Hens win or lose. It’s the experience.
There’s wonderful view of the downtown Toledo skyline. A stadium situated in the city’s historic Warehouse District. The playing field has won several awards for its top condition and the seating configuration makes nearly every seat a great seat – especially The Roost which hangs out over right field.
There is a wide variety of food available, with changes made each season to add even more choices. For 2009, the menu additions include a tray of tender fried walleye bites (very appropriate given the Maumee Bay area’s abundant fresh walleye) that can be had complete with homemade tartar sauce and lemon wedges in the suites area; three new burgers, including The Muddy Burger, a one-third pound grilled Black Angus beef burger topped with Muddy Dog chili sauce, cheddar cheese and onions on a fresh Kaiser bun, the BacHen Burger topped with bacon, and the Bring the Cheddar Burger; Stromboli stuffed with Italian sausage and pepperoni or Philly steak and cheese, funnel cake fries, two kinds of kielbasa sandwiches from Stanley’s in North Toledo, three new pretzel toppers (cheddar, pizza and sweet cream cheese), pretzel popper treats filled with sweet cream cheese and topped with cinnamon sugar, popcorn snacks from northwest Ohio’s own Ballreich’s snacks, and more.
The Mud Hens also have numerous fireworks nights and special theme dates including Veterans Night June 11, Stitch n’ Pitch June 25, when fans are encouraged to come to the game and knit, quilt, crochet, embroider or do other needlework; and Red Hat Day on July 12.
But best of all Toledo has a highly competitive team that won two Governors’ Cup championships. Mike Hessman, the International League home run leader in 2008 and USA baseball team selection, started the season with the Mud Hens along with Brent Clevelen, both of whom competed for spots on the parent club Tigers right up until the final choices.
Toledo has 72 home games during the 2009 season, and tickets go fast for those games around the holidays. The last home games of the season are Sept. 3 and 4 against Columbus. For tickets or more info, visit www.mudhens.com or call 419-725-HENS.
Feel the need for speed?
If so, Toledo Speedway can give you your fix. The half-mile, semi-banked track with a quarter-mile figure 8 in the middle is located just west of the Alexis Road exit off I-75 at 5639 Benore Rd.
For the 2009 season, the Hantz Group is joining with Allegiant Air to sponsor the late model ARCA Glass City Golf Cup racing series. The five-race scheduled calls for three events at Toledo and two at Flat Rock with points awarded as well as cash bonuses for the top five racers.
The kickoff race takes place May 22 at Toledo for the Bid Red Crème Soda 100 lap contest, with race two a 75-lap contest on June 19. Marco’s Pizza and Teamsters Local 20 are sponsoring the third race at Toledo on July 17. The Flat Rock races are June 27 and July 25
Racing season runs through the 100-lap or two-hour Enduro open competition Oct. 17. In between are special incentive nights for Moms, kids and others. Highlights include the always-popular School Bus, Train and Boat Figure 8s plus Backup backwards racing May 24 and Sept. 18, a Monster Truck Show July 24-25, and ARCA Remax Series races on May 16-17 (trucks) and Sept. 4 (200 laps).
For tickets or more info, call 419-727-1100 or visit toledospeedway.com.
Harness the action
Raceway Park, located at 5700 Telegraph Rd., Toledo, offers live harness racing from mid-April through late October. Several special events are offered throughout the 2009 season. For race times and more information, visit www.racewayparktoledo.com or call 419-476-7751.
Track boasts affordable action
Fire-breathing, ground-pounding, mud-slinging race is underway for the 58th season at Fremont Speedway, located at 2111 Hayes Ave. in the Sandusky County city.
Rich Farmer and Andy James, co-promoters who took over operations at the Fremont Speedway in 2008, said they learned a lot from their first year in business and are excited by the favorable support they have received from the business community. So much so, in fact, that they added a sponsored racing date this year.
“We’re extremely excited about the 2009 season and the affordable entertainment we can offer families,” Farmer said.
Highlights of the 2009 season include: The O’Reilly All Star Circuit of Champions and Kear’s Speed Shop Night May 23, Sunoco Late Model Series racing May 30 (fan appreciation night) and July 18; Old Timers’ Night and the first induction into the Fremont Speedway Hall of Fame will be held on McDonald’s Night June 6, Ohio Speedweek Finale featuring a $10,000 prize and a potential $50K bonus for a driver who wins the fourth race of the week at Fremont on Budweiser Night June 27; fireworks, music and a salute to the military on the Fourth of July; an open-wheel shootout featuring the 410 and 305/360 springs Aug. 15; the 10th annual 305 Sprint Invitational Sept. 6; Season Championship Night Sept. 12; All-Star Circuit of Champions Championship Night Sept. 19; non-wing 410 and 305 sprint Sept. 26; and a special extra Saturday of racing Oct. 3 as Ludwing Propane is tentatively scheduled to host 410 sprints, 305 sprints and dirt trucks.
Gates open each Saturday at 4 p.m. during the season and racing gets underway at 7 p.m. (Times may change for special events.
For more information, call 419-333-0478 or visit www.fremontohspeedway.com.
On a roll
The lights go out, but it’s not because the bowling center failed to pay the electric bill.
Glow bowling requires that patrons play in the dark, the better to see the luminescent glowing bowling balls as they roll down the alley. Several area bowling centers off glow bowling, as well as bumper rails to keep the balls out of the gutters for kids and newbie bowlers who need a little help getting, well, rolling.
Local lanes include:
• Bay Center Recreation, 3316 Navarre Ave. (SR 2), Oregon. 419-691-3593.
• Eastern Freeway Lanes, 3511 Woodville Rd. at I-280, Northwood. 419-691-8551.
• Toledo Sports Center, 1516 Starr Ave., Toledo. 419-693-0687.
• Tri County Bowling Lanes, 512 Lime St., Woodville. 419-849-3400.
• 20th Century Lanes, 1284 S. SR 19, Oak Harbor. 419-898-8701.
Y not stop in -- and enjoy the fun
There are plenty of activities for everyone at the Eastern Community YMCA, 2960 Pickle Rd. in Oregon.
The fun includes indoor and outdoor recreational activities like swimming, volleyball, tennis, gym, saunas and more. Meeting rooms and childcare are available.
For additional information, call 419-691-3523.
The Beach at International Park, located on the Eastern banks of the Maumee River, features is an eight-court facility used for recreational and tournament games. Visit www.internationalpark.org or www.toledobeachvolleyball.com for more information.
Skating through life
No matter the weather outside you can always enjoy skating indoors year-round at Fun Spot Arena in Oregon, Ohio. Founded in 1960, the family-owned rink offers in-line skating on an old-fashioned roller skating rink. Located at 525 Earlwood Avenue near Starr Avenue and I-280 in Oregon, the rink offers special rates for birthday and other private parties. For hours and more information, call 419-693-1421.