It’s one tier below Major League, but Coca-Cola Park in Allentown PA is one of the greatest places in North America to take in some baseball on a warm summer day. It is the home field of the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, the AAA affiliate of our Philadelphia Phillies. The team’s colorful name, stadium signage, and sometimes wacky uniform logos reflect the heritage of the area’s steel and iron and coal mining industries.
The stadium seats slightly under 10,000 spectators and affords a reasonably priced opportunity to see players possibly destined for careers in MLB. Shown upper, left, is shortstop J. P. Crawford on the scoreboard. The home team went on to win big 16-1 v the Durham NC Bulls. However, things got a bit more tense as the night wore on with Crawford getting brushed back by a ball thrown tight inside, resulting in the pitcher’s ejection from the game, upper, right. After the game’s on-field fireworks, fans stayed around for a nice display of colorful, aerial summer night pyrotechnics, lower, left. The next day saw the IronPigs drop a Sunday afternoon game to the Bulls. Shown, lower, right, is outfielder Cedric Hunter just before hitting a home run during the game.
And, yes, that is a strip of bacon painted on the field behind home plate! In fact, the food vendors at this ballpark serve some of the best comfort food in all of baseball. Obviously bacon is served up in various varieties, along with roasted corn on the cob and very fresh soft pretzels. The sausage and pepper and bratwurst come with thick soft rolls sliced right in the middle so that your sandwich filling doesn’t squirt out the end of a squishy long roll. I hate when that happens! The gyros are absolutely delicious.
It is worthwhile to stay in nearby Bethlehem where you can explore the town’s historical areas and eating establishments between baseball outings. Happy Summer ’16!