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Published: Friday, 6/22/2007

Hens' Roost rated best seats in minors

BY MAUREEN FULTON
BLADE SPORTS WRITER
These three Michigan residents won seats in the Roost to watch the Mud Hens play as a reward for their community volunteer work through the Monroe County Bank & Trust's Enlist program. These three Michigan residents won seats in the Roost to watch the Mud Hens play as a reward for their community volunteer work through the Monroe County Bank & Trust's Enlist program.
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The seats perched above the right-field corner of Fifth Third Field are among the most coveted in the ballpark.

Now, they've been nationally recognized as "The Best of the Minor Leagues."

ESPN.com ranked the best seats in the minor leagues and The Roost at the home of the Mud Hens was No. 1.

The article mentioned how the ballpark design incorporated the warehouse buildings, renovating one of them into office space and, "even wedging a section of elevated right-field seats between two of them."

"These Roost Seats in Ohio hang out over the right-field corner, offering fans lucky enough to sit in them an effect reminiscent of the right-field, upper-deck seats at the former Tiger Stadium," according to the article, in the sports travel section of the Web site.

"What makes you so proud of this is that when you look back on the history of baseball, part of what has made baseball so popular is the uniqueness of the ballparks," Mud Hens vice president Joe Napoli said. "To be selected No. 1 leaves you speechless."

The Roost is mainly used for parties, although Napoli said throughout the season about 25 percent of the seats are available for sale to the general public. And the interest in The Roost is only growing. This year 180 parties have already been booked for The Roost and the two floors adjacent to the seating area, which is more than all of last year.

In designing the ballpark, the Hens asked fans what kinds of features they wanted. Many responded with elements featured in old-time major-league stadiums.

The Hens took the centerfield alcove from Polo Grounds, the high left field wall from Fenway Park, the close bullpens from Wrigley Field and the perch from the former Tiger venue.

Of the 282 seats in The Roost, two rows hang over right field.

"I don't know that there are any other seats in baseball that actually overhang the field," Napoli said. "Baseball does not allow that anymore. We did it without telling them."

The Roost beat out The Tiki Seats at Bright House Networks Field, home of the Clearwater (Fla.) Threshers, for the top spot. The rest of the Top 10 list, in order, was: The Rail Kings Seats at the Altoona (Pa.) Curve's Blair County Ballpark; Second Level Boxes at Five County Stadium, where the Carolina Mudcats play; The First Base Reserved Seats at the Erie (Pa.) SeaWolves' Jerry Uht Park; The Train Shed Seats at Montgomery Riverwalk Stadium, home of the Montgomery (Ala.) Biscuits; The Massage Chair at the St. Paul Saints' Midway Stadium; The Fan Dugout at Recreation Park, where the Visalia (Calif.) Oaks play; The Back Porch at Banner Island Ballpark, home of the Stockton (Calif.) Ports; and the Ben Cheney Seats at the Tacoma Rainiers' Cheney Stadium.

Contact Maureen Fulton at:

mfulton@theblade.com

or 419-724-6160.



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