Bears and Eagles Riverfront Stadium
Newark, New Jersey
Year Opened
1999

Current Team
Newark Bears

Affiliate
None

League
Atlantic League

Capacity
6,000

Location Map

My Grades
Stadium A Atmosphere B+ Concessions D

Photos taken in 2008
Bears and Eagles Riverfront Stadium is a great example of why downtown parks work so well. Because it was tucked in between 4 streets, it allows for some oddities that make this a much more interesting park than those that are built on open pieces of land. The park is built in the typical fashion of other 6000 seat facilities with the concourse overlooking the field and the luxury boxes above the concourse. But because of a couple of differences, I like this park more than those in Somerset and Long Island. First, the press box is not on the concourse level - this allows the concourse area to have a much more open feel to it. This also means that you can see the game from anywhere on the concourse. Secondly, there is no unnecessary middle concourse like at EAB Park or Campbell's Field. This allows for more seats to be close to the action. Because the park had to be tucked into its setting, there is little foul territory making the seats quite close to the field. The scoreboard is located in right field and features a very sharp video screen. And the Bears use it for more than just advertising. The concessions, which had been well varied and of decent quality, seemed to have a taken a significant downturn. On my 2008 visit, I noticed that pretty much only the standard ballpark fare (hot dogs, sausages, popcorn, cracker jacks) was offered - no chicken, no Dippin Dots, no fried dough. Also, the employees working the concession stands seemed incompetent and indifferent to customer service. A large gift shop is located behind home plate and features a ton of Bears merchandise as well as a small Newark Bears Hall of Fame. The backdrop is interesting in all directions around the park. There are tall buildings behind the first base side. A bridge is in view over the left field fence. And the Manhattan skyline is visible in the distance in center field. The parking situation, which was poor the first few years, has improved with the building of a large parking garage just past the right field corner. The price ($5) is a bit high for the minor leagues, but acceptable given the downtown location. The atmosphere here is pretty typical of minor league parks, though they do a couple of unique between inning contests. Their mascot, Rippin Ruppert, is one of the harder working mascots you'll find. This should be a good place to see a game - it is intimate and the setting is interesting, but for some reason, the overall experience has gone downhill in recent years. Upkeep on the park seems to be lacking and the concession situation is a mess. Attendance has never been great (and probably never will be), but hopefully baseball can remain here. Among the Atlantic League parks, it is still one of my favorites.
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All Photos Copyright Brian Merzbach
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