On April 16, 2009, Fort Wayne's Air National Guard flew two F-16 fighter jets over Parkview Field just before the first baseball game ever played at the ballpark. Nearly nine years later, as the TinCaps get set to begin their 10th season at one of the top minor league ballparks in the country, team President Mike Nutter can still hear those planes in his mind.
“It's been nine awesome years and we're about to embark on Year 10,” said Nutter, who has been with the franchise since 1999. “The crowd support has been better than we ever could have expected or hoped, and with the staff that I'm blessed to work with, it doesn't look like there's any let up anytime soon.”
The 10th season for the TinCaps at Parkview Field begins Saturday, when the team takes on the Lake County Captains at 6:05 p.m. Since it opened in 2009, the more than $30 million stadium has drawn in excess of 3 million fans for TinCaps games and a million more for special events. It has been Stadium Journey's top minor league ballpark in the U.S. four straight years.
“It's really amazing to see how much has already been accomplished at Parkview Field, not only for the TinCaps, but really for the city of Fort Wayne” said John Nolan, TinCaps broadcasting and media relations manager. “And in the relatively short amount of time, there really have been quite a few memorable moments both on the field and off.”
Nolan's favorite moment came early in his career as the voice of the TinCaps. He took over for Mike Cousins in midseason 2014, and on Aug. 8 of that year, the team rallied from eight runs down in the seventh inning to win 12-11 in 10 innings. Fernando Perez tied the game with a grand slam and current Washington National Trea Turner provided a walk-off single.
“To me, it was a loud as I've heard the ballpark ever during the excitement of that comeback,” said Nolan, who joined the TinCaps in 2013.
That late rally, which unfolded in front of a sellout crowd of more than 8,000 fans, gets an honorable mention slot on the list of the top 10 baseball moments at Parkview Field.