Have a ball

The Reno Aces heat up the ballpark during a game last season.

The Reno Aces heat up the ballpark during a game last season.

Photo/Eric Marks

For more information, visit greaternevadafield.com.

I’m not really a sports guy. There’s nobody I refer to as “my team.” I didn’t grow up playing anything, and I’m pretty sure we don’t get ESPN. Basically, whatever the opposite is of the rabid fan—wearing the jersey, shouting at the TV, never missing a game—that’s me.

Despite that, over the last few years I’ve found myself being wooed, slowly at first as my son started playing Little League, after trying other sports. Participating as a parent has a way of drawing you in, learning the game, the rules, the lingo, the traditions. Simultaneously, we found a fun activity for our whole family—cheering on the Reno Aces. The evolution is still in progress, but I find myself more and more in love with America’s pastime, the graceful, beautiful battle played out on grassy fields around the world that is baseball.

Aside from the occasional cold wind, it feels like spring may finally be here, and with it, baseball season. Besides helping out with the little guys, that also means some spectating at the minor league games, and a beer is almost a required accessory. Fortunately, the days of ballpark choices limited to nothing but Big Corporate Beer and Big Corporate Beer Lite are behind us. And Greater Nevada Field is on board.

On a recent evening, we found ourselves at our first Aces game of the season, thanks to a school fundraiser. Despite temperatures forecasted to dip into the 40s, our first chance at beer awaited perhaps 40 feet inside the gate so we made our first stop.

The big names still dominate, despite craft beer’s growth. From the Coors Light Party Zone to Thirsty Thursdays $2 Coors special, you’ll find no Buds here. If you visit the main concession stands for a hot dog or popcorn, it’s usually just Coors, Coors Light, maybe Blue Moon—a Coors product—or Heineken. Scattered around the park, though, you’ll find more options than you thought possible. Carts pouring drafts like Icky, Lagunitas or Sam Adams, 24-ounce cans of this, 16-ounce cans of that, Tecate, Redd’s Apple Ale and more. The mother lode, though, is the Craft Beer Garden—not an actual garden—above right field. Besides additional food options, the CBG offers about a dozen draft beers, including big names in craft like Avery, Oskar Blues and Rogue. More local brews would be nice, but there’s something here for every beer lover. Choose wisely—beers are $8.25, still not bad compared to MLB parks, I’m told, but challenging if you’re on a budget. Complaining about ballpark beer prices, though, is like complaining about summer heat in Vegas. It’s just how it is. My only other complaint is that the selection varies among the different carts and stands, so you might need to shop around if you’re looking for something specific.

Once you start paying attention, it’s a little shocking to see the breadth of alcohol options available here. Premixed canned vodka cocktails, little bottles of red and white wine, even some cocktails, like the tequila options—including margaritas—at the “Cuervo Cantina” cart. This ain’t your granddad’s ballpark, folks. The complex also includes venues like Duffy’s Ale House, Bugsy’s Sports Bar and Mexican restaurant Arroyo for more drinking choices before or after a game.

Whether you’re a recent convert like me, a lifelong fan, or a soccer junkie rooting for Reno 1868 FC, whatever your poison, you can probably find it at Greater Nevada Field. Play ball!