There is no shortage of options for fun things to do here on Aquidneck Island, especially in mid-July.
There are daily funs like a Newport Mansion tour, a sailing cruise, a Rail Explorer excursion, and an island tour on a rented motorbike. Then there are seasonal events unique to our region like watching a polo match, participating in the Hall of Fame Open Tennis Tournament, seeing a new outdoor screening of FILM or joining the fun Folk Festival in Fort Adams.
When considering the possibilities for fun evenings this summer, don’t forget to add Newport Gulls at Cardines Field to your list. For baseball fans young and old, there is no better value ($5 for adults and $1 for kids 12 and under) on the island for a magical night under the twilight skies.
There is magic within the confines of the 114-year-old Cardinals Stadium, named after Bernardo Cardenes, the first Newport citizen to die in World War I.
After you choose your general admission seat in the wooden stands that surround the diamonds, you look out over the field where ghosts of former Cardines Field players like Satchell Paige, Larry Doby, Yogi Berra, Phil Rizzuto and Bob Feller still roam.
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The atmosphere inside the park is cheerful, as baseball fields should be, with family-friendly fun all around. Stadium announcer Don O’Hanley, “The Voice of Cardines Field,” sets the tone for the game with his lighthearted and humorous delivery of even the simplest of statements.
The rest of the Gulls ballpark team is working hard to make every break in the game exciting. And it’s a good baseball game, too. The Seagulls are part of the New England Collegiate Baseball League, so all players aspire to be key players, and work to improve their game in their summer vacation.
In any stadium, food is an important part of the game (or so the food columnist says). Cardines franchises get the job done with all your ballpark favorites at affordable prices. There is a good selection, including sausages, hamburgers, sausages with peppers and onions, and even pizza by the slice.
Here’s a list that would make Babe Ruth happy (Legend has it that Babe once played for the Cardins, though that might just be Newport lore. He played at Providence Grays in 1914.)
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The park’s menu also offers sunflower seeds, peanuts (what’s a baseball without seeds and peanuts?), and an assortment of candies and chewing gum. There’s also boxed candy ice cream and soft ice cream. Digging a spoon into a rolled-up pile of cool vanilla ice cream with green grass in the lit field under lights and the setting sun washing up the pink sky is the stuff of perfect summer moments.
One of the things that makes the game in Cardines Field so great is the location. When you leave the field, you step out into the heart of Newport with an abundance of dining options. Grab a soccer sausage as an appetizer, then wander across the street to the Skiff Bar at the Marriott and enjoy a leisurely dinner.
Or grab some post-game tacos at Perro Salado or at La Vecina Taqueria. Perhaps you can walk to Brick Alley Pub for one of the famous Nacho dishes. Or just enjoy the game and then check out the entertainment in The Fifth Element. The positive impact of game nights flows into almost every downtown business. People come in for a baseball game, but spend a night in Newport (just as the voice in the cornfield suggested they would).
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Many of our local hospitality community are gull herders. My compliments to Ma’s Donuts for sponsoring an in-between donut eating contest. Shout out to The Reef for sponsoring the 8th inning hula hop competition and Frosty Freez for posting a “Game Tonight” banner so that anyone on the East Highway can see it.
These players should be hungry after nine runs. Don’t worry, the people at Mykono Pub are going to feed them. They also offer a 10% discount for patrons who come from a game. This is how the community comes together and makes every game and every summer more fun.
There are only a few weeks left in the season, but there is still plenty of time to enjoy the game. The gulls are doing a great job and are currently number one in the coastal section. They’re ready to fly when it’s game time.
For now, they can use more fans to cheer them up. And we could always use another fun way to enjoy a summer night and support our local business. So be sure to put game gulls on your summer bucket list.
Come have fun and come hungry. Then root, root, root for the home team.
Dan Leader is a Middletown resident with 30 years of experience in the food service industry throughout New England. He continues to work locally behind the scenes within the industry and remains a loyal fan of all things restaurant and hospitality. His column appears on newportri.com and Thursday in the Daily News. cheers!