Baseball in High Point came by way of a Connecticut city council. In 2017, the city of Bridgeport voted not to renew their contract with the independent Atlantic League Bluefish and decided instead to turn The Ballpark at Harbor Yard into a concert venue. This ended 20 years of Indy ball in the city, but the franchise found new life after the league approved a move to High Point, NC, in 2018.
That same year, the team broke ground on the new BB&T Point, a 5,000-seat downtown ballpark with naming rights pre-purchased by the banking firm. A team-naming contest in 2018 eventually yielded the “Rockers” moniker, not referring to any musical pedigree, but the city’s reputation as the “Home Furnishings Capital of the World,” with a rocking-horse mascot, Hype, soon following. The stadium opened on time, and the Rockers started their existence with an opening-day win against the Sugar Land Skeeters on May 2, 2019, but much construction in and around the stadium remains to be completed.
Even with work to be done, the now named, Truist Point is a stand-out physical facility that is solid in most other areas and a good value to see a game of baseball.
Food & Beverage 3
The consumable options at BB&T Park are solid, but not outstanding. You can get your beer on and grab some standard ballpark grub, but you aren’t going to be paralyzed by all the choices.
The food selection is good, but not great. The main concessions are on the third base side of the promenade. “Game Day Favorites” serves up baskets with fries of cheeseburgers ($9), chicken tenders ($9) and Rocker Dogs ($7), with a’la carte Rocker Dogs going for $5. “Carolina Classics” has pulled pork sandwiches baskets ($9) and specialty hot dog baskets ($7), or $5 for stand-alone specialty dogs.
Your drinks selection is also mostly average. Most concessions sell $9 souvenir premium/$8 domestic beers, with $5 for a small domestic. The range includes Michelob Ultra, Landshark, local Brown Truck, and Bud Light. Your best bet is The High Pint (“First in Flights”), which has a regular selection of craft beers on tap for $9 or $7, or tasting flights. Coca-Cola is the non-alcoholic drinks of choice.
For your suds, try a High-Point local Brown Truck ($7/$9). And you’re in their stadium, you might as well try an all-beef Rocker Dog ($5 alone, $7 w/ fries).
Although still working out the kinks and finishing construction, Truist Point is still an excellent facility, especially for independent baseball.
All the entrances to the park dump out onto a main promenade that circles the entire field above the one level of seats that extends down from outfield corner to outfield corner. There are party decks in both outfield corners, bleacher seats in left field, and the HR Club and HPU Vintage Seats in right, under the scoreboard. There is a large children’s play area on the promenade in left field (with rocking chairs nearby), and the “Davis Deck” behind home plate has some cornhole games.
All the concessions are on the promenade as well, so you can grab grub while still watching the game. Luxury Boxes and the Catalyst Club (for box-seat patrons) are in a long, low building running down the first baseline, ending with a slightly atypical press box.
The main scoreboard is a large, fully digital board in right-center set against the trees and buildings of downtown, above an outfield wall with advertisements printed on the wall itself. A small auxiliary scoreboard is at the end of the buildings on first base. A temporary dog park is located in right field until the final park is completed for this pet-friendly stadium. “Blessing Park” in left field is also similarly under construction, but none of it is open to the public as of yet.
The pre-game and between-inning entertainment centers on Hype, the rocking horse mascot. The activities are almost a check list of standard minor league events, such as bat races, quizzes, mascots races, and the like.
You can have the best seat in the house for $14, so splurge if you’re in the mood. None of the seats have a bad view, and if you want a cheap day out while catching some sun, the $10 Outfield Boxes are still really close to the action.
The “furnishings capitol of the world” has seen better days, but just as with nearby Fayetteville (with its own team opening this year), High Point is betting on revitalizing the downtown area with big, ongoing redevelopment centered on the park. While most of that is still under construction, there are still decent amenities in the town.
Main Street north of the park offers a decent selection of local restaurants. Nearest the park is the Mediterranean Sumela. Further north is a cache of home-style comfort-food joints, including Alex’s House Restaurant, Fixins’ American Craft Eatery, Tom’s Place, Blue Zucchini, and long-time local favorite Kepley’s Barbecue (don’t forget to leave room for the homemade cobbler).
The city of High Point has a few attractions to keep you busy. City Lake Park is a popular destination during the baseball season months, with a water slide pool, mini golf, pontoon tours, a carousel, and playgrounds. The All-A-Flutter Butterfly Farm is another stop for nature lovers. For adult fun, you can check out the local Brown Truck Brewery. And just down the street from the ballpark, you might as well have some kitschy fun and see the World’s Largest Chest of Drawers.
There are only a few hotels in High Point until the redevelopment completes. Closest to the park is the upper-end J.H. Adams Inn, while south by the Amtrak station are the more budget-conscious Red Lion Hotel High Point, Townhouse Inn High Point, and the Atrium Inn.
In the critical first year of a franchise, especially for non-affiliated independent baseball, it is all about building a regular fan base, and while the Rockers aren’t tearing up the Atlantic League, they seem on their way to establishing that crucial fan base.
In their inaugural season, the Rockers aren’t exactly rocking the attendance charts in the Atlantic League. So far, they are towards the bottom of the league in attendance, which may bode poorly for a franchise in a state rife with MiLB-affiliated teams. (Greensboro and Winston-Salem are almost directly next door to High Point, for example.) But with indy-league teams, it may take a little while for word-of-mouth to grow a fan base for the new offering.
While they aren’t selling out their spacious stadium, the Rockers are drawing decent crowds for their games and seem to be developing a respectable local following. The fans that are showing up seem dedicated, with most already decked out in team gear and lining up a good half hour or so before gates open. Indy-league games are definitely family affairs first and baseball games second, but during the game itself, the fans are loud and into the action on the field as much as using the other facilities in the park.
High Point is located in the heart of North Carolina, near Winston-Salem and an hour or so west of Durham and Raleigh. It is a convenient drive with adequate parking facilities even during construction, and it is easy to get around the park once you get in.
The CHP Bus system services the city, and North Main Route 10 and English Road Route 19 have stops near the park from other places in town ($1.25). The High Point Amtrak station is just down Main Street from the park, and the closest major airport in Raleigh-Durham about an hour and fifteen minutes to the east of town. Driving-wise, the park is just to the north of northern spur of I-85 and just west of I-74, and it is about a half-hour from both Winston-Salem and Greensboro.
The main stadium parking lot isn’t completed yet, but the surrounding businesses around the park are all either officially or unofficially renting out their lots on game days for $3-$5, in addition to the free on-street parking if you are an early enough arriver. The cheapest and closest lots fill up first, but there is no problem finding parking on the street further away from the park, or at the larger $5 private lots a block or two from the stadium.
There are three entrances to the park. The main Home Plate entrance seems always to be open, but the others (Center Field and Right Field/VIP) may be hit or miss depending on the game. It doesn’t seem to matter too much, as the line only has a bag check and moves swiftly once the doors to the park open up an hour before the game.
There’s no problem getting around the park for the most part. Wide walkways circle the entire park, preventing any backups. The first base side of seating between the home dugout and the Catalyst Club, however, only have access from the promenade at the ends of the club buildings, with a small walkway at the top of the section. So there can be some backups there with long distances to get in and out if you’re sitting in the middle of those sections.
Return on Investment 4
As with most independent-league baseball, affordability is top-of-mind, and the Rockers deliver on that mandate.
Tickets in right field on the Home Run Porch are just $5, as are the bleachers in left. Outfield Box seats are $10, Infield Box seats are $12, and Home Plate Box seats top out at $14. These prices are cheap compared even to MiLB, and are about average for the Atlantic League.
All the food and drink are under $10. Parking is at most $5 and can be free, and the programs are a free giveaway. You can have a night out with a family for under $50, so what’s not to like?
The park has just opened, so there’s little to be had for history, but there are already a string of seven retired numbers on the first base side luxury boxes. The High Pint does double-duty as a team merchandise store, along with a smaller stand by the customer relations booth. The HPU Vintage Seats under the main scoreboard are neat, featuring old seats from classic parks around the country, and a POW-MIA Seat is by home plate.
Truist Point will only get better once the construction during its first season is completed, delivering good value for a growing fanbase while checking all the necessary boxes.