Out of left field: Rent a minor league stadium for $1,500 on Airbnb

The Pensacola Blue Wahoos minor league baseball team, the Class AA affiliate of the Minnesota Twins, had an idea that, as the saying goes, came out of left field — and it includes left field and the rest of the team’s ballpark.

With no baseball games being played, the Blue Wahoos have decided to use their stadium essentially as a hotel. Admiral Fetterman Field at Blue Wahoos Stadium is listed on Airbnb for guests to rent, and in less than 24 hours, all 33 dates that were offered were sold out.

Depending on the plan for the minor league baseball schedule this summer, more dates will be offered in the future.

For the fan who always wanted to eat, breathe and sleep baseball, accommodations at the Blue Wahoos’ stadium is the ticket. The package costs $1,500 and is for up to 10 guests who will then have full access to the Blue Wahoos’ clubhouse, batting cage and entire field to be able to do everything from hit from home plate to play catch in the outfield.

With no revenue coming in from baseball games, the Blue Wahoos had already turned their stadium into the largest open-air restaurant in the Florida panhandle, complete with curbside service. The transformation of the stadium into a hotel takes the minor league team’s creativity to a major league level.

The Blue Wahoos’ clubhouse has been turned into guest sleeping quarters, including bunk beds, and queen- and king-size beds. With no windows in the clubhouse, it should be dark and perfect for sleeping, but night lights have been added to make sure guests can find their way in the middle of the night.

“We also have a bunch of interesting upgrades,” said Pensacola Blue Wahoos president Jonathan Griffith, a native of Gaithersburg, Maryland. “You can have your own firework show, you can have your own movie night. We have a chef who can set up the clubhouse with a huge food spread just like the major leaguers have. We can set up the field to play a game and you can even request your own walk-up music.”

Walk-up music like “Baby Shark,” and just about anything else within reason, is possible for guests staying at the Blue Wahoos’ stadium. Guests just have to reach out to the concierge — yes, the stadium has one now — to have questions answered or requests filled.

Check-in time for the Blue Wahoos stadium is 3 p.m., and check out is the next day at 11 a.m. The Blue Wahoos allow four hours to clean the stadium, following CDC guidelines, to get ready for the next guests.

Before the stadium was listed on Airbnb, Griffith thought staying overnight at the home of the Blue Wahoos would primarily be attractive to little league baseball teams. Instead, lodging in a stadium has appealed to a wide range of people looking for a unique place for everything from a birthday party or bachelor party to a business group.

The Blue Wahoos are committed to finding a way to please their guests. Two-time Masters champion golfer Bubba Watson is one of the Blue Wahoos’ co-owners, and he also owns a candy and ice cream shop in Pensacola. One of the first groups staying overnight at the stadium has requested an ice cream bar from Bubba’s shop to be set up in the clubhouse.

Watson’s influence in having fun at the stadium is also on display every Thursday in the outfield. A nine-hole disc golf course designed by Watson is open to the public and will be an extra perk for those already booked to stay overnight in the stadium.

The Blue Wahoos’ stadium is also open every day for dining. Food is a quintessential part of the minor league baseball experience, and the Blue Wahoos have their own signature dish called the “Crabzilla,” which is full soft-shell crab, crab rémoulade, pork belly, Parmesan crab mac and cheese, fried shrimp, crab pups, lettuce, tomato and crab fries in one a large gourmet basket.

The “Crabzilla” earned the Blue Wahoos the “Best New Food Item” award from Ballpark Digest in 2019.

Along with the food served, the Blue Wahoos have decided to keep serving up the zany atmosphere and wild promotions associated with minor league baseball — even if there aren’t games right now.

“Even with the dinners we have going on at the ballpark, we also have entertainment like we have during a baseball game,” said Griffith. “We have the dizzy bat race, we have the mascots running around and all kinds of contests. It’s almost like a dinner show. Unfortunately, no baseball, but why not still have that great fun and entertainment every day?”

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Dave Johnson

Dave Johnson is Senior Sports Director and morning sports anchor. He first arrived at WTOP in 1989, left in 1992 and returned in 1995. He is a three-time winner of the A.I.R. award as best radio sportscaster in D.C. In 2008 he won the Edward R. Murrow award for best writing for sports commentaries.

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