There's really no better way to celebrate the Canadian spirit than watching a spirited game of baseball, and here at Nat Bailey Stadium, you pretty much get the best of both worlds.
Let us tell you, the crowd here is wild, and it's almost impossible not to get caught up in the excitement. And if it's your first time, don't worry; we've got a bunch of helpful info here to make sure you have the best experience.
1. It was named after a baseball advocate and executive
The Nat Bailey stadium was named after Nathaniel Bailey, an avid baseball fan and restaurateur. So, what's the big deal about this guy, and why did they name a stadium after him? Well, it all starts with Bailey's restaurant, the White Spot.
Bailey opened Canada's first drive-in restaurant, the White Spot, in 1928, and once it was successful enough for him to branch out, he used a large portion of his profits to sponsor little league teams!
With the restaurant's continuous success, he then bought the Triple-A Vancouver Mounties and helped push the city's interest in baseball to new heights. Sadly, he passed away in 1978, and that was when the stadium was renamed in his honor.
You see? Bailey has contributed a lot to sports! So much so that he was honored in the Vancouver Baseball Hall of Fame and the B.C. Sports Hall of Fame.
2. The stadium can seat up to 5,157 people
Despite being almost 72 years old, the Nat Bailey Stadium can hold a pretty large number of baseball fans. It can seat up to 5,157 baseball fans across its grandstands, bleachers, and outfield seating areas!
3. It matters a lot to the city
The Nat is a staple of the Vancouver sports scene, as it’s the longest-standing sports venue in the city! Let’s see, the Rogers Arena is around 20 years old, and B.C. Place is around 35 to 45, but Nat is over 70 years old—that’s quite impressive.
So the Nat’s notable honor from the Vancouver Heritage Foundation is more than well-deserved. It was honored with a ‘Places that Matter‘ plaque in recognition of its significance in Vancouver.
4. The WestJet Plus Zone are the best seats in the stadium
If you’re looking for the best seats at the Nat Bailey Stadium, there’s really no other answer than the WestJet Plus Zone. These seats are located right behind home plate, offering an unparalleled view of the game.
Not only do you get to see every pitch and swing up close and personal, but you also get in-seat food with a large menu to choose from and a beverage service. Regular ticket prices for WestJet Plus Zone are at $2,112, while season tickets cost $1,450.
5. Water bottles are allowed here!
You’re probably used to hearing all about the rule that you can’t bring your own beverage inside a sports stadium. But here’s some good news! The Nat actually allows water bottles inside!
Just make sure that it’s a sealed, clear plastic water bottle and it doesn’t hold more than 32 oz. There’s also lots of water fountains in the stadium if you need a refill.
6. You can get 3-feet long hotdogs here
If you ever worry that you’re going to get hungry while watching a game at the Nat, we think you’re good. You see, giant hotdogs are a big deal for Vancouverites, and here, you can get 3-foot-long hotdogs to fill your tummy.
But hey, if that’s not your thing, there are plenty of other foods here like fries, nachos, cheeseburgers, and other classic fast food favorites.
7. Check the seating chart before you buy tickets!
Taking a look at the seating chart before buying tickets is a wise way to decide which seats will provide the best view and experience. If you’re not too picky about your seat, you can always opt for the grandstand ($20).
If you’d like to have a better view that’s not too pricey, the box seats ($25) are a great option. They offer a closer proximity to the action than grandstand seats, but the best of the best are those in the premium zone ($32), seated right behind home plate.
8. The Skytrain is the best way to get there
Okay, we know it’s not the fanciest way to get to the stadium, but we think you’d find taking the Skytrain much more convenient than having to deal with the parking situation at the Nat.
So, what you’re going to do is ride the Skytrain from any station and get off at the King Edward Skytrain Station on the Canada Line. From here, the stadium is only five blocks away (15-minute walk).
9. You can’t bring large bags!
We’d hate to see you make a return trip just because your bag doesn’t meet the stadium policy, so listen up! Bring a clear bag that’s not larger than 12″ x 6″ x 12”.
Security personnel must be able to see inside your bag from top to bottom, so maybe don’t bring a multi-compartment backpack to avoid any delays or complications at the entrance.
Your safe bet is to bring a simple, transparent bag that allows for quick and thorough inspection.
10. Arrive one hour or earlier before the game starts
Gates open one hour before the First Pitch, so it’s a good idea to arrive an hour or two before the game starts to ensure you have enough time to get through security and settle in your seats.
Lines also get pretty long as game time approaches, especially on popular game days or during peak seasons. Plus, don’t you just love the excitement of being in the stadium before the game begins?
11. It’s a good idea to wear sunscreen
It doesn’t matter if you’re seated at the covered seats; the sun gets pretty intense, and if you’re watching a baseball game that would probably take around three hours, it’s a good idea to bring sunscreen or a hat to protect yourself from the sun’s rays.
12. There are plenty of covered seats here
If you prefer to watch from a shaded location, the Nat has you covered. The majority of the grandstand seating is shaded by a classic wooden roof, allowing you to enjoy the event without being directly exposed to the sun.
There’s also padded seating and a large covered picnic area at the right field end of the grandstand if you’re willing to splurge on VIP tickets.
13. Look out for the sushi race!
Here’s a unique tradition at the Nat Bailey Stadium: After the 4th inning, a race between sushi mascots takes place on the field, much to the delight of the crowd.
It’s a fun little inning break with six racers: Chef Wasabi, Kappa Maki, Ms. BC Roll, Sadaharu Soy, and the Chopstick twins dressed as various types of sushi rolls. These sushi rolls compete for the title of the fastest sushi racer!
14. Re-entry is at the first and third base gate
Now, if you can’t recall if you locked your car and need to leave the stadium to check, keep in mind that you can only re-enter through the first and third base gate entrances ONLY.
The security guards will stamp your hand upon exiting the stadium as proof that you have already been screened. You can’t re-enter through any other gate than these two, and make sure to bring your ticket and show your hand stamp upon re-entering.
15. Wait for the post game fireworks
Once the game is over, stay a while and wait for the post game fireworks! You’re not going to be able to get out anyway, as the crowd will be exiting the stadium all at once, so it’s better to enjoy the spectacle and avoid the rush.
However, this fireworks display only happens at select games throughout the season, so make sure to check the schedule beforehand.
Well, now that you’re well-informed about the ins and outs of the Nat Bailey Stadium, you should be good to go for your visit to a Vancouver Canadians baseball game!
While you’re in the area, why not consider exploring some of the other attractions nearby? We just so happen to have these articles in handy!