Fire pits at Dow Diamond in Midland, Mich., encourage minor-league baseball fans to congregate.
Nothing says "home" quite like a hearth, which must make Dow Diamond in Midland, Mich., home of the Midwest League's Great Lakes Loons, among the homiest fields in all of minor-league baseball. The ballpark has three sources of open flame in all - one traditional stone hearth on the main concourse behind home plate, and two fire pits set in the outfield concourse that encircles berm seating for 1,000 spectators. The raised, natural-gas-powered fire pits (they're also designed to accommodate wood) are made of precast concrete drainage tubes wrapped in brick and capped by precast concrete blocks. Costing about $5,000 each, the pits are constructed with double-cased gas lines to prevent leakage, and holes drilled at the bottom allow oxygen to feed the fire, making for a warmer flame. To further encourage fans to congregate - a not-so-difficult task on chilly fall and spring nights - designer HOK Sport specified safety railings that are outfitted with extended metal plates for resting food and drinks.