Before it tumbled into disrepair, Cooper Stadium was the envy of minor-league baseball, a sturdy bastion originally built from brick and redwood during the Great Depression.

Before it tumbled into disrepair, Cooper Stadium was the envy of minor-league baseball, a sturdy bastion originally built from brick and redwood during the Great Depression.

As the Columbus Clippers take the field Saturday afternoon against the Toledo Mud Hens, the eyes of triple-A will again turn to see the inaugural game in the team's stunning new home.

Like baseball's best fields, Huntington Park is that rare public project everyone can get behind. An economic engine. A declaration of civic pride. A place where neighborhood sluggers can ride their bikes, enter for $3 and dream.

Here's a bit of the beauty you'll discover this season.

History bar

Clippers staff wanted to honor the rich history of Columbus baseball. Thus, the exquisite bar in the AEP Power Pavilion, which will be a party hot spot just beyond left field. Inlaid into 130 feet of the wooden belly-up are photos, trading cards and memorabilia dating back more than a century.

Skyline

The decision to orient the park facing southeast means fans get an absolutely stunning view of the Downtown skyline from their seats. In a bit of serendipity for righties, it also means the city's regular west-to-east winds will carry pulled fastballs over the left-field wall.

Digital scoreboard

The Coop could never adapt to fans' current lust for replays and flashy images between pitches. Huntington, though, is equipped with a crystal-clear digital scoreboard in center field. Several smaller electronic boards around the seating areas show pitch speed, game info and results from around the league.

Street-level viewing

Like the best ballparks, this gem at the corner of Neil Avenue and Nationwide Boulevard is woven into the fabric of the city. The playing surface was sunk below street level, so pedestrians can glimpse the action from the sidewalk.

Picnic area

Perhaps knowing that minor-league action isn't always a top draw, ballpark designers have adorned the space with plenty of amenities for those who just want to sit in the sun and drink a draft beer. Beyond the outfield lie bleachers, a grassy blanket area, picnic tables and a fountain that (big) kids can run through.

Left field

Squeezing the park into one city block required tightening up some things. The left field wall, for example, was shortened to 325 feet. Also, the distance between home plate and the backstop was shortened to 48 feet from 60 feet. That means fans in the first few rows are closer to the batter than the pitcher is.

Mini Green Monster

The Clippers' new digs might draw more comparisons to Camden Yards, home of the Baltimore Orioles, but they took one cue from Fenway Park. The "mini Green Monster" is a two-level home-run porch where fans can stretch their legs and remain engaged. Adding small high-top tables was a nice touch.

Bullpen

Relief pitchers will need to keep an eye out for foul balls, because bullpens are on the field, similar to the layout at Wrigley Field. Though a bit dangerous, this layout is one way Huntington Park combines a modern look with the charm and feel of baseball's history.

Section flags

Much of the park's beauty lies in its attention to detail: logos emblazoned on end seats, a subtle color scheme of green and brick, and unique flags that mark the sections. On each one is a favorite Clippers player, like Enos Slaughter or Nick Collop, pictured here.

Getting there

Parking

Numerous lots around Huntington Park offer about 14,000 parking spaces within a 10-minute walk, and parking for Clippers games will cost $3.

But there's a catch.

If there's a conflicting event at LC Pavilion, the Arena Grand or Nationwide Arena, some lots will be more expensive. When there are no other special events in the Arena District, rates at all 13 area lots will remain at $3.

To ensure you're getting a spot at the lowest rate, use "Click and Park," an online reservation service. When you order online, you'll get an e-mail permit that can be printed and displayed in a specific lot. A service charge of $1 is added.

Bike racks will be installed at the left-field entrance by opening day.

Web: arenadistrictparking.com

Tickets

There's not a bad seat in Huntington Park. There are, however, different prices for seats during the 72 home games played through Sept. 7. Tickets are available at Ticketmaster locations and the park's box office. You also can call 614-462-5250 or hit up Ticketmaster.com.

Most club-level seats have been sold, but a few may be up for grabs on some days for $20. Here's a breakdown of what you'll pay to see the game.

Box: $12 advance, $15 day of game

Reserved: $10 for adults, $7 for seniors and children 12 and under

General admission: $6 for adults, $3 for seniors and children 12 and under