The Lehigh Valley IronPigs and Coca-Cola Park have received many awards over the years.
Most recently, it was the coveted “Golden Bobblehead” award for best promotion for its cheesesteak-themed “Salute to Philadelphia” Night, which included a one-day name change to the Lehigh Valley Steaks.
The venue has also been consistently ranked as having the highest average per-game attendance of all of the minor league baseball teams in the country since it opened in 2008.
But the stadium may now be up for its most prestigious, or at least – interesting – honor. It’s one of 10 finalists for Cintas Corp.’s “America’s Best Restrooms” contest.
The stadium is being honored for the interactive video game terminals in the park’s men’s rooms.
In 2013, the park became the first sports venue in the world to install an interactive “Urinal Gaming System.”
For those who haven’t tried their hand – or whatever – at the game, the concept is simple.
When a user approaches the urinal, the video console flips into gaming mode. Using patented technology that detects both the user’s presence and, um, urine stream, the user can aim said stream in different directions to test his agility and knowledge.
The urinal games were originally sponsored by Lehigh Valley Health Network to promote prostate health awareness. Now, Jon Schaeffer, new media director for the Pigs, said they’re mostly there for entertainment value, and entertain they do.
“It’s been very well received and they are still popular,” Schaeffer said. “It always garners reactions and smiles and questions like – ‘really?’ ”
While being nominated for best restroom is honor enough, the ballpark bathrooms have some tough competition from the other potty players during the public voting which continues through Nov. 2.
As much as I love to support my hometown team, I haven’t seen or used the video games, and there is no equivalent for women. (Kudos to the developer that could make THAT work.)
Also, they’re up against a Dr. Who-themed bathroom at The Way Station in Brooklyn. That restroom features a colorful mural on all four walls by Jonathan Fritz and translucent windows to notify guests when it’s occupied. The ceiling resembles a starry night sky.
It has also been used by an actual Dr. Who. Actor Matt Smith, who portrayed the 11th doctor, was listed among its visitors.
I’ll give Coca-Cola Park a solid lead, however, over the restroom at the Safe House in Milwaukee. To get to the facilities of the undercover spy-themed restaurant, guests, or “agents,” must navigate a series of mazes and avoid a trick door, with a brick wall behind it.
For anyone who’s had to find the bathroom in a hurry – and who hasn’t – that seems just a bit cruel. I’d avoid the light beer at this place.
Last year’s winner was the Town of Minturn, Colo., for its restroom that resembles a passageway into a Rocky Mountain mine.
Cintas, which sells restroom supplies to more than 900,000 businesses, said it chose the finalists based on cleanliness, visual appeal, innovation, functionality and unique design elements.
The winner will receive $2,500 in facility services from Cintas. To vote, visit www.bestrestroom.com/us.