Lindquist Field is a stadium in Ogden, Utah
Spring Mobile Ballpark (formerly known as Franklin Quest Field, and later Franklin Covey Field is a baseball park in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Hammons Field is a minor league ballpark in downtown Springfield, Missouri
Friday, October 11, 2013
This stadium visit has been the hardest to write about and I think the main reason was this visit was a last minute decision that required me to miss a Milwaukee Brewers game. This was the swing day on my trip were I could have drove to any baseball activity and I decided to turn the day into a doubleheader with a night time game at Quad Cities. This was probably the first time I was more interested in seeing a certain player rather then experiencing a new stadium. New Memorial Stadium is located in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and is the home of the Cedar Rapid Kernels. The Kernels are entering their first year as the Low A affiliate of the Minnesota Twins after a twenty year history with the Angels, and its another one of those stadiums in the Midwest where Minor League Baseball has been played for a while. This stadium has gone thru multiple renovations but the current model seats around 5,300 total. It features a little bit of everything with twelve luxury suites, a mezzanine terrace in the upper deck behind first base, a pavilion in left field, and a pre-game picnic area. The only thing its really missing is a nice backdrop.
With my visits, I never look up anything on the stadium other then the stadiums address and game times. With this stadium, I wished I would have read more about it because I wasted a good forty minutes standing at the wrong entry gate.
The Kernels and Twins agreed to a 4 year Player Development Contract in 2012 and it made a lot of sense geographically. Cedar Rapids is the closest affiliated club to the Twin Cities within their market.
The Diamond Shop doesn't look that impressive from the concourse entrance but is a must if you have some spare time.
I spent more time reading all the stars on the Walk of Fame along the concourse then I did autographing. I love this kind of stuff.
Interesting view of the diamond.
Saturday, July 20, 2013
Community Field was one of three stadiums on my trip that I was really looking forward to yet it was the most disappointing. It could have been the chilly weather or the bland backdrop of the stadium. It could have been that it was a School Day game or that I was willing to drink hot chocolate with a hot dog. My general consensus is that there are no bad baseball parks but Community Field comes close to it for me . Community Field was completed in 1973 and has gone through many renovations. It is home of the Burlington Bess that are entering their first year of affiliation with the Los Angeles Angels in the Midwest League. Burlington is the smallest city to host a full season affiliated team in Minor League Baseball. I was told this stadium holds 3,500 people but I don't believe it. This stadium has changed the way I look at my past visits and will influence my future write-ups.
Community Field has poor sight lines everywhere that follow you around the stadium to the point that I found myself spending more time on my cellphone and wishing the game would have gone by quicker. If its not netting blocking your view, its the support poles. I never seen dugouts block the view of the infield from several seating areas along the baselines in a stadium like I saw inside Community Field. I seen pictures to this stadium before the renovations inside the gift store and its like they never addressed these problems.
The concourse helped set the tone by offering nothing entertainment wise and producing some rather boring pictures.
With all the history of Minor League Baseball in Burlington, the only historical references to that history was found in the gift shop. I spent a good three innings in the gift shop due to the coldness. It was filled with a ton of a kids making any good pictures impossible.
The scoreboard was basic and no berm seating. Overall, probably the most baren affiliated ballpark in which I have watched a baseball game.
Parking was free and the lowest ticket offered to me was $8.00 because the game was almost sold out since it was a School Day game. Due to how cold it was, I only had a cup of hot chocolate for $2.00. I tried to buy an old baseball card set from the gift shop but was told they were for display purposes only.
The kids provided some entertainment but their enthusiasm at times would have been better suited for a football game. This didn't feel like a Minor League baseball game for me. I normally do not pay attention to the mascots but I saw none during my time in the stadium. I don't remember any on the field promotions during this game which was odd.
Obtaining autographs at Community Field looked like it was going to be easy but that was not the case. Both teams enter and exit their clubhouse which is attached to the dugout thru the concourse on opposite sides of the stadium. I tried to get the visiting team players pre-game while they were getting snacks from the concession stands. The majority told me it was too cold to be signing autographs and that they would look for me when they were warming up on the field. Even coaches like Jose Valentine that have signed eight items for me in the past at once waved me off. Access to the players on the fields during warm-ups was terrible because of the netting and fencing. Along the 1st base side, I literally had to go onto the field to stop some players at a fence opening only to be told "not right now". You have no access to either teams pitchers once they make it to the bullpen due to the chain link fencing extending all the way down the outfield fences.
Saturday, July 13, 2013
Modern Woodman Park is located in Davenport, Iowa and is the home of the Quad Cities River Bandits. The River Bandits are entering their first year as the Low A affiliate of the Houston Astros, and its another one of those stadiums in the Midwest where Minor League Baseball has been played for a while. I became interested in this stadium after watching the movie "Sugar" which was filmed in 2007 at Modern Woodmen Park. I was worried that I wouldn't get to actually watch a game played here due to the mighty Mississippi River flooding this ballpark as it often does in late April (or so I've been warned by other baseball chasers). I called a couple of days early and was told that they had a makeshift bridge for access in and out of the ballpark along with a flood wall that keeps the majority of the water out of the ballpark. Some amenities of the ballpark wouldn't be operating for safety concerns; but for the most part they told me to still come to the park.
I will be honest, before my visit I didn't have any knowledge of why this area was called the Quad Cities. I just knew it had a ballpark that I wanted to visit with a bridge in the background. I left with the understanding that the two coolest elements of the ballpark aren't really even part of the stadium. That bridge that I mentioned is the Centennial Bridge connecting Iowa and Illinois and cannot be ignored. It follows you around the stadium and makes for some very interesting photos.
The second element is the Mississippi River. When they mentioned flooding during my phone call, I am picturing a stadium at least two football fields distance away from the river. Not a mere two feet from the outfield concourse with all kind of boats passing by.
Modern Woodman Park is basic with its seating bowl behind the grandstand with blue fold down seats and a 360 degree walk around concourse. The luxury boxes are elevated around the grandstand. This stadium has a good amenities set up and the netting offers no poor sightlines.
Everything is within walking distance- so no long treks to the bathroom! I despise picnic table seating but these tables inside this stadium are close enough along the first baseline which makes them useful. The berm actually faces the infield, also making it a worthwhile place to watch a couple of innings.
There can't be that many stadiums with a berm area this close to the outfield and this ballpark featured very little foul room making just about every seat in the stadium close to the field. The only thing I would change is the bleachers down the left field line which look out of place with the rest of the interior.
One small recommendation- bring some Off if you're planning on going to a game. My visit was in late April and several of us were attacked by mosquitoes because of the stadium's proximity to the Mississippi River.
It got so bad I had to spend some time in the gift shop. I can't imagine what those annoying mosquitoes are like in the middle of summer.
Parking was free and I had decided early on in my trip that free parking meant I would splurge on sitting behind home plate so I purchased a lower box seat for $11.00.
I usually don't mention food in my blog but this ballpark featured one of the best items my mouth has tasted inside a ballpark not cooked by Dreamland. It was a grilled chicken kabob with a Jamaican Jerk seasoning cooked along the concourse .
I would have gotten another if it wasn't so expensive at $8.00. I washed it down with a souvenir cup drink of Diet Coke for $5.00.
By this time, I was running into people I had already met at other stadiums and that led to some interesting baseball conversations ranging from autographs to Spring Training. For the most part it seemed like the crowd was there to watch a baseball game and were huge Cardinals fans; not happy that they were watching the future of the Houston Astros.
It took awhile to break down the locals that I wasn't the enemy and that I could be an asset in identifying the visiting team players. You really do not have a lot of room near either dugout due to the tight space and netting. I was told not to waste my team pre-game on the River Bandits side with Carlos Correa and with that advice I explored the stadium. After the game, autographing was interesting. With the flood walls set up, both teams have to leave the stadium the same way yet can use any number of doors to exit the stadium. The visiting team bus parked right along the flood wall about five yards from the railroad tracks. I had local graphers tell me that the night before that someone had misidentified Vince Coleman as Razor Shines and he wasn't happy. How you get those two confused is beyond me.
I quickly learned that oncoming trains mean that the River Bandit players are going to run and try to beat it from blocking them from leaving the parking area. I even had some players blocked by a train that couldn't go anywhere after I had missed them getting other players.