Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Melaleuca Field- Idaho Falls, ID

Posted by William Lee Coleman III | Tuesday, September 7, 2010 | Category: |

Melaleuca Field  (previously named McDermott Field) is the home of the Idaho Falls Chukars. The Chukars are the Pioneer League ( Rookie Level) affiliate of the Kansas City Royals. The stadium was refurbished in 2007 with a new seating area and concourse while the diamond and outfield wall from McDermott Field remained the same. I had trouble finding the stadium with my GPS but to my surprise the two people I asked at a gas station were familiar with where their local minor league team plays, which is a rarity nowadays.

Random Fact: A Chukar is a game bird found in Idaho.

Stadium Rating: B
There really isn't much to Melaleuca stadium other then being a great place to watch a minor league baseball game in Idaho.  The stadium is in the middle of a residential neighborhood and is one of the more relaxing stadiums in the Pioneer League. The biggest problem with the stadium is mostly visual which makes the stadium look unattractive in some areas. The stadium is made mostly of brick and the abundance of aluminum bleacher seating makes you think you are about to watch a college baseball game or go meet your high school sweetheart under the stadium bleachers for a kiss. Cosmetically, the stadium would look better if I couldn't see the equipment under the bleachers while meeting Laurie on the 3rd base side.  The concourse is nice and wide.

The stadium features the most picnics tables I have seen in a Minor League ballpark. I was told that the hot tub picnic area is very popular with the kids during the summer.   The banners of former MLB players that have been associated with previous Idaho Falls teams circle the concourse and give the stadium a great historic feeling. The gift store is one of the better ones I have seen in the Pioneer League. I counted 8 Luxury Suites and my program told me that the stadium features about 1,000 box seats that are angled oddly in some areas. Press boxes looked nicer than some of the ones featured in AA stadiums I have visited.

The two video boards in left field are very nice but isolated making it look incomplete with no signage or molding around them. I really liked the lack of restrictions throughout the stadium. If you plan on attending a game, ask for a box seat in Section 1 on Row 4 seat 4 thru 7. Comfortable seats and a great view !

Baseball Atmosphere: A

 The history wall gives first time visitors, like myself, great information on Idaho Falls baseball. Once in my seat, the people behind me were discussing which players would be invited to the Instructional League in Arizona, players that have improved the most over the course of the season, and whether or not the Chukars should renew their Player Development Contract with the Royals that expires this season.  The fact that these fans knew of this baseball jargon impressed me.This kind of discussion at a baseball game beats hearing whether or not Jack should stay with Debbie over a cellphone conversation.

Pricing: A

Overall, I can't complain with the way how I got into the stadium today. It was the last day of the season and the Chukars were running a promotion that they would accept all previous unused tickets from any game this season. A gentleman offered me one of his unused tickets which I accepted and upgraded to a reserved seat for $3.00, ( I hate bleacher seating of any kind).  I  couldn't find a regular hot dog anywhere in this stadium so I had to settle for a bratwurst and a Dr.Pepper for a total of $5.50 which is a fair price considering the size of the bratwurst and drink. The program I purchased for $2.00 has to be one of the nicest programs I have purchased from the four new stadiums I have visited this year. Not paying for parking was a great treat, too!

Autographing: A

Three generations of ballpark designs have lead me to believe that this ballpark was built with the intention of  allowing the fans to interact with the players without the stadium getting in the way.  Both teams enter the field from the team clubhouses down the first base line. If you don't get everybody here, you have level access to both teams' dugouts; on either sides of the dugouts. I have never seen this kind of accessibility. It is nice. The only thing that can hamper your graphing totals is that you have zero access to the Chakurs bullpen. My personal solution to this problem was that I left the game in the 7th inning and went outside of the stadium and got the bullpen players' attention. You can see the players thru the fence and hand your items over the fence. For those of you that don't want to do this, both teams exit into the parking lot after the game in which you also parked.

Overall, I am glad I didn't pass on attending a game at Melaleuca Field today. I imagine that this stadium has created a ton of memories for the citizens of Idaho Falls because it did with me on one visit.  It offers what I am looking for in a stadium: easy access to the players and no restrictions along with watching a baseball game. Not offering a regular hot dog even on the last day of the season has to be a baseball sin. No souvenir cup for my drink or producing a 2010 team set before the season ends is also a "bossman fail". These simple things are just expected  to be at a minor league baseball game regardless of  the level of play. Due to its location, I doubt I ever make a another trip to Melaleuca Field. For the ballpark chaser, it is worth a stop.

Currently have 1 comments:

  1. Glad you enjoyed your visit. We love our Chukars!