Monday, May 5, 2014

Inland Empire 66ers

After several minor league dog let downs I was on double dubious dog probation. I was beginning to lose the faith that the A thru AAA teams could serve up a dog worthy of finishing; at least in the California League. I was hoping the Inland Empire 66ers could restore the tarnished image of the minor league grill. And they did a decent job of infusing quality culinary cuts of processed meat into the baseball experience.

The 66ers get their moniker from the fact that the team is in San Bernardino and Route 66 runs right through the town. I particularly liked the logo because not only do I live about 300 yards from Route 66, but I drove the entire length of it last year. Whoever designed the logos and uniforms deserves a free hot dog in my opinion.

The town of San Bernardino is nothing to rave about. It is hot, dusty and on the far outer fringes of the greater Los Angeles area in what is called the Inland Empire. Not sure who’s empire, but one that collapsed long ago. Roman maybe? The ballpark is of adequate minor league quality. It has a yellowish stucco veneer that makes it stand out from the typical venue. Not sure that it adds anything but it does give it a uniqueness and a southwestern feel. The concourses are large enough and it is easy to navigate. And the dog?

IE 66ers Hot Dog. Also Known as...a Hot Dog
Bun-it was really hot (a good thing), but a tad stale.
Taste-the team used Hebrew National franks that have a good taste overall.
Price-$3.50 makes the dog affordable for a change.
Portability-large foil wrapper does a great job.
Toppings-I was surprised. For single A venue the topping selection was good. Only missing jalapenos, which was surprising considering the geographic location.
It Factor-None really.

Location-not great, close to town but still in a not so good section.
Access-mainly a drive-to ballpark and parking is $5. Something I could not skirt this time.
Cleanliness-not bad. Not spotless but still clean overall.
Fans-very friendly fans and I had some great conversations. But few people for a Sunday afternoon game. Sure it was’s baseball…it’s supposed to be hot.
GA Ticket Price-$10 is not horrible, but not great. I give the 66ers an extra point for the generous military discount. I got a great seat for $5.
Ambiance-for all its detractions, San Manuel Park has a good baseball vibe. And it sports a spectacular view of the San Bernardino Mountains over the outfield wall.
DogBallparkTotal Dog/Game
Portability5GA Ticket Price4
It Factor1Fans4

An overall score of 45 is nothing to shout about, but worthy of a visit if you are in the area. It would make a great addition to a Route 66 road trip. Only a few miles away is one of the three surviving Wigwam Motels in the United States. Grab a game, a dog and sleep it off in your own teepee.

Obligatory Mascot Shot

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