Sunday, June 1, 2014

Springfield Cardinals

After a week-long rest stop back in Tulsa upon completing the month and a half west coast portion of my quest it was time to get back on the road. The Upper Midwest swing will take me to 6 ballparks in as many days. Sometimes the schedule just works out. First stop was in Springfield, Missouri to get the taste buds tuned back up while watching some fine Texas League action; in which the Cardinals suffered an 9-1 trouncing by the Frisco Rough Riders.

What the Cardinals lack on the field they more than make up in the overall hot dog/ballpark rankings. I had stopped by Hammons Field last year to take a look so I knew it was a nice park, but was unable to take in a game. My place of residence also sports a newer stadium and is in the Texas League and I would put it up against any AA team’s ballpark. But Springfield puts Tulsa in its place by sporting a diamond that puts many AAA venues to shame.

The red and light brown brick affair is semi-circular in design and has four towers adorning the horseshoe-shaped main structure. Green steel girders fastened together by oversized bolts and the double-decked grandstand give it a distinct old-timey feel; which I believe was done on purpose. The batter’s eye in the outfield is covered not by a tarp but is a small “forest” of trees and shrubs in the middle of the general admission seating grass berm. Best of all, the kids play area is very small and out of the way. And, surprisingly, they serve up some pretty good vittles.

Bun-fresh and steamed.
Taste-the Tyson frank was good, but not good enough for top score.
Toppings-Springfield could have really boosted their score by boosting the topping selection.
Price-$3.75 isn’t a bad price and beats most ballparks.
Portability-the paper wrapper not only does a good job, it’s recyclable.
It Factor-the Dog House stand in the stadium offers a wide selection of over the top hot dogs to fit every taste. Few minor league parks to this. Great job for a AA venue.

Location-downtown Springfield.
Access-next to the college and hotels, one can walk, bike or drive. There is also a bus. Parking is $5 but can be had for free for a short walk.
Cleanliness-top job.
GA Ticket-$8 for a berm seat is just a tad pricey (there is a $2 military discount). Even if if is is one of the nicest grass berms in baseball.
Fans-nice turnout and a lively crowd. Friendly folks. And I am renewing my call to ban the sale of sugar-related products to persons under the age of 12 at ballparks.
Ambiance-Hammons Field looks and feels like a baseball park. The team has done an excellent job of providing of the best minor league venues.

DogBallparkTotal Dog/Game
Portability5GA Ticket Price4
It Factor5Fans5

An overall score of 56 can be considered a home run in the world of ballpark hot dogs. It’s worth a drive if you are a baseball fan. I’d recommend one of the savory selections from the Dog House menu near the first base side. Plant your butt on the berm and drink in the baseball the way it was meant to be enjoyed.

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