Chicago loves baseball, and they love it in a big way. Sloan Park (named for Sloan Valve Company) is the largest spring training facility in all of professional baseball. It seats 12,000 Cubs fans; and they show up. I stopped by on Sunday to buy my ticket for Monday’s game. It was sold out and the game on Monday was near capacity. I love Cubs fans mainly because they love baseball and will support their team even if they haven’t won a World Series in over one hundred years...which they haven’t.
All I can say about the park is WOW! I have been in some big league parks that are not this nice. A deep earth tone and baseball green edifice that is trimmed in battleship gray with a large steel girded open concourse. There are many tributes to its great-great grandaddy, Wrigley Field. Outside of the park are two ship mast-like pennant towers like the ones at Wrigley and there is a smaller replica of Chicago’s trademark red marquee inside the stadium. The clock above the scoreboard is a replica of the one in the same place at Wrigley and the backstop is red brick just like at home. It sports a double-decked grandstand and there is a deck above the outfield grass berm which reminds me (maybe on purpose) of the seats on the rooftops of building across the street from Wrigley Field. I can’t really tell you how much I really like this ballpark. The fact that it is only two years old helps, but it is truly a great venue.
|Chef Jerry Phillips|
The dog lives up to its reputation as well. I was able to sit down briefly with Chef Jerry Phillips who runs all things dog a Sloan Park. With 35 years in food service he, like most ballpark chefs, left jobs as the top chef at great restaurants to work at the ballpark. Hot dogs are his life and he helped create the Sheffield Dog (named after Sheffield Avenue, the street just over the right field bleachers at Wrigley Field). He loves his employer’s mantra of “everything fresh.” Chef Phillips regular dog gets high marks as seen below.
Bun-nice and fresh-5
Taste-Sloan Park did a nice job of keeping the experience Chicago. They use Vienna Beef franks just like one would get at Wrigley. And if you like you can wash it down with an Old Style beer-5
Toppings-best in the Cactus League so far. Mustard, pickles, onions and jalapenos-5
Price-considering the quality and amount of toppings $5 is not a bad deal-4.5
Portability-the dreaded cardboard boat for the regular dog, but I bump them up a tad because the Chicago Dog, and all of its toppings, comes with a paper wrapper and a boat. Yes, I had one in ADDITION to the regular dog. Don’t judge, I’m on vacation-3.5
It Factor-In addition to the Chicago and Sheffield Dogs there is a Mesa and a Wrigleyville Dog.
Location-it looks like they built things around the park. Bingo for construction magnet-4.5
Access-there are shuttles and you can park for free and walk from the adjacent mall (about ½ mile)-4.5
Cleanliness-spic and span-5
GA Ticket Price-$11 is the most expensive so far, but not outrageous-4
Ambiance-best baseball vibe to date and it looks, feels, and smells like an MLB ballpark-5
Fans-LOTS of REAL baseball fans. Cubs fans are great baseball people-5
|Portability||3.5||GA Ticket Price||4|