Wailuku, Maui, HI
Stadium Opened: 1973
Dimensions: LF- 340 ft. CF- 400 ft. RF-330 ft.
Surface: Natural Grass
Former Names of Ballpark: None
- Free parking
- There is a parking lot right outside the stadium
- Due to the stadium's small capacity it is easy to get out after the game
The variety of concessions was a little weak, but the food that was available was quality and reasonably priced.
There is one main concession stand called the "Snack Shack". This stand sells Krispy Kreme donuts, Maui chips, peanuts, Cracker Jacks, ice cream, and drinks. Click here for the menu.
There is a stand-alone hot dog cart in the concourse area
A local Maui restaurant the "Cool Cat Cafe" operates a concession stand which sells good burgers, as well as hot dogs. "Cool Cat Cafe's" burgers have been voted "Maui's Best Burger" 5 years in a row!
There is also a stand which sells deep-fried treats like Twinkies, Oreos, etc.
Iron Maehara Stadium is a very basic structure. All seats are aluminum bleachers and ALL seats are behind a net or fence. Even the players sit in the dugout with a fence in front of them. Everyone is caged in!
There is a kids play area located along the first base line and a picnic area located along the third base line.
The press box is in a unique location. It is located directly behind home plate on field level.
The view over the outfield wall is of a residential neighborhood. Even though the houses don't look too extravagant, I am sure they sell for a lot since they have a view of the ocean. Speaking of the ocean, if you take a look behind the 1st base side of the stadium, you'll notice a view of the ocean. It's kind of interesting how it seems like the ocean is elevated from the part of the island that the park is in. It's not a great ocean view, but at least you can see it and it is enough of a reminder as to where you are.
The atmosphere at Maehara Stadium is exactly what minor league baseball should feel like. Sitting behind home plate is a group of dedicated fans who shake a container filled with something which makes noise to all the Maui players as they walk from the clubhouse to the dugout. These fans shake the containers until the players acknowledge them with a wave. Speaking of the clubhouse....the clubhouse is located a good distance from the field which is a factor in one of the features of this park that I love. The players have to walk through areas where there are fans in order to reach the field. No one bothers them, they just let the players go about their business. Even Maui's manager Cory Snyder, former Cleveland Indians player, walks right through the conourse to get to the dugout. There aren't mobs of security guards surrounding him, the fans just are respectful and behave. Also, since the clubhouse is so far away, players have to use the "Port-A-John's" located in the concourse area during the game if nature calls. This is what Minor League baseball is all about. (Not necessarily using a port-a-john, but I mean, this is what the atmosphere in the minors should feel like. Players should be able to get close to the fans without bodyguards).
Another aspect of the atmosphere that I enjoyed was the "on-field host", Branscombe Richmond. I have to admit that I didn't know who this man was until I looked it up on the internet. Come to find out, he is an actor who has been in many films. He is perfect for the job and I enjoyed him. He definitely was very unique. At times throughout the game, he was providing live sound effects into his microphone or encouraging the crowd to "show their aloha" towards the players. He did everything throughout the game including organizing and running in-between innings contests, making sound effects, encouraging the crowd, and he did this all with a group of loyal fans near him talking to him during every free second he had. He seemed to have quite the fan club. Here's Branscombe talking to Cory Snyder before the game:
Unfortunately, I saw a 2nd game in Maui during my vacation and Branscombe Richmond was not there. Other staff members were conducting the games, contests, etc. I guess he isn't there for every game....not sure. Also, in my first visit to the park, there was a female PA announcer, whom I thought was pretty good. On my 2nd visit, there was a male doing the PA announcements who sounded like he was the "regular".
Another aspect of character that sets your experience at Maehara Stadium apart from other Minor League parks is their pre-game tradition before the 1st game of a homestand. There are young hawaiian girls who place leis on each visiting team member to welcome them to Hawaii. Very cute and appropriate. Due to Hawaii's distant location from the rest of the California League, visiting teams come in for a 6 game series, rather than just a 3 game set.
Maui's mascot, "Benz" is very unique. He certainly doesn't look like your typical mascot. The kids love him although, at first glance he looks a little scary. "Benz" wandered around the stands and interacted well with the fans without being too intrusive, like some mascots.
My visits to Maehara Stadium were very enjoyable and it is certainly going to rank among the top few parks in the independent leagues that I have been to. The focus was on baseball with the Hawaiian culture mixed in. Great combination! I hope baseball remains in Maui for many years. The fans seem to be very loyal and love supporting their players. Unfortunately, since I live in New York, this is not a park I will get back to very often. If I did live close to this park, I'd be there once a week if I could.
Meaning of Team's Name:
Na Koa Ikaika Maui means "The Strong Warriors of Maui".
Review based on visits on 7/15/10 and 7/18/10.