4503 Interstate Blvd.
Loves Park, IL
Stadium Opened: 2006
Dimensions: LF- 312 ft. CF- 380 ft. RF-312 ft.
Surface: Natural Grass
Former Names of Ballpark: Road Ranger Stadium, RiverHawks Stadium
- $2 (in 2009)
- Large lot next to the stadium
- Bottled soda/water $2.50 (cheap compared to other parks)
- Culver's stand offering a variety of ice cream treats
- Some unique items were: cheese curds, brats, corn on the cob, and fried quesadillas
Fans enter Road Ranger Stadium through an archway which leads to the main concourse. The concourse is very wide and easy to navigate. The seating bowl is no more than 10 rows deep so fans can be closer to the action. Unfortunately, when parks are built with the seating bowl extending all the way down the baselines, the seats in left and right field offer poor sightlines. Yes, the fans are close to the field, but they have to turn their heads a complete 90 degrees the whole game in order to see the batter. These seats should have been angled more towards homeplate, if it was important to the owners that they only have 10 rows. All seats are blue fold down seats with cupholders.
A unique feature of the park was that the press box is located on the concourse so fans are really close to the PA announcer and radio play-by-play.
Along the 1st base side of the concourse is a concession stand, the restrooms, a speed pitch inflatable, and a group picnic area. Along the 3rd base side of the concourse is a pavillion (Diamond Deck) which is used for the "All-You-Can-Eat package. Located in right field is a picnic area and a concession stand. There is a kids play area located in left field.
The scoreboard was also unique because of it's white background. Along the 3rd base wall was a banner which had a bluish/gray brick pattern to it. When I saw this banner, it reminded me of the ballpark in Newark, NJ (Bears and Eagles Riverfront Stadium) where there is a fake brick covering to the outfield wall, which gives the park character. I think that if the Riverhawks put this bluish-gray brick along the outfield walls, the park would look pretty sharp.
From the section, I sat in (section 109, row 9) the sightlines to right field were poor. An area where there are tables juts out into the seating bowl slightly and the banner on the railing blocked my view to right field. It would be helpful if this banner was moved to a different part of the park so fans views are not blocked. Although this banner probably only affected the view of a few rows, I feel these seats should have been considered "obstructed view" seats. (see picture below)
Road Ranger Stadium has very little character since there is not a memorable backdrop to the park. The archway above the gates to the stadium gives the park a little bit of character since that entry way is used in a variety of logos on items in the gift shop.
I found "Rocko", the team's mascot to be slightly irritating. During the game, he spent an inning walking back and forth on the dugout with two t-shirts in his hand that he kept pretending he was going to throw into the crowd. I don't think he had intention on actually throwing them, he just wanted each section to cheer when he pointed to them. It was 5 minutes of screeching kids...then about 10 minutes of more screeching.....for a total of about 15 minutes. It was ridiculous. If I was a fan who was actually trying to watch the game and all of these shenanigans were going on and my view was being blocked, I'd be pretty upset. It was distracting enough sitting on the other side of the park and having to listen to it. In my opinion, the mascot should not be walking on top of the dugout during an inning....between innings is fine....during the inning, the focus should be on baseball. If it wasn't for this incident, my rating on the atmosphere at Road Ranger Stadium would have been much higher. Once the nonsense ended, the park resumed back to a relaxing and mellow atmosphere.
I give the Riverhawks credit for the wide variety of music they played throughout the game and the comfortable volume at which it was played. It is rare to find parks where the music is not blaring at a loud volume constantly. The person in charge of the music selections steered away from the usual, overplayed songs that fans hear at other ballparks. It was a good change of pace. Sound effects were also kept to a minimal, which helped to create a laid-back atmosphere.
Free programs were offered to fans, but scorecards were extra. Inside the program was a survey for fans to fill out about the park in exchange for a free ticket. At the time that I went to Road Ranger stadium, I had been to over 75 Minor League parks and have never been asked for my input. Kudos to the Riverhawks for asking for fan input and trying to make improvements if necessary!
Overall, I highly recommend watching a game at Road Ranger Stadium if you are in the area. I enjoyed the park more than nearby parks such as Alexian Field, Standard Bank Stadium, and Silver Cross Field.
Recognition of Team's History and/or MLB Affiliate:
Review is based on my visit on 8/16/09.