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300 N. Giddings St.
Visalia, CA

Stadium Opened: 1946 (renovated in 2009)
Capacity: 2,468
Dimensions: LF- 320 ft.  CF- 405 ft.   RF- 320 ft.
Surface: Natural Grass

Former Names of Ballpark: Recreation Park

Parking:

  • Free Parking
  • parking lot is a city lot located on Giddings St. There is also some on-street parking.

 

Food:

  • Cheapest hot dog was $4.50--no kiddie dog or anything. That's a bit steep for the minors.
  • Nachos, pulled pork sandwiches, chicken fingers, pizza, etc.

 

Seating/Stadium Design:

  • All seating areas are "caged in". Even the seats along the baselines have a screen in front of them. So if you think you are going to come here and get some good shots of the game, think again. It is unfortunate that more and more parks are erecting screens/nets in areas other than behind home plate. Fans need to pay attention to the game and remain alert at all times...because some fans don't do this, there is no longer going to be unobstructed views of the field.
  • The newly renovated right field area is nice, but it was not constructed in a way that makes the stadium flow nicely from the older section to the newer section. You have to go back down a ramp to the concourse and then up another ramp back to the seating area to go from the grandstand area to the right field area. Once you are out in right field, it is nice, but I think it was a poor design to connect the two areas.
  • Seating Bowl is made up of green fold-down seats. The seats are nice and steep for great sitelines. There is also a lawn area in right field.
  • Kids area behind the centerfield wall.
  • The barn in right center is actually incorporated into the outfield wall.
  • Cowbell section where fans get a free cowbell with their ticket purchase

Atmosphere/Character:

  • Let's first start out with what I liked......The team has a mascot named "Tipper", who is a cow. The team store is called the "Rawhide General Store" and it utilizes the farm/country theme inside it. I also liked the rustic looking sign in the outfield concourse area that listed how many miles it was to Cooperstown from Visalia. Nice touch!

Now onto describing the areas that need improvement: I attended a game on "Thirsty Thursday". The Rawhide's "Thirsty Thursday" only lasted from 6pm to 8pm. I was in line for a $1 soda at about 7:30pm and there was a LONG line forming. An employee came out of the concession line and began yelling about how just because you were in line didn't mean you'd get the dollar soda or beer....that once it was 8:00pm, it was over. I few people made appropriate jokes to him and he had no sense of humor whatsoever. Jeez....don't run a promotion if it is going to make everyone so cranky.

Needless to say by the end of the game, there were way too many fans who had a little too much to drink. I have NEVER been at a game where so many curse words were loudly flying at the players on the field. I looked around to see why the ushers weren't warning people about foul language and discovered that there wasn't a single usher to be found in the stands at this point in the game. Security was also very few and far between. I was appalled at what was tolerated in the stands. I'm not just talking mild curse words, I am talking F-bombs being dropped all over. Below were the two worst violators...and the sad thing was the rest of the crowd laughed at them instead of becoming disgusted with their behavior. You can even see the one guy in the gray shirt shouting something out in the picture:

There is no excuse for not having ushers in the stands controlling this type of behavior. I was disgusted when I left the park and therefore that will be reflected in the review. It's not like having drunk fans in the stands was a surprise for the Rawhide staff....they knew it was "Thirsty Thursday" and should have had extra staff on hand. Shame on them!

Also, out in the new right field lawn area, fans can look right into the visitor's bullpen from above, which is very good for photos. When I was standing around the bullpen taking photos, there were a group of fans harrassing the visiting pitchers in the bullpen and throwing half eaten cookies down to them and asking for autographs in return. It was totally uncalled for and once again, there were no staff members or security near by to stop it. I left this park with a bad taste in my mouth......not one of my favorites by far.

Recognition of Team's History:

  • Signs in the outfield honoring past Visalia teams
  • Championship flags painted on a big rock behind grandstand

Origin of Team's Name:

The team used to be called the "Oaks" but switched to the "Rawhide" which team owners felt better tied in the dairy and agriculture industries of Tulare County. Click here for an article about the team's name change.

Overall Rating:

Review is based on my visit on 7/22/10

 

 

 

amanda@baseballstadiumreviews.com