Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Day 66: Alliant Energy Field

All photos of Davenport day 2, Clinton, and Alliant Energy Field available on

Today was bonus game #4 for me and #5 for Erik on the trip. Not to say that we needed an excuse to watch more ball, but the prospect of spending another 24 hours exploring Davenport did not particularly intrigue us. We did, however, spend a little bit of time walking around, since we were sure that the small town we were headed to up the river would not be much cooler. We walked through the lobby of the local art museum, the tourist center, and across a strange "bridge to nowhere." We also walked along the riverfront that was substantially less algae-rific than yesterday. As is the case in almost every city we've been to, by 3 or 4 PM we have seen all that we want to see and are tired of walking, so we end up pulling up a stool at a local tavern for Happy Hour (one of man's greatest inventions besides the wheel and delivered hot food, by the way). Today's bar was Shenanigan's, which was the only Irish pub that Erik and I have ever been to that did not actually serve Irish beer.

Around 4 PM we headed to Clinton, Iowa, which is about 30 miles north of Davenport and is home to the LumberKings, an A-ball affiliate of the Texas Rangers. We thought the game was at 7:05, but apparently the final Clinton homestand got moved to 6:05 starts, which only gave us about 30 minutes to fundraise. We have not been doing so well fundraising lately, so we decided to give it a crack in Clinton, even though we don't typically do so at "bonus games." We had only made $1 when the General Manager rolled up to us in a golf cart and ask us about what we were doing. Instead of telling us to move, he proceeded to tell us that he supported our cause and wished we would have called him. We told him that we only knew we were coming here as of yesterday, and he felt bad and hooked us up with some free food inside.

Like in Davenport, and as a matter of fact a lot of Iowa cities, there is a long tradition of minor league baseball in Clinton. Although the team has changed names and affiliates many times over the years, the city has hosted a team continuously for the past 54 seasons. Alliant Energy Field (which we determined was probably originally Clinton Municipal Stadium) was built in 1937 and resembles a lot of the old minor league parks, such as the ones we have seen in Evansville, Savannah, and Vancouver. It has its wide open concourse, covered seats, and no outfield seating. This stadium did, however, feature a neat little pavilion in left field near the pole that terminated in a "bump-out" that jutted about 10 feet into the field, kind of like a mosquito bite on the wall, so to speak. We were hoping we'd get to see someone hit it off that wall and watch it careen back into center field for a triple but such was not the case. The game was actually pretty decently pitched for an A-ball game. Both starters did very well, despite the fact that they only went 4 and 5 innings respectively. In the end, the walks hurt the LumberKings, as the staff gave out nine total free passes and one hit batsman. The Timber Rattlers also must have had the scouting report on Clinton's catcher, because they were stealing at will all night, swiping 7 bags in 8 attempts. These two things, plus a combination of timely hitting and a lackluster umpiring crew led Wisconsin to victory despite a 2-run 9th by the LumberKings. The best part of the game was once again the Racing Sausages, who I guess are apparently doing a tour of minor league parks in Iowa until the Brewers return home.

After the game, the original plan was to have a few drinks at the local Applebees and sleep in a Wal-Mart parking lot, but the latter portion of the plan proved to be most uncomfortable, so we found a $40 hotel room for the night nearby. Applebees was awesome though - we got to watch the season finale of The Bronx is Burning and watch the LumberKings, who came in for a meal, converse with the staff. Clinton actually reminded me a lot of Cudahy, for those of you from Wisconsin, so you can imagine how anxious we are to get out of here and head up towards Dyersville tomorrow after a quick oil change for Old Yeller.

park stats and rankings:
aesthetics - 2
views from park - 2

view to field - 5 (net obstructs view, but we did have 4th row seats)

surrounding area - 3

food variety - 6
nachos - 3 (low cheese to chip ratio)
beer - 9 ($4 for a large Old Style! lots of variety)
vendor price - 10 ($1 food on Tuesdays, plus we got free eats)

ticket price - 6 ($6 GA)
atmosphere - 3

walk to park - 1

parking price/proximity - 10 (across the street for free)

concourses - 3

team shop - 4

best food - brat

most unique stadium feature - left field bump-out

best jumbotron feature -
best between-inning feature - Racing Sausages make another cameo appearance

field dimensions - 330/395/325
starters - Steven Richard (WIS) v. Evan Reed (CLN)

opponent - Wisconsin Timber Rattlers

time of game - 2:49

attendance - 650

score - 4-2 L

Brewers score that day - 5-3 L

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