Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Bob Warn Field

All photos of Bob Warn Field available on Flickr.

I was in Louisville this past weekend attending my friend Toombs' bachelor party, so of course I checked to see if the Bats were home while I was there.  Unfortunately they were not (although we did have dinner at a brewpub next to Louisville Slugger Field, so that was pretty awesome).  Neither Indianapolis nor Lexington were home either.  At this point I was determined to watch ball somewhere and started to think a little outside the box.  I remembered that the Prospect League footprint covers Illinois and Indiana, so I checked and found a few teams that were home.  I settled on a game in Terre Haute, Indiana for a Sunday 5:30PM first pitch.

The Prospect League is a summer collegiate league that in its current form is probably a tier below the Northwoods League, both in terms of quality of talent and ballparks.  However, in its heyday operating as the Central Illinois Collegiate League, it was one of the premier summer leagues and was funded by the NCAA for decades.  The league today is a combination of remaining CICL teams, a few teams that broke off from the independent Frontier League, and some expansion teams for an odd total of 11.  

Terre Haute is one of the expansion teams and the Rex are in their 5th season of operation.  They actually play in a decent stadium shared with the Indiana State University ball team, and by "decent," I guess I mean better than the 2 sets of metal bleachers and a chain link fence that I was expecting.  The lone entry is a gate on the 1st base side framed by two small brick outbuildings - one containing concessions and the ticket office, and the other restrooms and storage.  Everything in the stadium is weighted onto this side, including a merchandise tent, an extra section of bleachers, and a plaza, which is probably an indication of either site constraints and/or a later addition.  The entry plaza actually would have been pretty nice if there was not a middle-aged couple there singing bad karaoke.  The plaza feeds to sort of a half-concourse that dead-ends into the center section of bleachers.  There is really nothing on the 3rd base side of the stadium except the other dugout.  All of these oddities pale in comparison to probably the oddest thing I have seen at any ballpark in my life - the entire infield is turf except for the mound, and the outfield is grass.  Not only was it very odd but also atrocious, as the infield had lots of hobo patch jobs around the bases, and the outfield grass was not maintained well at all.  I was there plenty early to watch the visiting team warm up and I tried to see if the players were wearing cleats or shoes for this hybrid playing surface, and even they seemed to be confused by it.

This was one of those nights at the ballpark where most of the highlights had nothing to do with the game.  Terre Haute native Tommy John was on hand to throw out the first pitch, which was super cool, but then after that not much happened until the 5th inning when some random guy got on the mic and rapped an entire song he wrote about the Terre Haute Rex.  In between Tommy John and the Rex Rap, I tried my hardest to stay focused on the game, but there was probably more sharp contact made in the pre-game hacky sack circle than in those 5 innings.  By the 7th inning I was getting pretty tired and had a long drive ahead of me back to Milwaukee, so I decided to call it a night and leave a little early.  At worst, my stop at Bob Warn Field was a nice way to break up the incredibly boring drive through Indiana, and at best, I spent $9 on dinner and entertainment.

park rankings and statistics:
aesthetics - 2 (field is awful)
views from park – 1
view to field - 4 (seats down the line obstructed by dugout)
surrounding area – 3 (Indiana State University)
food variety - 4
nachos - 4
beer - 4 (bonus points just for having beer at a college facility)

vendor price - 10
ticket price - 9 ($5 GA)
atmosphere - 6 (staff really gets into it)
walk to park – 2
parking price/proximity - 10 (got there so early parked in lot for free - normally $4)
concourses - 2
team shop - 7 (actually pretty solid logo and merch but in a tent)

best food – Rex Dog
most unique stadium feature – half-turf/half-grass field
best jumbotron feature – n/a
best between-inning feature – guy performs rap he wrote about the Rex

field dimensions – 332/396/332
starters – Ben Braymer (DAN) v. Tommy Strunc (TH)
opponent – Danville Dans
time of game – 2:17
attendance – 855
score – 2-1 W

Brewers score that day – 1-0 W

Brewers 39-27, +5.0, (3 v. Reds, 4 @ Diamondbacks)
Reds 30-34, -8.0 (3 @ Brewers, 3 @ Pirates)
Twins 31-33, -4.0 (3 @ Tigers, 3 @ Red Sox)

Erik - 3 (+10 worked)

Peter - 19

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