Chronological Tour: Stop 355

A Corny Baseball Field

Outfield entrance to The Corn Crib, Sep-2010.

The sun sets beyond the first-base line. The field faces southeast.

The entire field is artificial turf, a brand called SprinTurf.

Quick Facts: Rating: 2 baseballs
The Town of Normal, Illinois, is named for the state normal school, or teachers’ college, now Illinois State University. Along with its twin city, Bloomington, the town serves as a rather sizable market that did without baseball until 2010, when the Normal CornBelters joined the independent Frontier League.

The Corn Crib, sponsored by the Illinois Corn Growers Association, features stands of corn below the scoreboard in right-center field. Unfortunately, it also features artificial turf (much as in Marion), as the park will be shared with Heartland Community College, who will use it for other sports including soccer. That need to accommodate other sports also led to a foul territory area that was reminiscent of Evansville: very short backstop, but lots of foul ground down the lines.

That contributes to the other drawback of the field, as I see it. With only 16 seating rows all set fairly far back from the field (except directly behind home plate), the fan loses perspective on a high fly ball. Several times, balls I thought were easy pop-ups actually went to the outfield wall. One good countering feature was that the press and luxury boxes create a wind break that help keep the seating bowl much more comfortable when the wind comes sweeping across the prairie.

I also had several gripes with the game presentation, at least in September 2010. The public address announcer was insufferable when he announced the home team batters. The program and scorecard contained no visiting team roster, and the home team roster hadn’t been updated in three weeks. The brand of scoreboard they obtained (from Sportable Scoreboards) features two-digit numbers for runs and hits, but the digits are too close to each other and very difficult to read when the total of runs or hits ranges from 10 to 19.

On the plus side, the CornBelters’ logo is cool, and as befits a team in the corn belt, they do serve corn on the cob ($3 per cob in 2010). But these were not enough to offset the negatives in my book. The place is OK for watching a game, but just OK.

Game # Date League Level Result
1089 Fri 3-Sep-2010 Frontier Ind. Florence 9, NORMAL 7
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This page updated 3-Sep-2010