|Chronological Tour: Stop 250|
Home plate portal to O’Brien Field, Jul-2003.
The seating bowl.
The park is set in an industrial area near the police station and not far from downtown.
The park, which seems to follow a similar pattern to Cedar Rapids except that there are two entrances, including one in the left field corner, was, in its original incarnation, one big ad for the O’Brien Automotive Group. The car dealer had four of its showroom models parked on the concourse, helping gum up the works.
I got there at 6:30, and the starting lineups were already being announced for a 7:05 game. There was no lineup board of any kind, and the lineups were being displayed on the video board, but the frames, each displaying three of the nine names in the lineup, where changing at four- or five-second intervals, making it impossible for me to transcribe the lineups. In addition, the ticket prices were $6 for general admission, $8 and $9 for seats – the highest prices in the Midwest League.
I did run into Rocky Vonachen, the general manager, and I relayed my complaints about the lineup presentation. I figured I’d let him discover, from falling attendance, that his prices are too high.
The plus side of this park is that all the seats are regular folding stadium seats, and – of course – everyone was quite friendly, from Vonachen on down. Rocky Vonachen is the son of Pete Vonachen, the club owner who put his own name on the old park.
The Bradley University baseball team also moved from Vonachen Stadium to O’Brien Field, starting with the 2003 season.
For 2015, the park has a new sponsor, Caterpillar heavy equipment, whose offices are diagonally across from the ballpark. They have taken the unusual tack of naming the place Dozer Park (short for bulldozer). They also have one or two of their (small) models on the concourse, but not obstructing foot traffic. The lineups are also more prominently displayed on a new video board as well as on dedicated boards behind home plate.
|607||Thu 31-Jul-2003||Midwest||A||Beloit 6, PEORIA 2|
|1427||Fri 4-Sep-2015||Midwest||A||Burlington 3, PEORIA 1|