Chronological Tour: Stop 168

The Shadows of Mount Rainier

Walking up to Cheney Stadium, Aug-2004.

A good look at the seating areas.

The view from behind the plate. Mount Rainier is off to the right, and obscured anyhow.

Quick Facts: Rating: 3 baseballs
There were people who told me I wouldn’t like Cheney. They did advise me that Mount Rainier was visible from the left-field bleachers, but they said that was its only redeeming feature. I beg to differ.

It’s a 1960 park, with a nice unobstructing roof covering the grandstand. Additional bleachers have been erected along the foul lines (it’s here, not in the grandstand, that one can see Mount Rainier). The upper rows of the grandstand are aluminum benches for general admission; the area below the walkway is box seating, which features modern stadium seats.

Ben Cheney.
It’s the middle grandstand, though, that is Cheney’s best feature, or at least it was through 2010. The seats were pulled out, row by row, from Seals Stadium, the San Francisco park that was the home of the PCL Seals through 1957 and the San Francisco Giants in 1958 and 1959. These rows were not upgraded. They’re wooden seats (a lot like Fenway Park), which means they’re uncomfortable without a seat cushion – but how often today, in the 21st century, do you get to watch a baseball game from the same seat where fans saw a young Joe DiMaggio?

Well, no longer. The 2011 renovation of the park turned the main seating bowl into a more modern facility, with folding stadium seats. It also built a new suite and press box area above the main bowl. (New photos will follow soon.) A prior round of renovations for the 2007 season also saw significant upgrades to the ballpark. The left-field bleachers have been removed to make a triple-tiered picnic area. A new wrought-iron fence surrounds much of the park, and new art adorns the outside of the stadium.

Other oddities at Cheney include the fences, which are high (at least 15 feet) and shaped almost like a box, so 325-foot baselines become a 425-foot center field; and the bronze statue of Ben Cheney, forever holding his scorecard and eating his peanuts, in the first row of one of the grandstand sections.

Every so often, plans are aired to make major upgrades to Cheney. Instead of building a downtown park near the Tacoma Dome, one plan had the Rainiers keeping the same field and expand the existing stadium, going half-high down the right-field line and double-high down the left-field line as well as lopping off some of the right-field roof. This would have the effect of dramatically increasing the number of seats with views of Mount Rainier. That plan has gone nowhere, however, and there is continual talk about the team moving, perhaps as far as Honolulu. With the more recent rounds of renovations, however, those talks have died down. That said, the popularity of the park has made parking for games more difficult. Parking is also expensive, $10 per car as of 2017.

Game # Date League Level Result
381 Sat 21-Aug-1999 Pacific Coast AAA TACOMA 7, Colorado Springs 0
699 Sun 15-Aug-2004 Pacific Coast AAA TACOMA 4, Edmonton 3
1573 Sun 6-Aug-2017 Pacific Coast AAA Memphis 6, TACOMA 0
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This page updated 6-Aug-2017