Security Service Field, Colorado Springs, COLORADO
Number of states: 28
States to go: 22
Number of games: 1
First game: August 11, 2008, first game of DH (Colorado Springs Sky Sox 6, Portland Beavers 5, 8 innings–scheduled for 7)
(Security Service Field is now known as UCHealth Park. It switched from Pacific Coast League baseball to Pioneer League baseball in 2019.)
(Click on any image to see a larger version.)
My first minor league ballgames were in Colorado, at Mile High Stadium, But, according to the rules, my quest to get to a minor league game in each of the 50 states didn’t officially begin until 2003, so this necessitated a trip to Colorado Springs in August of 2008. I was taking my bride to my 20-year high school reunion in the Denver suburbs, and it was very easy to take the jaunt down I-25 to see our local team, the Portland Beavers (who my wife rooted for vociferously) take on the Sky Sox.
There, we found a great ballpark in a highly unfortunate location.
It’s not the ballpark’s fault that it faces east (as is the convention for ballparks everywhere) and
However, the ballpark itself was quite lovely if one didn’t look beyond the outfield fences. It has many touches I enjoy. Visiting ballplayers walk past the kids’ area to get onto
Security Service Field is a pretty small ballpark for AAA, which I like. Rarely does a fan get a chance to be so close to AAA talent–and a ballpark of this lesser scale (it felt like a class-A or AA ballpark) is a pleasant surprise in the high minors.
Sox the Fox, the Sky Sox’s mascot, was simply wonderful…as energetic as any mascot I’ve ever seen. He started the day by doing a
This particular day featured a doubleheader for the Sky Sox…my pregnant wife’s second doubleheader in four days. (The first wasn’t a scheduled doubleheader…it
At some point during the fifth inning, my bride turned to me and asked the following:
“You know what would be better than watching a baseball game under the clouds?”
“Watching the Olympics in our hotel room.”
Pregnancy, altitude, and doubleheaders don’t mix.
But still, my bride was a fantastic trooper. The game went into extra innings (meaning the 8th), and in the top of the 8th, the skies opened up. The thunder wasn’t too close, and the umpires were eager to get at least one ballgame in, so the game continued in the downpour. Everyone in the ballpark headed up to the sheltered area behind home plate…and almost nobody left, either because they didn’t want to miss the end of the game or because they didn’t want to run through the rain. Colorado storms usually don’t last too long, and this one passed quickly, but still, most of the crowd headed home, including Michelle and I.
Still, I give the crowd and the Sky Sox credit for a good experience and a nice ballpark. It’s just a shame that experience and ballpark couldn’t be next to mountains instead of next to suburban blight.
Regional feel: 4.5/10
The Sky Sox do well to get the score this high, actually. I’d have no idea where in the U.S. I was based on what I can see from the ballpark, but Colorado-themed concession items and retired Sky Sox numbers prevent this score from going far lower.
Again, when I walked into the place, I thought this score might be a zero, but the Sky Sox put on a very nice show.
A bit too much for AAA ball, but oh, that mascot was something else.
Team mascot/name: 4.5/5
“Sky Sox” is a fine name for a Colorado team, and Sox the Fox also a fine name…and the guy in the outfit earned this score with all his running and jumping.
Ballpark is OK…the view really, really dull.
Pavilion area: 3.5/5
The Sky Sox did a fine job. I especially featured the large, prominently-displayed lineups on the concourse.
I can’t blame them for going home after the first game…to be fair, we did too. (But also to be fair, they weren’t pregnant.)
Lots of good here, but I’m afraid what I’ll remember is the tract housing.
BASEBALL STUFF I’VE SEEN HERE:
An incredibly dramatic ending. Cedric Bowers uncorks a wild pitch in the downpour in the top of the (extra) 8th inning, scoring the Beavers’ Peter Ciofrone. But the Beavers’ Edwin Moreno couldn’t seal the deal, as Sky Sox catcher Adam Melhuse crunches a 2-out walk-off home run to give Colorado Springs the victory.
(Written August 2008.)