Stadium Minor League History: Midwest League 1973-present
Current Status: Home of the Burlington Bees of the Midwest League (single-A)
What's Good: What makes watching baseball in Burlington so enjoyable isn't necessarily the stadium itself, but the atmosphere and the people. In fact, Community Field is more or less a textbook example of how a facility can transcend its architectural and design limitations to emerge a great place for baseball. The grandstand itself is very simple, with four rows of "box" seats, a narrow cross-aisle, and then bench seating the rest of the way up. A small pressbox is perched up atop the seating area behind the plate, and a bleacher section on the third base side rests just beyond the grandstand. To tell the truth, I didn't much care for this place when I first visited in 1996. But since then the team has installed an entirely new field (the old one was, let's say, kind of uneven), and the entire grandstand has been repainted a pleasant shade of green, replacing the old blue and yellow color scheme (to see what things looked like before, click here). The old-fashioned light towers remain, fortunately, and the prices for concessions and souvenirs are more than reasonable. Factor in plenty of free parking, a terrific and knowledgable (if usually small) crowd, and the fact that the Bees are still a non-profit, community-owned team where you can find members of the board of directors pouring your beer, and you have a formula for a great baseball experience. Let's face it -- places like Community Field and its brand of baseball are disappearing rapidly in favor of lavish new stadia in the suburbs of major metropolitan areas. Despite all the economic changes to the game Burlington is still offering up minor league ball the way it used to be, and I hope they're able to keep it up for years to come.
What's Not So Good: Despite the wonderful atmosphere here, there are still a couple of negatives. First is the protective netting that is strung up everywhere -- there doesn't seem to be one seat in the ballpark that's not behind the net, resulting in somewhat obstructed viewing almost everywhere. And, like some other older parks, smoking is still allowed in the seating areas, which can presumably make some fans uncomfortable (although there is usually room to move to different seats if necessary). These are relatively minor complaints, though, and do not detract much from the overall atmosphere.
May 21, 2001 Burlington Bees vs. South Bend Silver Hawks
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