There's a certain similarity to newer ballparks in the Midwest League and the Upper Midwest. That uniformity can be seen at Fox Cities Stadium, the home of the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (Class A; Midwest League). In most ways this is a ballpark that serves the residents of the Fox Valley (which includes Appleton and Green Bay) well, but there's nothing really noteworthy about it in terms of style or location. So while it may be the nicest minor-league ballpark in Wisconsin, it is also lacking in the character you expect from a truly outstanding ballpark.
Year Opened: 1995
Dimensions: 325L, 385LC, 405RC, 325R
Ticket Prices: Box Seats, $7.50; Reserved, $6; General Admission (grass) $4; Patio Table (4 people) with waitress service, $48.
League: Midwest League (Low Class A)
Affiliation: Milwaukee Brewers
Parking: $3 in adjoining lot.
Directions: 2400 N. Casaloma Drive, Grand Chute. From Hwy. 41, take the County Road OO exit head west to Casaloma Drive. Turn left on Casaloma Drive and Fox Cities Stadium will be a 1/4 mile on the left. There are signs pointing the way.
Fox Cities Stadium is fan-friendly to the extreme: it features grass berms on both ends of the ballpark, picnic tables with waitress service, and a large picnic areas down the each line. (Bonus: the picnic area is covered, which makes for a handy shelter during the sun or the rain.) The bullpens are set into the stands, so fans have an intimate view of relievers chewing sunflower seeds as they wait for their change to pitch Two luxury boxes flank the press box. A concourse runs from foul pole to foul pole, with the many concession stands between the bases sheltered as well. The first 10 rows of seating in the grandstand are theater-style seats with drinkholders; the rest of the seats are backed bleachers. On a hot day, these seats can be a little toasty, and the only seats in the shade are right in front of the press/luxury box building. For patrons who want to duck out of the heat or cold, the Leinie Lodge features a full bar.
Wide concourses, grass berms, plenty of concession offerings... what's not to like? Nothing, really. The thing about Fox Cities Stadium is that it really doesn't engender many feelings pro or con. Yes, it's very clean and immaculately maintained. The fans seem really happy with the ballpark. But the location is pretty dreary: it's not in Appleton, but rather in the small town of Grand Chute, near the edge of the Appleton metro area. There's nothing to do near the ballpark, unless your idea of fun is cruising the Fox Valley Mall. The area surrounding the ballpark is suburban industrial, and the backdrop to the ballpark is scenic Hwy. 41.
All in all, Fox Cities is a well-designed and well-maintained ballpark. But it could use something to inject a little life and character into the ballpark experience.CONCESSIONS
Concessions stands ring the back of the concourse, with a wide variety of offerings: hot dogs, brats (natch), Cousins subs, kettle corn, popcorn, etc. You can slather your hot dog with Uncle Phil's Dusseldorf Mustard, made in Berlin, Wis.
As you might expect from a Wisconsin ballpark, there's a very good selection of beers on tap: Leinenkugel, Leinie Red, Leinenkugel Honey Weiss, Sprecher Timber Rattler Brau, Bud, Bud Light, MGD, Miller Lite, Michelob Ultra and Michelob Light.
Also, as you would expect in a Dairy State ballpark, there are lots of dairy (i.e., ice cream) products available. You can buy a hand-packed ice-cream cone, while there are also Good Humor and Ben and Jerry's products on sale.
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