There's nothing quite like the down-home atmosphere of a minor league baseball game.
This I learned at countless Kenosha Twins games in the late 1980s. Further confirmation was found at other Midwest League games in Madison and Beloit and farther afield, watching games in the stadiums of teams like the Tidewater Tides and Louisville Redbirds, among others.
Though the Lakeshore Chinooks are not technically a minor league team – the Northwoods League is an amateur league that doesn't pay its players to preserve their NCAA eligibility – their games, played at Kapco Park on the idyllic Concordia University campus, are just as fun.
The action on the field is great. These guys are here to move to the next level and to get some good wood-bat practice during the summer months when their college teams are on hiatus. So, they play hard. They're clearly having fun, but you can see they take it seriously, too.
Between innings the Chinooks organization – which employs many Concordia students, to help give them experience in all aspects of running a franchise – keeps the fun coming, too, with "minnow" races, costume contests and more.
No matter where you sit, you're close to the action. The concessions are good, offering better beer options than a lot of Miller Park points of purchase, and relatively inexpensive. I paid $4 for a Peroni on Saturday.
Kapco is filled with families, enjoying the game and also the play area that has tire swings, a batting care, a bouncy house and more fun for the kids. It's a grand day out.
Dear Chinooks, we'll be back!
Bobby Tanzilo | July 16, 2012 at 3:05 p.m. (report)
Point taken, though I figured it was something that affects the players' enjoyment more than the spectators'. For the record, it looks as if the pitcher's mound is real dirt, but I can't tell with certainty as I wasn't on the field..
It is a lot of fun, well played and cheap. Having been to other Northwoods games I really thought the Chinooks experience compared well...but...I was a little dismayed when I saw a field with absolutely no dirt anywhere except the pitching mound. Not even the warning track, not even around the bases or home. Baseball fields without dirt?
Even the Astrodome had dirt around the bases.
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