The Lake Erie Crushers began their existence in 2009 as a member of the Frontier League, an independent professional baseball league. In their first year, they won the league title. Their home is All Pro Freight Stadium, an accessible park found in Avon, Ohio, just west of Cleveland.
The park features a turf surface that I am not particularly fond of, but the park overall provides good entertainment value and affordability. Besides being the home of the Crushers, All Pro Freight Stadium hosted the 2012 MAC Baseball Tournament, where it is scheduled to be played in 2013 as well.
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The Crushers offer mostly your basic ballpark fare, with a few interesting items down the first base line. I tried the Gooey-Mooey ($5.50) from the Grand Slam Grill. It is a hamburger placed between two grilled cheese sandwiches. I thought the concept was great, but the product was pretty so-so. There are other interesting items found at the grill, and I would be curious to try more including the Pierogi Hoagie ($9), Tuscan Burger ($6), and Cheese & Swine ($5.50).
There are two main concession stands that serve the basics. You can find a "Stadium" Dog ($3), Jumbo hot dog ($4), brat ($4.50), Italian Sausage ($4.50), and cheeseburger ($5) here.
Pepsi provides the soft drinks at All Pro Freight Stadium ($2.50 or $3.50). Beer is affordably priced ($3.75/$4.75) with LaBatt, Miller Lite, Coors Light, and Bud Light being the primary options. There is also a Yuengling stand, and they were serving Jello shots ($2) from a small stand down the first base side of the concourse.
If you come early, the Crushers offer Happy "Hour" for the first half hour that the park is open, and drinks are just $1.
That atmosphere was pretty fun overall with the promotions director (Michael Keefe) doing a good job of being enthusiastic without being ridiculous on the field as the emcee of several games held throughout the contest.
Seats are green plastic with above average legroom, but no cup holders. There are also tables for four available along the concourse ($64 per game), and is a good option if you want to be able to socialize while watching the game.
This is a very walkable stadium, and the outfield walls are fairly low to the concourse. I enjoy standing along the fence in right field, or in left field where there is a lone drink bar to place your beverage or food.
The berm in left field is almost exceedingly high, but seemed to be a popular spot. Fans can bring in their own lawn chairs and/or blankets.
The scoreboard is very basic, with just the line score available for fans to keep up with the stats of the game.
There is nothing in the immediate area surrounding All Pro Freight Stadium. However, it is just a short drive into downtown Avon. I made a stop at a place called Two Bucks, so-called because most of the beers on their menu, and a few of the food items, are only $2. It's an unpretentious little place with several flat screens and pretty decent food. The price is right, so if you are looking for a place to spend some time before or after a game, I can recommend Two Bucks.
I also received recommendations for the Nemo Grille and Strip Steakhouse if you are looking for more of a sit down restaurant, and affordability is less of an issue.
It always impresses me when I find fans at independent professional baseball games that really seem to be vested in the outcome. My most recent visit occurred on a Tuesday night, but there were plenty of fans covering the berm, and filling a majority of the seats behind home plate. You can expect a good mix of families, regular season ticket holders, and just people out to enjoy the weather with a baseball game as a distraction, but overall it is a fun and engaged group
All Pro Freight Stadium is visible from I-90, and just a short drive once you get off at Exit 151. Parking was posted as being $3, but when I arrived no one was collecting money. I assume I just got lucky because I arrived so early.
The stadium itself is very easy to navigate, and restrooms are large enough to handle the crowd and are clean.
Most tickets are only $9, and berm seats are only $6. I was surprised that ushers asked to see my ticket on two different occasions during my visit, although in the one case where I was seated in a different location than my ticket indicated, the usher didn't seem to be very concerned. My guess is they don't want people buying berm seats, then upgrading themselves, so be aware that where you are ticketed may matter. Overall though, the prices are reasonable.
I would recommend sitting on the third base side as that is where you'll get the most shade. Overall, when you add in the ticket, parking, a drink, food, and a program ($1), you should budget for $23 per person for a game at All Pro Freight Stadium.
One extra point for the half hour of reduced drinks. It is a good way to get fans to the park early. I was disappointed to find though that the kids play area required fans to pay a charge for their child to spend time in the bounce houses they had inflated. Most teams choose to make things like this free, and it would be a much better draw if the Crushers decided to do so.
Overall, a trip to see the Lake Erie Crushers at All Pro Freight Stadium is a fine way to spend an evening. They do a good job with their promotions and have several discounts throughout the week to help with the affordability of the trip. This isn't a ballpark you need to travel out of your way to see, but if you live in the area or are visiting, then it's a worthwhile place to see some baseball.
Recently attended the MAC Tournament at All Pro Freight Stadium. It was a little underwhelming as a facility, although I did like the seating, including the tables and chairs above the seating areas on the concourse.
The food was just average, and overall it is sort of a ho-hum stadium. I'll be doing a review of the experience of the MAC Tournament at this facility, but I'll be interested to go back to see the Crushers and see how it compares.
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