Ashford University Field opened in 1937 as Riverview Stadium and was home to the Clinton Owls, a farm team of the Brooklyn Dodgers. The stadium has been renovated including new lighting, bigger dugouts, and better locker rooms and batting cages. Ashford University Field sits a few hundred feet away from the Mississippi River.
Ashford is home to the Clinton LumberKings, a single-A affiliate of the Seattle Mariners since 2009. A quick scan of the list of players who have played in Clinton include Denny McClain, Mike Scioscia, Dave Stewart, Orel Hershiser, Jason Bay, Ian Kinsler, and Neftali Feliz.
The LumberKings are the last remaining original member of the original Midwest League, which began in 1956. For fans of stadiums with an old-time feel, Ashford University Field is right up your alley. Additionally, Clinton is a mere 90 minute drive from Dyersville, Iowa, home to the Field of Dreams movie site.
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Two things will strike you when looking over the food and beverage options. First, the prices are very reasonable. Hot dogs ($2.50), burgers ($3.50), pulled pork ($4.00), and brats ($3.50) are all well below stadium norms. Snacks, such as popcorn ($2.00) and sunflower seeds ($1.00), are readily available as well. For the kids, Ashford offers the old standard, peanut butter and jelly ($1.25)!
The other thing unique about the menu is the choice of soda. The stadium does not serve Coke or Pepsi. RC Cola is the soda of choice here, along with Dr. Pepper, Diet Dr. Pepper, 7-Up, A&W Root Beer, Country Time Lemonade, and Hawaiian Punch. Sodas come in 20 oz. ($2.50) and 12 oz. ($1.50). For those cold nights near the water, coffee ($1.50) and hot cocoa ($2.00) are available.
Beer selections include Miller 64, Coors Light, Miller Lite, Pabst Blue Ribbon, Shiner Bock, George Killians Irish Red, and Leinenkugel's Honey Weiss and Summer Shandy. You can get two sizes, 16 oz ($4.50) and 24 oz. ($5.50). In addition, margaritas and daiquiris ($5.50), Mike's Hard Lemonade ($4.50), and Redd's Apple Ale ($4.50) are also available.
There are weekly specials with even cheaper food and drink prices on Mondays. Tuesdays are 50 cent hot dog night and Fridays are fish & chips night with specials on margaritas and daiquiris.
For fans of old-time baseball, Ashford University Field is everything you could ask for. There are no big video boards, just your basic scoreboard with basic information. The first three rows are very close to the field and are the recommended seats for anyone that wants to experience the game without any obstruction. The stadium-type seats have a decent amount of legroom and cup holders. Behind the third row is the walkway that will get you around the seating area. The remaining seats are bleacher style. Behind home plate, the bleachers have chair backs but going further down the lines, they do not.
Down the left field line are picnic tables. There are plenty available and are next to the kids play area so they are a great place to sit and see both the game and the kids. For a unique perspective of the game, there are some bar type half tables that lean up against the left field fence (called the Bullpen Patio) and are directly behind the bullpen. As such, you are literally feet away from the pitchers and can hear their conversations. Be careful when sitting there. If you spill your drink, the players may end up wearing it. The Leinenkugel's Lumber Lounge is located over the right field wall and is available for private parties.
It's hard not to appreciate being so close to the Mississippi River. Between the river and the stadium is the Candlelight Inn, home of the "famous" Chicken George. Being that I will generally choose chicken over anything else, I was happy to give it a whirl. The food was tasty but I wouldn't go as far as calling it famous. In any case, it is a nice family restaurant. There is seating outside, near the water which looks like it would be great on warm days.
A few blocks west on 4th Street, you will find Hooks Pub. The locals recommend it as a great place to relax and have a drink. The pub also subscribes to MLB Extra Innings so baseball fans are more than welcome.
The fans are a mixed bag. While sitting behind home plate, I spoke to a few folks who knew the players, their stats, and their tendencies. They also knew some about the visiting team and seemed happy to be there and enjoy the baseball. They were a small, but dedicated group. I also spent a couple innings at a picnic table in left field. The table in front of me was full and literally nobody from that table even glanced at the field while I was there.
Ashford is very easy to get into and around. The concourse is wide and getting in and out of the stadium is a breeze. The bathrooms, with cup holders where they are very much needed, are clean and easily accessible for everyone. Parking is free and the preference is to park on the north side of the stadium. Parking on the west side, it is almost impossible to not hit any potholes.
Tickets range from $5.00 to $8.00 with kids five and under getting in free. Parking is free and the food and drinks are more than reasonable. As stadiums go, you would be hard pressed to find a better deal on the small amount of money it costs to take in a LumberKings game.
There is a semi-circle inlet in left field. I was hoping to see an unusual play off of it, but no such luck. Definitely a unique feature.
Cup holders in the restrooms. Why this isn't common practice, I do not know.
Louie the LumberKing. As mascots go, he was very friendly in a non-annoying sort of way. He was busy the whole game shaking hands, taking pictures, and entertaining the kids.
Ashford University Field isn't the fanciest stadium around. There are no big video boards or constant between innings filler just to have something to watch. This stadium is about baseball. It has a pleasant feel, the people are friendly, and the price is right. If you are in Iowa or passing through, this should be on your list of places to see.
From Minneapolis to New Orleans, you'll find great baseball towns all along the mighty Mississippi River. Alliant Energy Field is home to the Clinton LumberKings of the Midwest League. Formerly known as Riverview Stadium (I'll let you guess why), the ballpark was built in 1937 and has consecutively been home to a minor league baseball team ever since 1954. On Oct 1, 2011, the stadium name changed from Alliant Energy Field to Ashford University Field as the school teamed up with the LumberKings and will play 14 of their Saints baseball games at this historic venue in 2012.
The team is currently the Class A affiliate of the Seattle Mariners, but has shifted alliances several times over the organization's history. In fact, Clinton has been affiliated with 11 different MLB ball clubs, meaning there's been quite a range of great players to call this field home. The team proudly displays the alumni who have moved on to the Majors. Some of the names that caught my eye included Denny McLain, Tom Kelly, Ron LeFlore, Mike Scioscia, Dave Stewart, Orel Hershiser, Matt Williams, and Ian Kinsler.
The stadium was built in an era when the stands were allowed to be closer to the field than what you'll find in more modern ballparks. The good news from this is that you can be incredibly close to the action. The bad news is that screens run from first base to third base in an attempt to protect the fans.
Nevertheless, you are in for a great baseball experience when you make the visit to Clinton, Iowa.
The ballpark set up for a great night. A classic ballpark with charm, unfortunately that was not the case. Ashford University Field fell short. For one thing the stadium felt rundown and dark. The food was cheep but lacked quality and the concourse was not in view of the field. A net obstructed the view from dugout to dugout. The ushers were not welcoming as they checked my ticket on a night with a crowd of on 800+. It was off putting to say the least.
The Lumberkings did not take advantage of the old time feel and filled the middle of innings with games that no one seemed to notice. That leads to the fans which were only somewhat into the game. There were some good fans but others seemed only apart of the scenery. The most annoying part of the game was that the announcements were so load you couldn't hear yourself think.
Beyond the issues that the Lumberkings caused, nature made the experience worse. Thousands of bugs from the nearby Mississippi River were attracted to the lights and attacked all the fans that were close to the field and made the late innings miserable.
On the other hand the tickets were not to expensive and the seats are very close to the field giving a great feel to the ballpark. The place does have a lot of charm and you do feel you are watching a game in a different era. Extra for having one of the few remaining wooden outfield walls in minor league baseball.
Overall, I think Clinton is for really big baseball fans, it is a classic in a world of few classics, if the Lumberkings could just fix a few things and embrace the classic feel Ashford University Field would be an old fashioned gem in the Midwest League.
I had a fantastic time at the game I attended here.
The radio announcer simply called the game and added just the right amount of color commentary. No yammering.
The music level was perfect. There was minimal noise and music which is the way I like to watch the game.
The game I saw was a pitcher's duel. It was 0 - 0 in the 9th and a Lumberkings player got a walk off single. The game lasted 2 hours and 24 minutes.
I did sit where Stadium Journey recommended as I don't like sitting behind the net and it was perfect. And, I did try the El Toro Mexican restaurant - this evening, it was buy one margarita; get one free (a nice perk), and the food and service was good.
I, too, would recommend visiting this ballpark.
I am a veteran of nearly 40 professional baseball stadiums, and this was by far the worst. That being said, if you like baseball, don't let the lousy stadium get in your way of enjoying game here. It sort of makes me think of how minor league baseball probably used to be in the old days, without the creature comfort's that most newer and nicer facilities have.
One nice thing that I have to say about the stadium is that it is definitely a town institution. It is clear that the town's people have a sense of pride in the team, and the stadium is staffed almost entirely by the towns residents. I had the great fortune to sit next to one of the groundskeepers for the entire game, and he gave me all of the ins and outs of the team, the fans, and the stadium.
In terms of food, there is nothing good here, and you would be well served to eat in town, and then come just for the game. I asked my new friend if I was going to eat one thing, what would it be. He told me of a type of sampler basket that had a catchy name (which escapes me right now) that had examples of all of their different fried foods. When I went to try and get one, they were out of just about everything, so I got a burger which made me sick. There was better beer than I was expecting, so that is something.
The stadium is very easy to get to, and the parking, from what I could tell, is always free. Seating is general admission, and you are right on top of the action. Park as far down the first baseline as possible, because there is not much space between the field and the parking lot. There were at least two broken windshields when I came out at the end of the game.
For those fans coming from Illinois, driving across the Mississippi River never gets old. Wild pelicans make their homes along the river very close to the ballpark, and there are several great spots for hiking and sightseeing nearby. I did not get a chance to experience much of the town on this trip, but evidently there is some good spots to eat and drink, including some good breweries.
In conclusion, the stadium is pretty much exactly what you would expect from a place that also hosts the town's high school baseball team. It is rundown, and a little bit of a dump. However, the towns people take pride in their little dump, and for me, baseball is baseball, so if you are in the area, check it out.
I love this ballpark for many reasons. The grandstand is completely covered, its modern in many places, the prices are cheap, and it is a lot of fun to watch a game here when the place is packed. This is small town baseball!
511 Riverview Drive
Clinton, IA 52732
701 N 2nd St
Clinton, IA 52732
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