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Official Review by James Hilchen, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
Sitting a mere few hundred feet away from the Mississippi River, 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 to include new lighting, bigger dugouts, and better locker rooms and batting cages.
Ashford is home to the Clinton LumberKings, single-A affiliate of the Seattle Mariners since 2009. A quick scan of the list of players who have played in Clinton include greats such as Denny McClain, Mike Scioscia, Dave Stewart, Orel Hershiser, Jason Bay, and Ian Kinsler.
The LumberKings are the last remaining 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 of the iconic Field of Dreams movie site.
The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:
Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
Much like the ballpark, the concessions offer the basics, with one exception. The featured food item at this ballpark is simply called...the garbage pail. For $8.50, you get a load of mini tacos, chicken strips, fries, onion rings, poppers, cheese balls, corn nuggets, and corn dogs. It's not the healthiest thing around, but who cares, everyone that was eating them seemed quite happy with their choice.
The prices are quite good and for $3-$5 you can have burgers, brats, hot dogs, nachos, grilled cheese, onion rings, cheese balls, ice cream, popcorn, and many other traditional ballpark items.
Can and bottles of soda, including RC Cola, Diet Rite, Sun Drop, 7 Up, A&W Root Beer, lemonade, and Snapple along with water are the beverage choices.
For the adults, there is a decent choice beer and malt type beverages available throughout the concourse and out by left field.
Entering the gates gets you to the concourse with concessions, restrooms, and the LumberKings team shop. Walking up the entrance ramps to the seating bowl is like going back in time. The stadium was built in 1937 and not much has been done with the appearance since, which isn't a bad thing. The seating bowl is very uncomplicated with three rows of stadium box seats which sit in front of the walkway, guaranteeing fans will rarely have their view of the game blocked by someone walking by. Behind the walkway bleachers encompass the rest of the seating bowl. The bleachers behind home plate have backs to them and are a bit more comfortable than those without. Netting surrounds most of the infield from mid-dugout on the third base side to mid-dugout on the first base side. An overhang covers the entire seating bowl so the likelihood of being in the shade most, if not all of the game is quite good.
Over the right field wall is the Leinenkugel's Lumber Lounge, which hosts groups of 25-200 people. The Coors Light Picnic Pavilion hosts groups of similar size and sits down the left field line along with the Bullpen Patio, which hosts smaller groups and gives the unique experience of sitting directly over the wall from the home bullpen. A kid's area is also in the left field corner where kids can play on various equipment for $5, good for the entire game.
Once the game starts, it's all about baseball with your typical between innings promotions. A primitive scoreboard sits over the left-center field wall. You won't get replays on ancillary stats on the scoreboard, simply the line score and ball and strike count, which only adds to the old-time charm of this stadium.
The best part about the location of the ballpark is that you are literally a couple minutes' walk from the Mississippi River. A quick walk up 6th Avenue will get you to the Candlelight Inn Restaurant. The Candlelight is a great family restaurant, having a large menu with something for everyone. Chicken George with Jan sauce is the specialty of the house and quite popular.
If Mexican food is your thing, just down South 2nd Avenue is the El Toro Restaurant. The locals say El Toro doesn't serve a bad meal and is well worth a visit.
The majority of the hotels are in the same area, about 10 minutes away from the ballpark. It's a quick and easy drive and there is a wide choice of lodging including a nice Hampton Inn.
For those involved in the party areas many seem more interested in socializing than paying attention to the game. Fans sitting in the seating bowl largely have their focus on the goings on on the field and cheer when the situation dictates. Numerous fans can be seen keeping score of the game, a tradition that seems to be disappearing from baseball stadiums across the country. Fans in Clinton are pleasant to talk with and seem proud of their ballpark.
The majority of the ballpark is very easy to get around. The concessions are under the seating bowl with another food area down the left field line. The seating bowl is easily maneuverable and you can get to the restrooms and concessions without much difficulty. The left field corner encompasses a kid's area, concessions, and a party area and can become quite congested on busy nights. The parking areas are close and easy to get in and out of. The concession lines move relatively quickly and are sufficiently staffed.
For the price you pay, this might be one of the best experiences in all of minor league baseball. Parking is free and there are two lots (on the first base and third base sides of the stadium) that make the walk to the stadium minimal. Tickets are $8 for box seats and $7 for general admission. Seniors, students, and military will pay $6 for GA, and children 5 and under are free. Combine this with very reasonable concession prices and it equals a great time for a minimal amount of money.
An extra point simply for having a fun stadium that is 80 years old.
The left field wall has a quite unique semi-circle "inlet" that would allow for some very strange bounces should the ball hit it.
Any sport fan will appreciate the cup holders in the restrooms. This should be a requirement everywhere.
The LumberKings staff makes the game experience very family friendly. Families can attend a game without worrying that their kids will hear a lot of things they probably shouldn't.
Ashford University Field doesn't offer the most modern feel in the Midwest League, it offers quite the opposite. It takes fans back in time to when baseball was about taking in the experience of what was happening on the field, rooting for your players and against the opposing team. For a true baseball fan, this is a fabulous venue. Come to the ballpark, turn off the cellphone, and simply enjoy baseball at its purest. If enjoying a ballgame is your goal, it doesn't get much better than this.
Member Review by paul
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.
Member Review by PeoriaChiefs94 on Aug 04, 2012
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.
Member Review by megminard on Oct 02, 2012
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.
Member Review by kschoenbach on Oct 21, 2015
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.
511 Riverview Drive
Clinton, IA 52732
701 N 2nd St
Clinton, IA 52732
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