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C.O. Brown Stadium

Battle Creek, MI

Home of the Battle Creek Bombers

3.4

N/A

C.O. Brown Stadium (map it)
1392 Capital Ave NE
Battle Creek, MI 49017


Battle Creek Bombers website

C.O. Brown Stadium website

Year Opened: 1990

Capacity: 4,701

There are no tickets available at this time.

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Bombs Away

Built in 1990, C.O. Brown Stadium has been the home of the Battle Creek Bombers of the Northwoods League, a summer wood bat collegiate league. The team has been in existence since 2007, and took home the league championship in 2011.

The history of baseball in Battle Creek, Michigan goes back a good deal further in time. Over the years, there have been nine different minor league teams that have called Battle Creek home, including the Cero Frutos in 1902. More recently, C.O. Brown Stadium has been the home of the Southwest Michigan Devil Rays, who were a Class A affiliate of the Tampa Bay MLB franchise. That team moved following the 2006 season to become the Great Lakes Loons of the Midwest League.

Over the years, the field of the current stadium has had the likes of Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Hank Greenberg, Charlie Gehringer, Roy Oswalt, and Johan Santana play here.

Today, C.O. Brown Stadium serves as an outstanding home for baseball during the short summer season, and the team averages over 1,000 fans in attendance for their home games.

3.4

What is FANFARE?

The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:

  • Food & Beverage
  • Atmosphere
  • Neighborhood
  • Fans
  • Access
  • Return on Investment
  • Extras

Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".

Food & Beverage    3

The Bombers offer a varied menu, and more items than a fan could probably try over the course of an entire season. Unusual items include the fried mac & cheese wedges ($4.75), poblano and jalapeno poppers ($4), BBQ boneless wings ($4.75), and the Twinkie Dog ($2.75). I tried the Twinkie Dog, which is a grey hot dog served on a split Twinkie, and is one of the worst ballpark items I have tried during my travels. You can add condiments to this hot dog to make it better (or possibly worse) including cheese, ketchup, mustard, onions, whipped cream, and sprinkles.

The beer selection is outstanding with Fat Tire, Shock Top, Bud Light, Woodchuck cider, and local Arcadia brews available. There is a large party deck down the left field line, which features the longest outdoor bar in the state of Michigan.

Overall, while there is a good deal of uniqueness to this menu, the execution means you're in for a an overall average food experience.

Atmosphere    3

There's a fairly typical minor league mix of fans at a Bombers game, including many families, folks out for a night out, or hard core baseball fans. You can spot the few dedicated individuals who attend most or all of the team's home contests.

There is a wacky mix of in between inning shenanigans as you might expect. During my most recent visit in 2013 there were three mascots dressed as gorillas chasing a banana mascot, who were then thwarted by a sumo wrestler. You just never know what you're going to get.

The scoreboard in left center field provides fans with the very basic information that fans need, including the score, name of the batter, and their position. Seating consists of four rows of chairback seats below the aisle with good leg room and cup holders. Above the aisle you'll find bleacher seats with almost non-existent leg room.

If you want to be in a comfortable seat for the game, then it is worth the extra $2 per ticket to secure one of the reserved box seats, although if the crowds are sparse, you can likely make your way down without much push back from the ushers.

There are also picnic tables down the right field line which are a fine place to stretch out and watch the game. Or you can hang out at the party deck bar in left field. For $23 you can purchase a pass into the Budweiser Party Deck, which includes all you can eat food and drink including hot dogs, bacon cheeseburgers, brats, grilled chicken, pulled pork, chips, baked beans, soda, water and selection of 6 beers on tap (domestic and crafts).

Neighborhood    3

Downtown Battle Creek is located less than three miles away and has plenty of worthwhile bars and restaurants to visit, including the Arcadia Brewing Co. where they offer sandwiches, BBQ, salads, and innovative appetizers along with their locally crafted beers.

Also along Michigan Avenue is the Cricket Club, where they have a fine beer selection with over 50 drafts available. They somewhat inexplicably do not allow hats here. I was told that rule is in place to keep the rabble out. Go figure.

If you're in the area for a while, then you should consider a trip to Binder Park Zoo where you can hand feed the giraffes. Entry is $13. Also nearby is the Firekeepers Casino if you're feeling lucky. Historic Schuler's Restaurant in Marshall, Michigan which has been in business for more than 100 years, is well worth a stop as well.

Closer to the stadium you'll find plenty of fast food and chain restaurant options.

Fans    3

It's a pretty tame fan base when you go to see a Battle Creek Bombers game. You'll certainly find a handful of regulars keeping score and sitting in the first few rows. In general you'll find a very friendly lot when you go to a Battle Creek Bombers game.

Access    5

You'll find Bailey Park, where C.O. Brown Stadium is located, just about eight miles north of I-94. The ballpark is just off of M-66. Parking is free and plentiful, with individual lots named after famous ball players such as Willie Mays, Pee Wee Reese, Sandy Koufax, Nolan Ryan, Stan Musial, and Connie Mack. This just adds to the overall ambiance.

Inside the stadium, the concourses are very wide so you'll never feel cramped.

Return on Investment    4

The most expensive tickets go for $8, or you can get general admission for $6. The price is right to hopefully see some future stars. In 2013, Kirk Gibson's son Cam Gibson, was an all-star for the Bombers, wearing his father's number 23. It may be years before the players you see at Brown Stadium become stars or major leaguers, but there is always a certain sense of pride to be able to lay claim to seeing them before they were stars.

Free parking, and reasonable concessions, make this venue a worthwhile investment for your sports dollar.

Extras    3

The outfield wall is interesting in that it varies in size, and is asymmetrical. The left line is 322 feet from home plate, while center field is 402 and right field is 333. Line-ups for the day's game are posted in the concourse, along with the current league standings. There is also a small team shop inside, offering souvenir items for sale.

Final Thoughts

As baseball fans explore the ballparks in the various summer wood bat leagues, this would be one that is worth the trip. There is some history and uniqueness to this little ballpark. It may not make anyone's bucket list, but it is well worth a visit if you're in the area.

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Local Food & Drink

Arcadia Brewing Company  (map it!)

103 W Michigan Ave

Battle Creek, MI 49017

(269) 963-9690

http://www.arcadiaales.com/

The Cricket Club  (map it!)

36 W Michigan Ave

Battle Creek, MI 49017

(269) 963-2725

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Cricket-Club/174578339198?ref=br_tf

Schuler's Restaurant & Pub  (map it!)

115 S Eagle St

Marshall, MI 49068

(269) 781-0600

http://www.schulersrestaurant.com/

Local Entertainment

Binder Park Zoo  (map it!)

7400 Division Dr

Battle Creek, MI 49014

(269) 979-1351

http://www.binderparkzoo.org/

FireKeepers Casino  (map it!)

11177 E Michigan Ave

Battle Creek, MI 49014

(877) 352-8777

http://www.firekeeperscasino.com/default/index.cfm

Lodging

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