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Official Review by Steven Bieniek, Stadium Journey Special Correspondent
When you think of Las Vegas, baseball is probably not the first thing that comes to mind. Glitz, glimmer, neon lights, constant bells and whistles, gambling, expensive steak dinners, cheap steak dinners and anything in between is probably what you think about. Maybe you just think of the Hangover movies. Tucked away past the Strip and past Downtown, yet still on Las Vegas Boulevard is Cashman Field, home of the AAA affiliate of the New York Mets, the Las Vegas 51s. If you still want to associate your ideas of glitz and neon lights with this stadium, I would quickly change your thoughts.
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".
The food and beverage truly provides the surprise of the venue in both a good and bad way. Being in Las Vegas you may expect something extremely unique and over-the-top just because everything in Las Vegas is over-the-top. While you're not going to find that specifically, what you will find is an extremely great variety.
You'll find individual stands for hand made tacos, freshly made Philly cheesesteaks, specialty hot dogs, Ben & Jerry's and Dippin' Dots. There are two main concession stands that have a very large menu that includes stadium favorites such as a variety of cheeseburgers, pretzels, french fries and loaded tots.
Prices compare favorably with other minor league ballparks, especially considering you're standing in a place where lone properties drop millions a day between gambling and food and beverage prices. The actual quality of everything is the only thing that kind of leaves you wanting a little more. All of the orders seem to just be on the lukewarm side at best; if not just plain out cold. Loaded tots are a fantastic idea; but nacho cheese has to be hot to make it great. Seeing there are a ton of places that you could eat before you go to the game within a few miles radius; eating at this ballpark still holds up considering price and selection.
Atmosphere and entertainment is right in the meaty part of the bell curve for a minor league ballpark. The ball club does the normal cute games in-between innings that include some Las Vegas flare, such as using oversized dice for people to try to roll the highest number. There are also a couple slot machines in the concourse where you can take a free spin to try to win prizes. Cosmo the mascot does a great job of keeping fans entertained and really creates a nice family atmosphere. The stadium and concourse is also nicely painted in 51s colors so you know exactly where you are at all times.
Lastly, the field is positioned in such a way that you get a great view of the mountains in the distance which is one of the few times you'll see something other than a ton of neon lights while in Las Vegas. If you're in Vegas for any extended period of time, Cashman Field is really a great spot to take a break from the Las Vegas norm.
To put it bluntly, the neighborhood where the stadium is located is really not great. There isn't really anywhere you'd want to walk outside of the stadium complex. The stadium is a fairly short drive from both Downtown and the Strip and that's really the only reason you'd want to give the neighborhood a rating that is more than one star. Once the game starts and once the game is over, there is no reason to hang around the stadium.
Las Vegas makes most of the money for the state of Nevada every year through tourism. As a result, you'll find a lot of tourists at a 51s game. You'll see plenty of locals that are also die-hard baseball fans and most likely, the tourists are huge baseball fans as well. Let's face it, when you're in the City of Sin, you have to be a huge fan of baseball to drag yourself away from the Strip. Since there are many tourists and the rest of the city is such a high energy city, 51s games are somewhat subdued, which is not necessarily a bad thing.
The 51s fall into the same category as a lot of other minor league stadiums where many people go to just sit and enjoy the game and not yell and scream as loud as they can. Las Vegas is a city that seems to always try to distinguish between locals and tourists as well, but in this case, if you're at the ballgame, it probably doesn't matter which you are.
The stadium itself is pretty easy to get to. The stadium is just above the strip and downtown so it's pretty easy to find and easy to park due to the huge parking lot that is accessible for just a small fee. However, if you're a tourist and you haven't rented a car in Las Vegas, you'd pretty much either have to take a cab or the bus. For anyone who hasn't been to Las Vegas, you can get a cab at any hotel in Las Vegas, so getting to the stadium isn't the problem. Traffic is a problem though so leave yourself at least 20 to 30 minutes if you're leaving any time around rush hour.
Getting back to your destination could be a slight issue though. After the game there are a few cabs waiting as they do at hotels, but once those are gone then there isn't a lot of natural taxi activity in the area. The team does have a taxi phone outside the stadium, but it's debatable on how long you have to wait. The stadium is not in the best part of town, so just make sure you know how you are getting back once the game is done.
Going to a 51s game is probably the cheapest thing you'll do in Las Vegas. Tickets max out at $15, so great seats are easily attainable. The food, beer and parking are also fairly cheap considering that you're at a AAA game and in Las Vegas. The baseball is played at a high level, the entertainment is pretty good and the experience itself could be really relaxing if you want it to be. Making the decision to take a night to go see the 51s is a no-brainer.
One extra star goes to the stadium making the best seats in the house somewhere other than the first few rows behind home plate. It's no secret; Las Vegas gets hot in the summer. The management at the 51s were smart enough to put misters underneath the overhang that is above the top 10 or so rows of the stands. One more star goes to the 51s in general for giving Las Vegas another option of entertainment other than shows and casinos.
Cashman Field is a great place to see a minor league baseball game. It doesn't have many frills but in a town full of frills, all you really need is somewhere to relax and watch great baseball. This is easily achieved at Cashman Field. If you're a local or on a prolonged vacation in Las Vegas, it would be one of the best investments you could make to go see the 51s. And to think, you could go see them for what it costs a lot of people to play one hand of blackjack.
Member Review by sportsroadtrips
Las Vegas is not considered a sports destination, unless you believe gambling, drinking, and eating to be sports. But there are over 2 million people who live here and they need some distractions of their own. In the summer, the Pacific Coast League's Las Vegas 51s provide the entertainment out at Cashman Field, an older facility that still offers ball fans some quiet enjoyment away from the lights and noise of the casinos.
Owned by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, Cashman Field is located on Las Vegas Blvd., about 8 miles north of the strip. Few tourists know about it and even fewer care, so you can get an authentic local experience and enjoy some quality baseball at the same time.
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