Chukchansi Park (map it)
1800 Tulare Street
Fresno, CA 93721
Year Opened: 2002
There are no tickets available at this time.
Official Review by Andrew Kulyk, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
Baseball in Fresno can actually be traced as far back as 1898, with numerous incarnations of minor league teams playing in these parts throughout the decades. The most recent team, the AAA Fresno Grizzlies of the Pacific Coast League, moved here in 1998, when the Arizona Diamondbacks began play at the MLB level and teams had to be added at the minor league level as well. The D-Backs set up their minor league shop in Tucson, which meant that the Tucson Toros were relocated to Fresno. For four years they played at Fresno State University's Beiden Field, before relocating to their new downtown ballpark in 2002.
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 ballpark's well appointed and diverse concession stands can be mostly found along the lower concourse. There is a Mexican stand; there is a barbecue stand. There are microbrews, all accompanied by your regular stadium fare. The tri-tip sandwich is supposedly the marquee item on the menu. It gets better up in the CRU Club on the second level, which offers a full service restaurant complete with pregame buffet, and complimentary soft drinks, snacks and popcorn throughout the game.
The ballpark's architecture and scale, with a two deck configuration, a ring of suites and a club level premium seating porch gives this ballpark a major league feel when it is full of fans. The coolest entertainment diversion is the dancing grounds crew, where the guys all drop their infield grooming nets and do a dance routine down on the field. The fans eat it up, and it's pretty good stuff.
Downtown Fresno has to be one of the dreariest places one would ever want to visit. The streets are all clean and well groomed, but the buildings surrounding the ballpark are mostly empty. There is no life on the streets, right across from the ballpark is a bus station, and there are absolutely no places for pre or post game libations or entertainment. The outdoor shopping mall beyond left/centerfield connects right into the ballpark gate via its pedestrian mall, but the shops there too are almost totally vacant. About the only place we saw that even had a pulse was a mid rise Radisson Hotel about three blocks beyond centerfield.
The team is affiliated with the San Francisco Giants, and that offers some unique marketing synergies with the parent club, but unfortunately they do not take enough advantage of. The team draws just so-so in attendance, what given the attractiveness of the newer ballpark, but the heat and humidity in this region makes this one of the more uncomfortable places to watch a game.
The ballpark is located right in the middle of downtown Fresno and is easily accessible from the local highways. Parking, however, is an issue. The unfriendly municipal policy of paid meter parking for events requires fans to pony up $3-$4, all in quarters, to park on the street. So most patrons sidle up to one of the ramps or stadium lots and pay the $5 fee. Huge swaths of street spots remain unclaimed, while fans are herded into clogged ramps and surface lots. Crazy. No wonder this city is a ghost town - who would want to come down here?
Ticket prices run from $10-$19. CRU Club seats are sold in 12 game packages and average out to about $40 per game and that includes the grub mentioned earlier. If you're going to visit here make it a Thirsty Thursday. You're looking at $1 beers and not for some small cup of watered down draft, but rather a 24-ounce Tecate. Enjoy as much as you can drink through the end of the 5th inning.
To beat the heat, misting grids run across the ceiling of the 100 level concourse, sending off a cool subtle water spray onto the corridors and parts of the 100 level seats. Also, I'd like to mention a nicely appointed Fresno Sports Hall of Fame display on the third base side. Always nice to see a community showcase its history.
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