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Official Review by Paul Swaney, Stadium Journey Co-Founder
Since 1996, the Lansing Lugnuts have been part of the sports landscape in the state capital of Michigan. The Lugnuts were named in honor of the state's long history of automobile engineering, and originally played at Oldsmobile Park. The ballpark has since been renamed Cooley Law School Stadium, but the moniker has remained. As a Class A minor league affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays, the Lugnuts are members of the Midwest League and have won two league championships (1997 & 2003).
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Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
The variety and quality of food is really impressive at Cooley Law School Stadium. The basic plan at most ballparks is to offer all those classic foods that you expect when attending a live sporting event, then mix in a few unique or signature items. At a Lansing Lugnuts game you can expect this formula, but amplified with a lot more interesting choices.
I started with the smoked turkey leg ($7.50) just because I was feeling the caveman vibe. It was pretty good, but you can't help but feel a little silly wielding this small club. At the same stand, you can find Carolina BBQ pulled pork ($6.25) and BBQ ribs ($6.75 for a half slab). They also have whole pickles ($1), which is a stadium snack that is quickly becoming a favorite of mine.
The super nachos ($6.75) did look especially stacked and, well, super. You can also opt for a burrito ($6.50). A little further down there are Philly cheese steaks available ($6.75) or you can turn that classic into a nacho-ized version ($6.75). I tried the cheesesteak and thought it was pretty good.
At the main concourse stands you'll find your classics with a couple more unique items. One is the foot long fish taco ($5.75), which scared me a little bit. Funnel Cake fries ($5) are a good choice, and the brats are provided by Johnsonville ($4.75).
Beer is reasonably priced ($6) and comes in a souvenir sized cup. The selection includes LaBatt's, Leinenkugel Summer Shandy, as well as other usual culprits. Soda is provided by Pepsi and will cost you either $3.75 or $4.50 if want the larger souvenir cup.
As you enter through the main gate behind home plate, you reach the concourse and see the field below you. Down the aisles, you'll find 19 rows of green plastic seats stretching from dugout to dugout. There are cupholders for each seat, and about average leg room. Other than that, most of the seating consists of metal bleachers with green plastic backs. They're reasonably comfortable as bleachers go, and have slightly better than average leg room.
I attended on a Sunday and it was Kids Day. Now, I've been to plenty of Kids days or Family days in other stadiums, and I think the Lansing Lugnuts do about as good of a job as I have seen. Fans were invited to play catch on the field about an hour before the first pitch, and were given the entirety of the outfield grass to roam. From there, fans were exited through a gate near the right field foul pole where there were several Lugnut players available to sign autographs.
Up the steps and back to the concourse, and there were representatives of a nearby zoo with animals that kids were able to touch or pet including snakes, turtles, lizards, birds, and a ferret. Continuing toward home plate, there were clowns on hand making animal balloons and painting faces. As you continue to left field, there is an outstanding play area and playground for the kids, picnic tables and a concession stand for the adults. A family could easily camp out in left for a game, with all ages being happy.
There is little shade in the seating areas so be sure to bring your sunscreen with you. There is berm seating available in both left and right field. It is elevated quite a bit with good thick grass for a comfortable view. Unfortunately, it's not possible to walk entirely around the concourse, although it seems like the team could make adaptations to accommodate those fans who like to be able to do a full lap around the ballpark.
Cooley Law School Stadium is located on Michigan Avenue, just a few blocks from the Michigan State Capitol Building. In between is a nice little downtown area known as Washington Square with shops, bars, and restaurants. The closest to the ballpark is the Nuthouse Sports Grill. They've got about 20 beers on tap and a tasty menu of typical pub food.
For a unique location, try Clara's Lansing Station. It's an old train station with a train car attached. Whether you decide to eat inside the train or the station, you're in for a unique dining experience. The food isn't spectacular, but they do offer a pretty good breakfast buffet if you go to a Sunday game.
It was a pretty small crowd the day that I attended, and most seemed to be there for the family entertainment rather than the baseball game itself. That being said, even though the score was lopsided, many fans stayed for the entire game.
Street parking is free on the weekends, but you should check all signs to ensure you're in a safe place. I parked on Michigan Ave just west of the ballpark, close to the Capitol building so I could walk around the neighborhood a bit. There are also parking garages nearby, with 4 hours of parking costing about $7.
The concourse is plenty wide, and other than the fact that you can't do a complete circuit, it is a very walkable stadium. Bathrooms were large with no lines, but there were issues with the sinks being able to produce water, and many of their soap dispensers were fresh out. So the stadium crew needs to give a little more attention here.
Tickets go for $8 (berm), $9 (reserved bleacher), and $10 (box seats). Unless you want to sit on the outfield berm, the $10 box seat is definitely the way to go here. The food and drinks are fairly priced, and you can pick up a Philly cheesesteak or something from the BBQ stand, as well as a pickle and a beer, and your total experience should come in for under $25, or $32 if you need to pay for parking in one of the garages.
There are more than 30 current MLB players who have spent time as Lansing Lugnuts. Chances are, someone you see at Cooley Law School Stadium will one day be in the show.
Another extra point for the absolutely perfectly executed kids day. If you're in the area, this is a great place to spend some family time for an affordable price.
Overall, I really enjoyed my day at the ballpark watching the Lansing Lugnuts. It's a ballpark that I plan to return to again.
Member Review by EMUEagle17 on May 06, 2013
-So many options of food to pick from, lot's of different carts etc.
-Hard to find good parking unless to pay $10-20
-Good price for tickets
-Fans get into games, team has a fight song and promotions between innings.
-Many things to do for kid's. There is a play area, and playground. Kids can run bases after some games. Big Lug the mascot.
-Autograph sessions before every game.
637 E Michigan Ave
Lansing, MI 48912
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