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Official Review by Mike Poirier, Stadium Journey Special Correspondent
The Toronto Maple Leafs of the ball diamond have been a part of the Intercounty Baseball League (IBL) since 1969, and have had solid ownership from the beginning. For the first 40 years, the franchise was run by husband and wife Jack and Lynne Dominico, until Lynne's passing in August 2008. Jack Dominico still oversees the team, and with their dedication to the game of baseball, the ballpark was renamed Dominico Field by the city of Toronto in 2010. The IBL championship has also been named the Jack and Lynne Dominico Trophy.
The Maple Leafs have had some great success over the years, as they have won eight championships. Since they play in the big city, attending an IBL game is free for whoever wants to stop by, and will likely stay that way as long as the Dominicos run the franchise.
One of the first things that stands out when you arrive at the stadium is the steep hills that go along the baselines. Those who attend the games tend to sit along the top of the hills on the park benches, or on the hills which provide an amazing view of the playing field. There are some seats available behind home plate, but seating is limited. Dominico Field is also one of the rare ballparks in the IBL which allows fans to watch the game behind the outfield, which has several trees that provide shade. If you are looking for the concession stand, it is located in a green building behind the outfield fence.
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 concession stand at Dominico Field is pretty basic, but the prices are reasonable. With the location of the field and free admittance, many fans tend to bring their own food to the game from nearby restaurants on Bloor Street, which includes a Tim Hortons right at the corner of Bloor and Christie Street.
Despite the lack of seating, the atmosphere is fantastic. The staff is very friendly, and the fans are very passionate about their Maple Leafs. Many of the long time supporters are not afraid to share their opinions about the home team, or the visiting side. And the view from the hills surrounding the diamond is amazing.
Being in the heart of Toronto, you don't have to go far to find a restaurant or store. But the nice thing about the stadium's location is that it's along a residential neighborhood, and the city sounds are muffled by the large trees in the area. If you have time, taking in the sights along Bloor Street is worth it, or you can even take a quick subway ride towards the downtown core as there is a subway station within walking distance.
It has proven to be pretty difficult to run a sports team in the Greater Toronto Area if you are not in the pro-ranks. But with the consistent ownership and success on the field, the Maple Leafs have developed a solid following. The majority of fans in attendance wear a Maple Leafs baseball hat or are wearing Toronto blue to show their support. The home games are also broadcast on the local cable TV station, which keeps fans connected to the team if they happen to miss a home game.
If you can tolerate driving in the big city, the next challenge is to find parking. If you are coming from out of town, it might be a good idea to consider public transit to get to the field. There is no parking lot connected to the stadium, and the on street parking in the neighborhood tends to be pretty full. It is about a five minute walk from the subway station to the ballpark if you get off at the Christie Station along the Bloor Line, and head north.
If you make your way to a Toronto Maple Leafs game, you will not be disappointed. With the games being free to attend, and the positive atmosphere, you will have an enjoyable time. If you have young kids with you, and they get a little bored, you can take them to the playground behind the concession area, and still be able to see the action out on the field.
With Dominico Field being connected to Christie Pits, there is plenty of park space to enjoy before and after the game. Even just taking a walk through the park, you get the sense that community is very important for those who live in the area, and it's no wonder that Jack Dominico still has a passion to provide free entertainment for those in the neighborhood who enjoy the game of baseball.
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