LeLacheur Park, located on the banks of the Merrimack River and the edge of the UMass Lowell campus, serves as the home of both the Lowell Spinners, class A short season affiliate of the Boston Red Sox, and the University of Massachusetts-Lowell River Hawks baseball team. Named for civic leader Edward A. LeLacheur, who spearheaded the redevelopment of the city of Lowell, LeLacheur Park has enjoyed several seasons of the facility at full capacity since the arrival of the Spinners in 1998. The ballpark was designed by Populous, the firm responsible for numerous prominent sporting venues worldwide.
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The concessions at LeLacheur Park offer great quantity, if not great quality. It seems as if every spare inch of the concourse is filled with some sort of concession stand. There are two permanent stands on the concourse, one on each side of the ballpark, serving all the standard ballpark fare. Hamburgers, hot dogs, sausage & pepper sandwiches, pizza slices, chicken tenders, and grilled chicken sandwiches are all on the menu here. On Wednesday, hot dogs are sold for a dollar. French fries, onion rings, mozzarella sticks, and nachos are available for fans looking for sides to go with their menu choice. Several snacks, such as pretzels, peanuts, cotton candy, popcorn, and candy bars are sold at these stands. Coca-Cola products are featured at LeLacheur Park. The quality is good overall, and the prices are typical of most ballparks in the area.
Throughout the concourse are portable stands selling a wide variety of food items, such as fried dough, ice cream, and other snack items. Four grilles are scattered throughout the concourse, each with the theme of a local major league team (Celtics, Bruins, Patriots, and Red Sox). These stands have identical menus, featuring steak and cheese subs, sausage and pepper subs, hot dogs, and burgers. The lines are generally shorter here, and the quality of the food is better.
Fans looking for adult beverages will not be disappointed by the selection at LeLacheur Park. There are beer stands adjacent to the two large concession stands, as well as a large Corona tiki hut down the right field line. A variety of craft and imported beers are available here for $5.25, including Corona, Samuel Adams, Heineken, Amstel Light, Harpoon, Modelo, and Newcastle Brown Ale. Domestic beer, including Coors Light, Miller Lite, and Narragansett, are sold for $5. A variety of wine and sangria are also sold for $6.
For fans looking for something a little different at LeLacheur Park, the Gator Pit is an all you can eat BBQ picnic area located underneath the stands. For approximately $30, depending on what level seats you purchase, fans can enjoy steak tips, BBQ ribs, sausages, hot dogs, chicken wings, grilled chicken breasts, salad, coleslaw, baked beans, corn on the cob, fresh fruit, and drinks. The Gator Pit is open for 90 minutes from the opening of the gates until the first pitch.
Whether or not you enjoy the game day experience at LeLacheur Park may depend entirely on your age. One thing is for sure, the Spinners staff certainly do try. They try hard, very hard. That may be their biggest problem in fact. There are sound effects, video clips, PA announcements, and exhortations for fans to clap their hands and/or stomp their feet between every single pitch all game long. For the great many children in the stands, these distractions from the action are welcome. They are more than happy to oblige, and the aluminum stands at LeLacheur Park are perfect for jumping up and down and making lots of noise. It doesn't take long for all this noise to annoy many fans in attendance, but many others enjoy the experience thoroughly.
There is a contest, game, or giveaway between every half inning, including several t-shirt tosses, sing-alongs, and most famously, the rubber chicken toss, during which several rubber chickens are tossed into the stands. For many Spinner fans, this is the highlight of the evening's shenanigans, and has become synonymous with the Spinners. Located beyond the left field stands is Swamp Land, an area filled with several slides, bouncy houses, and other attractions for the younger Spinners fans.
The Spinners conduct several giveaways and theme nights throughout the season, including several bobblehead nights. Many Spinners alumni have been honored in bobblehead form, as well as local residents such as Jack Kerouac, Stephen King, and Jay Leno. Theme nights such as Parrot Head night, Princess night, and Super Hero night are always popular, as are nights honoring the local major league teams. Annual visits from members of the Bruins, Celtics, and Patriots always draw large crowds.
There are tables set up all along the contest for local sponsors, and there is a silent auction featuring local sports teams every night. Even the ushers get in on the action, dancing on dugouts or otherwise taking part in the evening's activities. If you can find the usher of the game, it could be worth $20 to you. There is truly plenty to do and see at LeLacheur Park.
LeLacheur Park is located adjacent to several university buildings on the UMass Lowell campus in downtown Lowell. The city of Lowell was a major center for manufacturing during the industrial revolution. As a result of this rich history, Lowell contains many buildings of historical significance, several of which have been preserved by the National Park Service and remain in use today as museums open to the public. Several of these old mill buildings are within walking distance of LeLacheur Park. As is the case with many industrial cities of the north, the boon that brought prosperity to these cities faded, and with it went many jobs and a great deal of money. During this time, the city of Lowell obtained a reputation as a violent, crime-ridden city, best to be avoided. Recent decades have been kinder to Lowell, and there has been a growth in business, cultural, and educational development in the city. Statistically, Lowell is safer than many other New England cities of similar size but unfortunately, Lowell's bad reputation lingers to this day.
Fans arriving early to LeLacheur Park can walk along the Riverwalk and observe some of the rapids that powered the old mills back in the days of the industrial revolution. Located a short distance from LeLacheur Park is the Lowell National Historical Park, which contains several buildings significant for their involvement in the growth of manufacturing in Lowell and beyond. Fans of American literature should be sure to check out the memorial for native son Jack Kerouac, which is part of the tour.
The area around LeLacheur Park has seen a great deal of development since the opening of the ballpark, but it hasn't resulted in increased dining or lodging options for visiting fans. Fans looking for a place to gather before or after a game for a bite to eat or (more specifically) a drink will be pleased to find the Lowell branch of Boston Beer Works located in one of the old mills about a block from LeLacheur Park. Beer Works is known for their wide variety of craft beers and fine food. It's a must-see for those fans who enjoy sampling some local flavor along with their sporting journeys.
The Spinners have finished in the top four in the New York-Penn League in each of the past 10 seasons, and finished second in attendance for the 2014 season. The team averages in the vicinity of 4,500 fans per night every season. With the capacity of LeLacheur Park listed at 5,000, it's easy to deduce that there is a packed house on the banks of the Merrimack River most nights. If traveling from out of town, it's highly advised that you purchase your tickets ahead of time. Tickets can be had on the day of game, and the team does sell standing room tickets on those nights where there is a sellout crowd.
LeLacheur Park's proximity to Fenway Park (30 miles separate the two ballparks) guarantees that the fans in attendance will be very knowledgeable about the players on the team. The Red Sox fan base is one of the most dedicated you will find anywhere, and this passion trickles down all the way to the Spinners, the team's Short Season Single A affiliate.
Despite the great representation and dedication shown by the majority of the fan base here in Lowell, be warned that the experience at LeLacheur Park will be full of distractions. Since the crowd is made up of many families, there is a lot of action going on in the stands, and it doesn't always limit itself to the breaks between innings. Not everyone at LeLacheur Park follows the accepted baseball etiquette of waiting for a break in the action to move from their seats, so you may be forced to get up several times during the game to allow others to pass by, or your view may be blocked by crowd traffic at times. It's a downside to having an enthusiastic, young crowd, but it still beats a half-full ballpark by a longshot.
While hardly a destination city in its own right, Lowell's proximity to Boston makes it an easy stop for baseball fans traveling in the area. Lowell is located 25 miles northwest of Boston, served by the Lowell Connector off of Interstate 495, a short drive from both interstate 95 and Route 3.
Parking is plentiful near the ballpark, with a few small surface lots and a decent sized parking garage located nearby. Fans willing to walk a few blocks can find plenty of free on street parking as well.
Fans arriving to Lowell by train will arrive at the Amtrak station a mile away from the ballpark. The bus station in Lowell is located in the same complex, and has routes that drop passengers off at the nearby campus. From there, the ballpark is a short walk away.
LeLacheur Park features a single concourse at the top of the seating bowl, which allows fans to watch the action on the field while waiting in line for concessions. As is the case with many ballparks in the northeast, crowds at LeLacheur Park move around quite a bit during the course of the game, and the small concourse can get very crowded at times. Two pairs of bathrooms are open for Spinners games, and they are adequate for the size of a typical Lowell crowd.
Tickets at LeLacheur Park consist of three price levels, ranging in price from $7 (reserved seats) to $10 (premium box seats). Prices increase by $2 on the day of the game, so get tickets in advance if possible. Parking is available in a large parking garage adjacent to the ballpark for $6, or in surface lots nearby for $5. On street parking is fairly plentiful on the streets around LeLacheur Park, but be aware that the meters are in effect until 8pm on most days. With reasonable food prices, LeLacheur Park is an affordable place to bring the family for a professional baseball game.
An extra point is awarded for the sense of fun at a Spinners game, from the theme nights to the giveaways to the rubber chickens tossed into the stands. If you are baseball purist, you may not be a huge fan of all the extracurricular action going on, but you will certainly be in the minority here.
Another extra point is awarded for the strong connection between the Spinners organization and the nearby Red Sox. The team's souvenir shop features many Red Sox items, and there is a plaque behind the press box honoring every former Spinner to make the trek up the organization's ladder all the way to Boston. Beyond the center field fence you will find the giant Hood milk jug from Fenway Park, and the Red Sox' retired numbers are posted on the right field wall.
A final extra point is awarded for the staff at LeLacheur Field, who combine excellent customer service with a real sense of fun. While at a Spinners game you are likely to see ushers dancing on dugouts or leading sing-alongs as you are to see them helping fans to their seats. The staff here add to the overall fun experience at LeLacheur Park.
The partnership between NY-Penn League teams and NCAA teams has been successful in many other cities (see Joseph Bruno Stadium in Troy, NY and Medlar Field in State College, PA). It's a natural fit, as the seasons do not overlap, and it increases the amount of dates that a given stadium can be in use. With LeLacheur Field owned and operated by UMass Lowell, having the Spinners and River Hawks share a stadium is a natural fit. The teams involved have enjoyed a successful partnership for the past 16 years. The Spinners' proximity to Boston guarantees solid attendance and knowledgeable fans, and has helped make LeLacheur Park a very popular destination for baseball fans traveling through the northeast.
Situated on the banks of the Merrimack River, Edward A. LeLacheur Park, home of the Red Sox Class A affiliate Lowell Spinners, presents a truly American scene: the national pastime being played out with the backdrop of a historic American town, one that has risen and fallen with the ebbs and flows of industry. The mill towers hovering over the third base line are a constant reminder of the identity of the city, connecting the team, the park and the locale in a rare and harmonious fashion.
The Spinners, who have been in Lowell since 1996, and playing at Lelacheur Park since 1998, are named in homage to the city's history of cotton production. Lowell, which in the mid 1800's was the largest industrial complex in the country, was once home to 10,000 looms and produced more than 50,000 miles of cloth a year. While much of the industry has moved away and the character of the city has changed over time, Spinners baseball in Lowell offers a great, affordable experience, particularly for families with young kids.
Visited on July 14, 2011. We had been to Fenway earlier in the week and were heading back home from Acadia National Park. We had a perfect summer evening for baseball and the fans too advantage of it. The crowd was very large for a weeknight and the fans were very polite and happy to talk baseball. They knew their players which can be a challenge for an A level team since those players can advance so quickly. The food was good but not great and the prices were very reasonable. I'd love to visit again in the future. A very good value.
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