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Official Review by Drew Cieszynski, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
Just north of the Los Angeles International airport, sports fans can see baseballs fly out of George C. Page Stadium when the Loyola Marymount Lions play at home.
The stadium was opened on March 19, 1983 after an initial construction cost of $250,000. George C. Page was largely responsible for securing funding for the stadium during his tenure as the head of the Incentive Aid Foundation of Los Angeles.
Since then, three renovations have occurred to enhance the experience for both fans and players. The first, occurring in 2001 was the addition of the Mikos Blue Monster. In 2004, the gathering place known as Pride Park was added outside of the stadium. Finally, in 2008, the Lion’s Cage was constructed; providing an all-weather facility with batting cages, pitching mounds, and strength/conditioning areas. As all of the renovations have produced unique aspects of the stadium, they will each be elaborated on in the EXTRAS section.
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 had only a single concession stand, closest to third base. The menu was limited to a few main items such as the LMU hot dog ($3), Bratwurst ($4), Polish dog ($4), hamburger ($3.50 or $4 with cheese), BBQ beef sandwich ($4.50), and BBQ chicken breast ($5). Side items included nachos ($3), pretzel ($2.75), churros ($2.25), candy bar ($2), popcorn ($2.75), sunflower seeds ($3), chips ($2.25), and peanuts ($2.50).
The beverage options includes the childhood favorite Icee ($4), Gatorade ($3), water/soda ($2.50), coffee or hot chocolate ($2), and lastly Dole fruit juice ($2.50).
Before stepping away from the concession area, I did notice a plaque beside it reading "Loyola Marymount gratefully acknowledges Farmer John Meats whose generosity enabled this concession stand to be built."
I think all too often in these reviews, we think of atmosphere in terms of a full house of over 50,000 fans yelling and screaming from the start. That certainly will not be the case at a LMU baseball game, nor would I want it any other way.
I first noticed that behind all of the seating, the stadium was surrounded by Sullivan Field (soccer), Smith Field (softball), and the Albert Gersten Pavilion (basketball). Next, the outfield was surrounded by tall trees, showing nothing but the blue skies above it. The stadium itself was mostly pure, free from those pesty advertisements that seem to invade most stadiums today. All of this together creates one of the best true baseball experiences in Southern California. All of the distractions from cars passing by to cheesy entertainment options are withheld and here, it was all about the game of baseball.
The LMU campus is just minutes from the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), yet is nestled is a residential neighborhood. From the higher points on campus, fans can view both Culver City and Santa Monica, two areas which offer vast entertainment and restaurant options.
If fans have the opportunity, I would recommend traveling to the nearby Venice Beach. Not only does it boast possibly the most unique collection of individuals in the country, it also has many unique restaurants that you will not find anywhere but here.
If time is not on your side, the Playa Vista neighborhood also has a multitude of great options.
Piknik has both a bar and restaurant area and offers one of the most extensive menus in the area. Most meals are between $10-$20, but there appears to be something for everyone on the menu. Other popular establishments include Kanpai Japanese Sushi Bar and Grill, Alejo's Presto Italian Restaurant, Italy's Little Kitchen, Thai Talay, KC's Crepes Café, Chicago for Ribs, Taj India Palace, and Beach Pizza (offers the famous "Hang Ten" pizza).
To be completely fair, the game I attended started at 10 AM, and I can't imagine many college students being up at such a time on a Saturday morning.
The stands were sparse and I ultimately saw more fans wearing Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim gear than LMU Lions merchandise. The fans that were on hand did cheer for the notable plays, but were otherwise rather muted; perhaps they were just soaking in the atmosphere as much as I was.
I was pleased to see some of the members of the LMU basketball team on hand to watch the game prior to their game that evening.
The campus is north of LAX airport and easy to find for most fans. The trick is the entry as fans can only enter via the main entrance of campus and take a drive through campus to get to the stadium. The drive through campus is a wonderful one, but it was initially a bit confusing.
Parking is free on site, but can fill up quickly for larger events. Should the lot be full, fans can also find street parking nearby.
Inside the stadium fans will find grandstand seating for 600 people, with 200 "VIP" fold down seats immediately behind home plate. A picnic area down the right field line also provides great views and seats for additional fans.
There was a single restroom area behind the grandstand, and the Men's room could only accommodate four fans in a very tight space. The restrooms were clean and very accessible with the crowd on hand, but I would caution anyone who is claustrophobic.
I was rather impressed with the season ticket options presented at the venue. For just $30, fans get access to chairback seating for the whole season (includes softball at Smith Field and a free blanket). For an extra $20, you get your own name plate to permanently reserve your seat for the season.
Single game pricing is a mere $8 for adults, $6 for youth/seniors, and $6 for visiting students. Therefore fans from anywhere can attend a game with parking for under $10. Add in the reasonable concessions and this is one of the best values in Southern California!
I was extremely appreciative of the enhancements that the Lions have built into the park over the years, making it a truly unique venue.
The first, not to go unnoticed by any fan is the Mikos Blue Monster. Probably based off a certain wall in Boston, it was able to happen because of a gift from Paul Mikos (class of 1966). The size in this ballpark is tremendous at 37 feet tall and 130 feet wall. The embedded scoreboard has electronic balls, strikes, outs, at-bat, and hit/error identification. All other aspects of the scoreboard utilize two foot square aluminum scoreboards.
Arrive to the game early and spend 15 minutes observing Pride Park. Constructed in 2004, it is usually the first thing fans see as they approach the stadium. Built to resemble a miniature ballpark, fans will notice many bricks that act as the basepath and grass that are engraved with names of donors. The "home-run" wall is actually in bench shape that has engravings that recognize the West Coast Conference championship teams, NCAA tournament appearance, and retired jersey numbers. There is also an elevated home plate, honoring longtime LMU fan, Narcisa A. Cruz with a plaque. Lastly, fans should get a picture of the façade, with its shiny lettering and tall palm trees that create a welcoming atmosphere.
Most recent of the renovations is the Lion's Cage is the new training facility, found in right field . It has hitting tunnels, pitching mounds, and a large players lounge. Probably the most interesting feature is the Plexiglass roll-up doors that allow players to enjoy the Southern California weather while training.
One other item I noticed about the venue included the elevated views into the bullpens from the bleachers. This allows fans to see the pitchers warm up from a great angle.
Being so close to Hollywood, this stadium has also made an appearance on the silver screen. The Internet Movie Database (IMDb) mentions that George C. Page stadium is actually shown at the end of My Blue Heaven, starring Steve Martin.
Though the Loyola Marymount Lions may not pack George Page Stadium with rowdy fans, it still provides an enjoyable baseball experience. Fans of all ages can easily get around the stadium for great views of the action that few venues offer. With the ease of access from many prominent Los Angeles landmarks, any sports fan in the area should stop in for a game.
Follow Drew's Travels through Southern California on Twitter @Big10Drew.
Member Review by Baseball Buddha on Apr 02, 2014
I liked this stadium, it had personality, isn't cookie cutter, the site lines were interesting, it is located on the campus. I went to see LMU take on the defending national champions UCLA. It was a little cool out but the game was great!
8601 Lincoln Boulevard
Westchester, CA 90045
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