Orange County has been synonymous with television settings, chopper bikes, Disneyland, and high priced car insurance, but few know of "The Greatest Show on Dirt" also calling Orange County its home.
Formerly known as Titan Field, the now Goodwin Field hosts the Orange County Flyers. This home team is one of eight original members of the independent Golden League and is one of only three remaining of that original eight.
The stadium opened in 1992 and underwent a $3 million renovation in 2001. Originally known as the
Fullerton Flyers, the team changed its name when an investment group that included James Denton
purchased the team in 2007. So yes, you read that correctly. The Flyers are owned by cast member of Desperate Housewives.
Their roommate at Goodwin Field is the Cal-State Fullerton Titans, four-time NCAA baseball Champions.
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".
Being that none of the concessions are permanent, I was rather surprised by the offerings.
Of course, they had your staples - hot dogs will run you $3, while the luxury encased meats such as brats and sausages will cost $4. Hamburgers will cost you that same $4 and the slice of cheese will be an additional $0.50. Fresh corn on the cob, nachos, super pretzels, popcorn, Red Ropes, peanuts, sunflower seeds, kettle korn (yes, with a "k") and the Southern California delicacy, Churros at $2. Pepsi products are available.
The MVP of Goodwin Field appears to be the BBQ Pork or BBQ Beef with a choice of side (Tri-Color Pasta Salad or Famous Baked Beans for $7.95). The pasta salad was what you've come to expect of pasta salad and the BBQ Pork was just average, served on a small white bun. I would even argue that the Pork BBQ in your grocer's freezer is a bit more exciting.
As we painstakingly are subject to mass-produced beer at many stadiums around America, I was thrilled to have 16 oz options such as the local Fireman's Brew and Sierra Nevada on tap at the game for $5. That same price will also land you a glass or wine or a margarita. I was a bit concerned that being on a college campus, the stadium would not be allowed to serve alcoholic beverages, but clearly the Flyers have that covered.
The California "CRV" that you see on many of your plastic bottles provides an incentive for recycling. A local establishment provides even more incentive for not pitching your cup in that if you present it at The Pint House, you'll receive a 75 cent beer.
Before dropping your $5 on a beer, you may want to wait for the "Beer Batter of the Game." A designated batter on the opponent's roster must deal with some extra pressure during each at-bat. If
the batter strikes out, all fans receive beer at half price until the end of the inning. While the said "Beer Batter" did not strike out during this evening's contest, the sound of a pouring beer prior to each pitch did spark some thirst.
Contrary to popular belief, not every fan was checking their Blackberry and discussing their portfolio. In fact, it was quite the opposite.
The stadium was extremely intimate. Only a single restroom was available. All seating was uncovered
and the concourse was wide open. Probably the only aspect that I did not enjoy about the stadium was the netting over the dugouts. Likely for safety, it definitely made the view and photography a bit more frustrating.
The day I attended was a doubleheader, and the gloves were out in full force as they allow you to play catch on the field.
If your significant other is urging you to go to a movie, you can possibly negotiate a trip to the ballpark instead. I heard more movie quotes during this game than any other venue. Some of the popular quotes heard were from movies such as "The Mask," "Wayne's World," "Animal House," "Major League," "Borat" and "Napoleon Dynamite."
"Coal Train," the Coyote Engineer that seemingly left no fan untouched when trying to build excitement. There was also a "paper mascot" called "Homer" the Train that I didn't see beyond the front of the program.
Certainly, the atmosphere would become a little more rowdy on their "Thirsty Thursday," where
they serve beer for a mere $2. Other between inning promotions such as the 3-Legged Race, Fishing
Challenge, and Horse Race seemed to raise the response levels dramatically. The Horse Race was
particularly interesting because it was done with cutout Horse heads on wooden sticks beyond
Just as the average fan would not know that the "Texas" Rangers play in Dallas, the Flyers could be
located anywhere in the many notable communities in Orange County. The team calls Fullerton its
home, located about 40 minutes south of downtown Los Angeles.
When I heard that the stadium was on the campus of Cal-State Fullerton, I thought I'd find some
interesting bars nearby. However, unless I was going to drink the holy wine at the church across the
street or the Visine at the eye doctor, there wasn't much excitement around. To no one's surprise,
several gated communities surrounded the area. The local Arboretum seems to be the main attraction of the community.
About a mile down the road, you could find a Denny's, Habit Burger/Grill, Which Wich, and Del Taco.
One rather unique choice nearby was the Flame Broiler, which uses no frying, serves no skin, and no trans-fat or MSG. While this seems boring to many fans such as Homer Simpson or Peter Griffin, the
proximity of a nearby beach has the fans thinking a little more about the size of their waistline.
If you're willing to drive 10 to 15 minutes away, there are some quality choices such as the Tulsa Rib Company, Tony Roma's, Don Carlos' Mexican, and Pepz Pepperoni's. I personally chose to stop at The Pint House. I was turned on to the establishment when I saw that I could turn my beer cup into a 75 cent beer at The Pint House. I tried to be bold and try the Firecracker Wings, apparently not reading that they were tossed in Jalepeno, and ended up taking a few more sips of the beer than expected. I also enjoy when French fries can be something more than just preservatives, so I tried their Parmesan Cheese/Italian Parsley Fries, which were just spectacular. Between the wings and fries, I spent about $15.
If you need to fill up before heading home, I'd avoid stopping at the station across the street as it had the highest prices in the area.
Make sure to walk past all of the baseball/softball fields onto the campus near the library. There is a broken statue of Michelango's David and remnants of the ship Sea Bee on display.
The fans didn't stand out in any particular way. They were not overly obnoxious, nor were they on mute during the entire game. I could immediately tell that many of the fans were the locals that you can expect at every game as they knew the concession workers by first name and had their personalized OC jerseys.
It seemed that many of the fans were anxious for the first game to end as it was a doubleheader night and fans were allowed to play catch on the field between games.
The fans here have come to expect winners. The Stadium has now hosted 2 NCAA champions and
the 2008 Golden Baseball League Championship. Be sure to check out the Wall of Champions next to the pressbox with plaques for former players such as Phil Nevin and Mark Kotsay.
The fans seemed to pay particular attention when Mark Prior was called to the mound. Of course these fans have grown accustomed to the stars as former MLB All-Stars Gary Carter and Phil Nevin have managed the club.
Less than one mile from Highway 57, it's rather easy to get to the stadium.
One would assume that getting to the campus would be a bit easier during the summer months, when
school is not in session.
Just as I was prepared to pay the $8 for a parking permit, I found that it was free on Saturday and
Sundays. Clearly, you are advantaged attending the game on weekends.
The small size of the stadium makes it rather easy to get to the restroom, the concessions, and even to the other side of the stadium in just a few short minutes.
In Orange County, the prices of everything seem inflated. So when you can get a ballgame and a meal for around $20, you've found a sound investment. Obviously, the expense of your trip can increase by 30-50% if you have to pay for the $8 parking permit.
Tickets are extremely reasonable at $11 for Premium (immediately behind home), $9 for Field Box (no
obstructed view; netting), $7 for Club Level 2 (behind home), and $6 for Club Level 1 (all else). The food is priced in par with most other stadiums.
The weather at Goodwin Field seems to be more consistent than even a dome. It seems to be far enough from the beach to avoid the breeze and far enough from the desert to avoid the extreme heat. If you haven't been to Southern California, let me tell you that we don't see a whole lot of precipitation beyond our water sprinklers. You can all but count on clear skies and comfortable temperatures at every OC Flyers game.
Every fan receives a free program upon entry. These programs should not be confused w/ the mini-
newspapers that every fan receives at other venues. This is a full time program, with the glossy pages, editorials, and coupons.
One gargantuan plus is the allowance of tailgating. Disappointed by the ban on tailgating at Angel
& Dodger Stadium, this was a pleasant surprise. There does not appear to be any hard rules on
tailgating other than "clean up after yourself." Being treated like an adult goes a long way in my book.
Another plus was the Exit and Re-Entry policy. As long as you had your stub that means you could leave the stadium to flip your burgers between innings!
Rarely do you attend a sporting event that plays the Mexican National Anthem, but this was the first I've experienced as the Tijuana Cimarrones were in town.
With the references to "The Station" and the sound of an engine whistle often being played, I was taken back to a game at Purdue University, which used a similar theme. While Goodwin Field does not have all of the bells and (train) whistles of many modern ballparks, it certainly proved to be a pleasant surprise.
While Orange County offers numerous forms of fun and entertainment, visiting Goodwin Field is an investment that no one will regret.
I was not impressed with Goodwin Field when I visited during the summer of 2008. It just didn't seem like the team was putting much effort into trying to bring in fans or provide a family atmosphere. Scantily clad cheerleaders is not appropriate for families. Besides this, concessions were overpriced and you didn't get much for your money. With the lousy crowds they draw, it is amazing they have survived as long as they have, though now the team is begging for a new ballpark.
For my complete review of Goodwin Field, go to http://www.ballparkreviews.com/fullerton/goodwin.htm.
Education Classroom Building
Fullerton, CA 92834
2932 E Nutwood Ave
Fullerton, CA 92831