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Official Review by Andy Mantsch, Stadium Journey Special Correspondent
Mavericks Stadium or Slater Bros Stadium (depending on what you'd like to call it), is quite literally in the middle of the desert. This isn't an expression. Beyond the outfield walls lies a sea of sand and cactus. Adelanto, CA does lie just south of the stadium, but even that feels like a small town with a few strip malls stoplights before you're back in the desert again. To say this is a remote setting for baseball would be an understatement.
The High Desert Mavericks are a single A affiliate of the Texas Rangers in the California League. They've called Adelanto, CA home since 1991 when they moved from Riverside, CA to the opening of the new stadium. Then named Mavericks Stadium, their new home cost $6.05 million to build and seats 3,808 fans plus grass seating. In 2007 it was renamed Slater Brothers Stadium (a name that still hangs over the entryway) and in 2014 was renamed again to Heritage Field. Far from the nicest stadium in the in the minors, Heritage Stadium is long way drive to get to. Probably too long for what you'll get.
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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".
There's really only one concession stand that serves food here, although there is a kettle corn stand and a shaved ice stand to choose from as well. Stands accept debit and credit and are fairly speedy.
The main menu is largely the basic ballpark food with a few upgrades. Specialty items include the SoCal Nacho Dog ($7), Maverick Super Nachos ($7.75), Wooly Bully Burger ($7.75) and Texas Ranger Burger ($9.00). Beyond these items the menu consists of the usual, including hot dogs ($3.50), pretzels ($3.75) and chicken tenders with fries ($7.50).
Drink options are pretty basic here. Drinks are primarily can or bottle with Gatorade ($4) and bottled water ($3.50) as options in addition to soda ($4). Beer is available for $6 for 16oz. and $8 for 24oz. cans. Probably the most interesting option is wine for $7.
I'd recommend one of the 4 specialty items off of the menu, but there's no real distinguishable choice of beverage here.
There really isn't much at Heritage Stadium that speaks to any true ambiance beyond the desert wasteland beyond the outfield fence. There is uniqueness in the setting, but not enough else to support it.
The stadium itself is as basic as it gets. A grandstand extends from 3rd base around to 1st base with berms in left and right field. These berms may have been grass-covered once, but as will happen in a desert it has largely died. The infield has a visually pleasing circular cut of the grass as well, but again the grass on the field is a bit patchy. There is a cool looking terrace seating section down the left field line, but unfortunately it was not open during my visit.
There's not a lot in particular to speak of in terms of in-game entertainment either. There's some of the usual minor league promotions on the fields and Wooly Bully (the Mavericks mascot) makes his way around the field and entertains fans. Strangely, the PA announcer often speaks in Spanish, something I had never heard before at a minor league game.
Attendance at Heritage Park has waned over the years and reached an all time low in 2015, so seats are abundantly available. The grandstand is elevated and there are field views from anywhere in the concourse, so you have your pick of seats without sacrificing your view. The desert sun can get hot, so during day games you may want to sit further from the field in the last rows of the stands. These seats are the only in the park that receive shade from the grandstand awning.
Neighborhood? What neighborhood? The area around the park is completely desert, so I wouldn't recommend walking anywhere from the game. Adelanto is not far down the road, but it's mostly chain restaurants and strip malls...and even those aren't in abundance.
The two foods options that show up most when investigating the area are Rubio's (Mexican food) and Bravo Burgers. Both are very affordable, but if you're looking for upscale dining expect to be out of luck.
While some of the mountain views from the surrounding desert can be stunning, there are no real attractions here to speak of. Adelanto is not somewhere you're going to spend a vacation.
Only 2 hotels show as truly Adelanto local. These are the America's Best Value Inn and the Days Inn Adelanto. I'd strongly recommend making this stadium a pit stop and not a vacation spot.
Apparently the High Desert Mavericks had a once mighty fan base with a strong reputation. Those days seem to be on the decline, as attendance has fallen steadily over the years.
The Mavericks rank 9th out of the 10 California League teams in attendance according to 2015 numbers, and they are approaching an all time low average. For 2015, they're averaging around 1,300 fans a game....which is down 800 fans from the prior year. The stadium feels largely empty.
Because the stadium is generally 1/3 or less full, it doesn't feel like there is a lot of engagement. There are some hardcore fans who support their Mavericks through thick and thin, but any real local love affair with this team seems to have generally eroded over time. As a result, the stadium is largely quiet with huge patches of seats open down the lines.
The stadium is incredibly easy to access locally, assuming you regularly drive to and through the Mojave Desert. Other than that, you're going to be driving to the middle of nowhere from just about anywhere you're coming from.
Public transit really isn't an option, but it doesn't need to be because of the general ease of entry and exit from the park. If you're flying in for a game, Ontario Airport is only about an hour south down I-15.
There is only one large parking lot around Heritage Stadium and it's a $2 rate to park there. This is a park where there really aren't other options to park because there's really nothing else around it at all.
The only gate for the stadium is right behind home plate. I'd strongly recommend buying tickets in advance, but not because of sellout potential. The ticketing windows are very limited and slow, meaning you might hit a lengthy line despite the lack of overall attendance.
Once in the park, it really couldn't be easier to move around. The concourse is wide and elevated, meaning you'll have an excellent view of the game from just about anywhere. Restrooms are on the 1st and 3rd base lines and are fairly large for the stadium, although not particularly pleasant.
Well, it's cheap enough. If you truly love to sit and watch baseball, this is a really good value park. But if you want more in a stadium experience, this is a pretty low level park.
Ticket prices are $6 or $8 and parking is just $2. The good food is in the $7 range so overall you're looking at a $20 ballgame. A side note on price here, the team shop was astronomically priced. A team ball cap (not available in much variety) was $37 compared to $20 at most parks. I can't see much of a justification for this.
This park is pretty cookie cutter overall, and extras don't abound. It has the feel of a park that once relied heavily on community engagement, but as that has waned so has the baseball experience. The unusual environment though offers a bit more than a visually unique perk. The elevation, thin air and size of the ballpark means you're more likely to see home runs here than your average park. When all else fails, we all like the long ball, right?
Put it all together, and this is one of the more hidden ballparks in minor league baseball. California has 12 minor league parks, and this one is easily the most remote. Only the most hardcore baseball travel junky will make the trek into the Mojave for a subpar minor league experience. But if you fall in that group, go ahead and enjoy a Wooly Burger!
Member Review by DrewCieszynski
While few things can survive in the desert, single A baseball certainly seems to be succeeding. Pulling fans from nearby towns such as Victorville, Apple Valley, and Hesperia, the High Desert Mavericks have corralled quite a following in Adelanto, CA.
Probably one of the most surprising neighborhoods I've ever encounterd at any venue in sports, this stadium literally seems to spring up out of nowhere. In case you don't notice the 3,800+ seat stadium as you're driving through the desert, you may notice the 3 x 4 foot black sign with white paint that reads "Game Today" during your drive through the Mojave Desert.
The franchise was formerly located in Riverside, CA but relocated to Adelanto in 1991. Stater Brothers Stadium was built in 1991 at a cost of $6.5 million. Since opening its doors to High Desert fans, the team has claimed three California League championships.
Member Review by Steel Collins on Jan 04, 2014
This ballpark sits up in the mountains, with some great mountain backdrops. The park is small and intimate, and the staff is eager to please. It's right off I-395, so its easy in, easy out. And the crowd certainly gets into the game. The ballpark is clean and well-maintained. A pleasant surprise!
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11625 Lawson Avenue
Adelanto, CA 92301