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Official Review by Bill Kintner, Stadium Journey Special Correspondent
Lewis and Clark Park is located south of the city of Sioux City, Iowa, along a commercial strip with an uninspiring view of a highway.
There is nothing fancy about this ballpark. It has a scoreboard that most good high school ball fields would have, but make no mistake about it, you know you are in a minor league park. There are ads all over the outfield walls, fans that are regular game attendees, ballpark employees that seem to be glad you are here, the smell of grilled meat, and kids running around everywhere.
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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".
Nothing exotic here to eat but you shouldn't go hungry either since they offer most items you would expect a park to offer. You will find Dairy Queen ice cream, Pete's Meats BBQ, grilled burritos, Wimmer's hot dogs, Pizza Ranch pizza and beer. The beer selection consists of Keystone, Busch, Bud, Coors and Blue Moon. It is 20 ounces of brew for $4.
Hot dogs: $3, A jumbo dog, that tastes good with a slight blend of sweet spices that is made by Wimmer's Meats and a warm, soft bun. Rating: B+
Large pop corn: $2.50, Salty, warm, with a strong buttery taste. Rating: B+
Nachos w/ cheese: $3, You get a bag of chips and cheese sauce. They do it that way to keep the chips fresh. The chips were so bad, it wouldn't have mattered if they weren't fresh. On the bright side, the cheese was decent and slightly spicy. Rating: D+
Pepsi: 32 oz cup is $4.
This is a classic minor league experience and maybe even a little more. There is a multi-level deck area down the left field line where the BBQ Shack is located, that has picnic tables, and part of it over-looks the home team bullpen. Fans can sit down, spread their food out, and enjoy the game.
During the sixth inning, Sioux City Explorer pitcher Eddie De La Cruz hopped up on the wooden railing that separates the deck from the bullpen and sat next to a couple of delighted 12 year old girls for most of the inning. You won't see that at Wrigley Field.
Like many ballparks these days, there is not a smoking area in the ballpark for fans. Well, that is the official policy, but if you go down to the deck and light up, which I saw a few fans doing, they probably will not say anything. I think it is their version of "out of sight, out of mind." Anyway, I think they go out of their way to be fan-friendly.
Most of the seats are plastic chair-backs with a great view of the action. There are some aluminum bleachers down the left field line before the picnic decks and down the right field line. Fans can sit anywhere and see the action.
Located in the burbs, in a commercial area, there are not a lot of things to do close by the ballpark. There is one restaurant right across the parking lot from Lewis and Clark and that is Clyde's Grill and Pub. It is not exactly inexpensive, but you can get good steak, chicken and fish sandwiches in the $8-$12 range. It is attached to a bowling center, so fans can park their car, see some good baseball, eat a decent meal and bowl a few frames.
For a classic sports bar type experience, Bob Roe's Point After Pizza and Lounge is the place to go and it is about five minutes from the ballpark, plus the owner is a big supporter of the team.
The fans are good. I think there are a lot of regulars that attend Explorer games and they seem happy to have non-regular fans visit "their home."
You will find some that keep score, others eating up a storm, some enjoy visiting with other fans, but when there is action on the field, you will know by the fans' reactions. They love their Explorers and it shows.
Located just a few blocks off of I-129, this ballpark is easy to get to. Fans can park just steps from the ballpark and can be in their seats in less than a minute.
Tickets are a good deal, with general admission tickets just $5, reserved seats are $9 and box seats are $11. If you happen to be a geezer, a member of the military or a child, take a dollar off the reserve ticket price. Parking will set you back an entire dollar.
So for under $20 a fan can park his or her car, purchase a ticket and a reasonable amount of food. That is a pretty good deal!
I will award a star because of the outstanding value. Another star for the players playing hard and playing the game the way it was meant to be played. Plus, a star for the players being so fan-friendly.
Lewis and Clark is an average baseball ballpark facility. There is nothing about it that will knock your socks off. On the other hand, if you are a baseball fan and in the area, get over to Lewis and Clark. It is good baseball, at a very good price and that is what is most important.
**Photos courtesy of the Sioux City Explorers
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3828 Stadium Dr
Sioux City, IA 51106
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