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Official Review by Paul Derrick, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
When most people think of San Antonio, the first thoughts that come to most of their heads are the Spurs or the Alamo, but there is another hidden treasure. That hidden treasure, my friends, is the San Antonio Missions. The Missions play in the Texas League and are the AA affiliate of the San Diego Padres. The Missions play in Nelson W. Wolff Municipal Stadium, located on the outskirts of San Antonio. Opened in 1994, the park seats just over 6,200 fans and with the grass berms can hold over 9,000.
The Missions may not have one of the newer or more high tech stadiums that you might see in places like Frisco or Tulsa, but the Missions put on a great show with what they have. The Missions' logo features the famous local attraction The Alamo, which was originally a Spanish mission. Wolff Municipal Stadium or "The Wolff" as it is called by locals, provides a great baseball atmosphere and some great action. Also, when you attend a game at The Wolff make sure you keep an eye open for the Missions' interesting mascots "Ballapeno" the baseballing jalapeno, and Henry the puffy taco, whose dance moves make MC Hammer look like an amateur.
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 Missions have a decent variety when it comes to the menu at Wolff Municipal Stadium. They offer all the normal ballpark fare like peanuts, cracker jacks and nachos but also some great variety items like chorizo dogs and a good southern brat covered in kraut and jalapenos.
One item I found on the menu that I was told was a can't miss was the Missions Catcher Mitt. The Catcher Mitt is made up of a pita with ground beef and sausage and covered in cheese. I found the Catcher Mitt to just be ok, but a welcomed surprise from the normal ballpark options.
If you're looking for something to quench your thirst, the Wolff offers Pepsi products in either small or large sizes. The Missions also offer Venom Energy drink which seems to be due to a sponsorship they have with Venom.
If an alcoholic beverage is what you are looking for, the Missions offer Budweiser, Bud Light and Land Shark in either a large 16-oz cup or what I found to be the smallest option I have ever seen, a six or maybe at the most eight ounce option. To me the small option looked more equivalent to a shot of beer, but can be had at a small price of only $2. Overall, there are decent options, but nothing that will really blow you away here.
Built in 1994, Wolff Municipal Stadium has quickly become one of the older stadiums of the Texas League. The question is whether this a good thing or a bad thing? Personally I think the older stadium is still a good thing.
Yeah, the legroom at Wolff Municipal may not be ideal and it may not have the coolest extras throughout the stadium, but the ballpark has that great old school feeling. With some great involved fans and a city that truly supports the team, it's hard to find a much better atmosphere than what the Missions provide.
I will subtract one point due to the team's location, which is more on the outskirts of San Antonio instead of downtown, but this does little to take away from what San Antonio provides. From the Alamo to the River Walk you could definitely plan a great weekend around a visit to San Antonio. There are so many things to do in San Antonio that I couldn't possibly mention them all, but I will say you will have no shortage of entertainment possibilities.
One thing I recommend is definitely the River Walk. The River Walk is a network of walkways along the banks of the San Antonio River, one story beneath approximately five miles of downtown San Antonio. The River Walk winds and loops under bridges as two parallel sidewalks, lined with restaurants, shops, hotels and more. It connects the major tourist draws from the Alamo to Rivercenter Mall, the San Antonio Museum of Art, and the Pearl Brewery. The River Walk is definitely a must see for anyone visiting San Antonio.
Another must see on any visit to San Antonio is the Alamo. The Alamo was a pivotal location in the Texas Revolution. More than 2.5 million people a year visit the 4.2 acre complex known worldwide as "The Alamo." Although the Alamo fell in the early morning hours of March 6, 1836, the death of the Alamo Defenders has come to symbolize courage and sacrifice for the cause of liberty. Located on Alamo Plaza in downtown San Antonio, Texas, the Alamo represents nearly 300 years of history.
San Antonio also has its fair share of great eateries and entertainment. If you're looking for some great Tex-Mex food, then you should have no problem finding it in San Antonio. If you're looking for sports entertainment, then San Antonio also has the Spurs, as well as the Silver Stars and the San Antonio Rampage. With this all said, no matter what time of the year you visit San Antonio, you will definitely find something to see and eat.
Missions fans are absolutely everything you could ask for from minor league fans. With a great presence and a fair share of visiting team heckling, the fans provide a great atmosphere. The two games I have so far attended this year were both near sellouts. From talking with the food vendors that is a usual occurrence at the Wolff.
The fans were on their feet in crucial moments of the game and absolutely erupted with applause and cheers after a Missions homer. I even saw the fans break out into a wave, which was fun to see. Overall you couldn't ask for much more from the fans at the Wolff. They are definitely some great baseball fans.
Access is not bad at all since Wolff Municipal Stadium is on the outskirts of San Antonio and not downtown. Parking will run you $5 and it's not the most pleasant exit I have found from a minor league stadium. The bathrooms are also a little complex as there's one entrance and one exit and unfortunately they are not the same door, which can be kind of confusing for a first time visitor. The concourses are wide enough to make for easy access around the stadium. I found overall access in and out and around the stadium to have its pros and its cons.
The Missions provide a great return on investment. The Missions provide tickets ranging from $5 to $10.50, overall pretty decent prices. I would personally recommend the $10.50 seats as these are the only actual seats. The others are either berm seating or bleacher seats which I found to have less than ample leg room or are a tad bit too crowded.
With $5 for parking and a $10.50 ticket you will look at spending right around $25 for a trip to the Wolff, which I think is well worth it. You will definitely not find many places in San Antonio where you can have a night time of entertainment for around $25. I would gladly pay that anytime.
There aren't a whole lot of extras to mention, but there is definitely one thing worth mentioning. That would be the Missions choice of mascots; a break dancing jalapeno named "Ballapeno" and a very interestingly dressed taco named "Puffy" who has his share of dance moves too. These guys are lively and keep the kids and the fans highly entertained.
The last extra point is for the great kids area that the Missions provide. Minor League Baseball isn't just about baseball. It is also about the great atmosphere and keeping the fans and families entertained, and the Missions definitely do that. They provide a great playground as well as a bouncy house and other kid favorites to keep the kids entertained throughout the game.
The Missions definitely provide a great atmosphere for baseball. If you are ever in the San Antonio area make sure to check the Missions schedule because a trip to the Wolff is well worth your time and money.
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