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Official Review by Chris Patton, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
Dozer Park is the home of the St. Louis Cardinals Class A affiliate, the Peoria Chiefs. The stadium opened in May of 2002. The following March, the Bradley University baseball team became a tenant as well. Originally known as O’Brien Field, Caterpillar purchased naming rights in 2013. The current name refers to Caterpillar’s bulldozers.
Dozer Park has 7,500 chair back seats, along with grass seating down the left and right field lines and behind the left field wall. There are also multiple picnic tables around the concourse.
The Chiefs are in the Western Division of the Midwest League. The team is in its second stint as a Cardinals affiliate. The Chiefs were previously an affiliate of the Cardinals’ main rival, the Chicago Cubs.
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 concession stands at Dozer Park have names like Five Alarm Diner, Cantina Caliente and Homer's Ice Cream Parlor. Also, the Good Hops Craft Beer Stand down the third base line offers more than the standard Bud Light and Miller Lite. Draft beers are $6, while a large soda in a souvenir cup is $5.
Hamburgers, cheeseburgers, veggie burgers, turkey burgers, pork chop sandwiches, chicken tenders and corn dogs all sell for $6 or less. Combo meals featuring a sandwich, fries and soft drink are all $9 or less, a nice deal for ballpark food.
Dozer Park is just over ten years old and a is very nice facility. The Firehouse Team Store contains all the Chiefs merchandise you could ever need. The store is just to the left of the main gate as you enter the park.
The 7,500 green seats feature cup holders. Seats in rows 20 and 21 are under an overhang from the press box and suite level. These seats remain nice and dry in the event of a rain shower. Leg room is ample.
The field at Dozer Park features grass and clay. Dimensions are 310 feet down the lines, 375 feet to the alleys and 400 feet to straightaway center field.
The Chiefs' HD Video Board at Dozer Park is one of the largest in Minor League Baseball. The board measures 30'x42' and displays promotions, replays, stats, and pitch speed.
Kelleher's Irish Pub and Eatery is located on the historic riverfront, two blocks away from Dozer Park. The restaurant is in an old warehouse. They feature traditional Irish fare and American bar food. They have 20 micro or import drafts and 90 different bottled beers.
The stadium is on the eastern edge of Peoria's downtown. Peoria features a wide variety of nightlife for fans that left the kids at home. Across the Illinois River in East Peoria, families can find every dining and shopping chain possible.
During the summer portion of the schedule and on weekends, families make up a large portion of the Dozer Park crowd. While school is in session and during the week, young professionals cheer on the Chiefs.
Peoria has hosted Minor League Baseball continuously since 1983. That is a testament to the fans that come out year after year and support the team, no matter which big league club has a player development relationship with the team.
Free parking is available on multiple streets around the ballpark. There are also a handful of independently owned lots around the ballpark, with most running $5 per car. The large Caterpillar lot across the street from the park was not allowing Chiefs patrons to park on my most recent visit. Lot parking might vary from weekdays to weekends.
The concourse features several bathrooms. The facilities are clean and spacious.
Admission is $10 for box seats (a dollar extra on fireworks nights), with lawn seating available for $7. Taking advantage of the street parking is definitely the way to go to see the best return on your sports dollar. I sampled the pulled pork nachos and a small drink for $7.50.
If you're planning a trip to Dozer Park, consider attending a game on Wednesday or Thursday. Wednesday games feature $1 hot dogs, soft drinks, and ice cream sandwiches. Thursdays have long been known as "Thirsty Thursday" with 12 oz. soft drinks and draft beer at rock bottom prices.
Just inside the front gate, there is a statue of long-time Chiefs owner, Pete Vonachen. The late executive was known as "Peoria's Mr. Baseball" and is credited with much of the organization's success.
The right field wall includes four numbers honoring former Chiefs players and one manager: Wally Joyner, Mark Grace, Greg Maddux and Ryne Sandberg.
Dozer Park is a comfortable and fan-friendly stadium with a view of the downtown Peoria skyline. It is well worth checking out on a sunny day or clear night.
Member Review by paul
Since 1983, they've been playing minor league baseball in Peoria, Illinois. After a long history as a baseball town, a team returned in 1983 as an affiliate of the California Angels, known as the Peoria Suns. Today, the team plays as the Peoria Chiefs and is a Class A affiliate of the Chicago Cubs. Beginning the 2013 baseball season, the Chiefs are a Class A minor league affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals. Their home park, O'Brien Field, has been home since 2002.
Located across the street from the headquarters of Caterpillar Inc., O'Brien Field is also home of the Bradley Braves collegiate baseball team. There is a sense of community that one feels in the ballpark, and as you walk through the town of Peoria. O'Brien Field definitely offers a solid baseball experience.
Member Review by PeoriaChiefs94 on Jul 31, 2012
The Peoria Chiefs have been in Peoria since 1983 and have since made baseball a summer tradition in Central Illinois. The Atmophere is great with a great view of downtown Peoria.They celebrate their history with banners and video clips before the game. The concourse is wide and the seats are comfortable and spacious.
The fans are into the game, cheering for good plays and rooting on the team no matter what the score.Parking is $5 but you can park on the street for free. The food is expensive but good and with a good variety. Extra points for having some of the best ushers who are very nice and helpful, and let you sit where you want on nights with light crowds, for being Cubs affiliates, being close to Chicago, and providing programs and scorecards for free.
Member Review by megminard on Oct 05, 2012
It was a Greg Maddux t-shirt giveaway game and many, many fans were lined up well in advance of the gates opening.
It is walking distance (less than 1/2 mile) to the Peoria riverfront which has restaurants, a visitors center, a park and walkway along the river, and a riverboat cruise option on the Spirit of Peoria paddle wheeler.
The palm trees are still there, the souvenir shop offered hat pins, and I was able to find a post card of the stadium (very rare when visiting the minor leagues).
The one downfall was the game was not broadcast on the radio.
It's worth a visit to see Peoria and a game at O'Brien Field
Member Review by kschoenbach on Oct 21, 2015
The Peoria Chiefs have a great little stadium in the middle of a very blue-collar town. I have not enjoyed myself more at any minor-league ballpark, I think because of the rabidness of the fans. I think this may stem from the fact that they have been the farm team to a couple of baseball's most storied franchise, the Cubs, and currently the Cardinals. It was great seeing so many fans keeping score, cheering and shouting, for a team that plays in class A.
The area around the ballpark can be a little confusing, with several one-way streets. There is parking available for a small fee; I found a free street parking only a block away from the stadium. However. I was there during the day, and I can't speak to the safety of the area at night.
The food variety is unparalleled at any minor-league ballpark, and many major-league ballparks for that matter. There are separate food lines for every genre and type of food you could be interested in: barbecue, Mexican, traditional ballpark food, craft beer, desserts, etc. I had some outstanding tacos from the Mexican food line, which were extremely flavorful and left me full for the rest of the game. This season, one of the local breweries had a special beer only available at the field, which I tried and found very tasty.
Speaking of beer, craft beer aficionados absolutely must take a trip to Peoria Brewing Company, a recent addition to the Peoria landscape. They have some of the best microbrews I have ever had, and a real cross-section of society.
People living in the Chicago area should realize that Peoria is really not that far away. You can easily make it from the Chicago loop in three hours; I live in the suburbs, and it barely took me two hours. I went to a noon game, and was home in time to have dinner with my wife. You are not likely to find many better minor-league experiences then this one.
100 Conference Center Drive
East Peoria, IL 61111