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Official Review by Meg Minard, Stadium Journey Special Correspondent
The Grand Junction Rockies began their existence as the Butte Copper Kings in the Pioneer League in Butte, MT. From 1978 – 2000 they were affiliated with a variety of Major League teams including the Brewers, Royals, Mariners, Rangers, Rays, and Angels. They moved to Casper, WY in 2001 as the Casper Rockies, affiliated with the Colorado Rockies. In 2007, their name changed to the Casper Ghosts still affiliated with the Rockies. Beginning with the 2012 season, the team moved to Grand Junction, CO, was renamed to the Grand Junction Rockies and now plays at Sam Suplizio Field.
Sam Suplizio Field is located in Lincoln Park at the corner of 12th St and North Ave. Besides Sam Suplizio Field, Lincoln Park also houses picnic and grill areas, a golf course, a public swimming pool and water slide, and Stocker Stadium (football for the CMU Mavericks). In 2011, Sam Suplizio Field underwent a massive renovation where everything on the first base side got updated or replaced: new seats, expanded dugouts, TV ready lights, as well as a new two story press box and luxury suite area called the Tower at Lincoln Park, and the concession stands, locker rooms, and concourse were renovated and updated. Many of these new features are shared with Stocker Stadium.
Besides the Grand Junction Rockies, Sam Suplizio Field also is home to the Colorado Mesa University Mavericks and the Junior College World Series (known as the JUCO tournament).
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".
It has your basic ballpark fare: hot dogs, hamburgers, cheeseburgers, polish dogs, nachos ($3 - $4). Snacks include: French fries, pretzels, popcorn, seeds, peanuts, chips ($2 - $2.50). The one regional item on the list is the Palisade Peaches. Soft serve ice cream cones are only $1. I only tried the polish dog and it was mediocre.
Drinks are Pepsi only and they have bottled water, Gatorade, and Slushie ($2 - $4). All of the beers offered are brewed in Colorado. The one caveat is the Budweiser variety (there is a Budweiser brewery in Fort Collins, CO so I can stretch it to say all beers offered are from Colorado). The other varieties include Coors (Golden, CO); Colorado Native (Golden, CO); Breckenridge Agave Wheat (Denver, CO); and Dirty Hippie (Palisades, CO). All beer selections are $3.50.
Steve Garvey was in attendance and signing autographs the one game I attended. One of his sons plays for the Grand Junction Rockies. That was a nice treat.
Baseball songs were played pre-game which is not often heard attending ballgames. Music volume was okay but there were still times I couldn't hear the player change announcements because the music was louder than the announcer.
The only real seats are located on the newly renovated 1st base side. The rest of the seating is aluminum benches (some with backs, the first few rows without). There is a net above the seating area from the far end of the first base dugout to the far end of the third base dugout so sit beyond that if netting is an obstruction for your viewing experience. I recommend sections Q, R, and S on the third base side (visitor's side) or D, C, or B (home team side) will be net free.
At the games I attended here, I had the added pleasure of sitting behind the visitor's bullpen (third base side). What a fantastic opportunity to listen in on their conversations, to see how they interacted with each other and with fans, hear what they said about opposing batters, and silently watch and listen to how they entertained themselves, as well as how they immediately became a focused baseball player when it was their time to pitch. So, if you visit a Grand Junction Rockies game, section R, seats 14 - 17 are right behind the visitor's bullpen. Another recommendation - see a game when the Ogden Raptors are in town and sit there.
There are a few plaques honoring Sam Suplizio and Ralph Stocker and there's a statue. I didn't find any historic references or accomplishments to the Colorado Mesa University Mavericks or the Junior College World Series that has played here since 1959. I did not expect to see historic references to the Grand Junction Rockies since this is the first year they are playing on this field.
As mentioned, the stadium is located in a city park so golf, swim, picnic, grill and then head to the ballpark. It is located 2 or 3 miles from downtown Grand Junction (a downtown worth visiting with its shops, restaurants and bars, art, and landscaping).
Within walking distance (1/2 mile) of Sam Suplizio Field is a brewery called Kannah Creek Brewing Company. It offers good food, good beer, and good service.
Another place recommended is the Ale House (about 1 mile from stadium).
The stadium is located on a 4 lane strip mall type highway (North St). There are several motels in the area. I stayed at the El Palomino Motel (affordable, safe, clean, and close to the ballpark and downtown). I'd recommend it if you don't expect fancy or traditional business travel accommodations.
The fans were good. Not a full house on either game I attended but there were plenty in attendance. Both games were high scoring with back and forth offense. The fans clapped, stomped their feet on the aluminum benches especially towards the end of the game. And most fans stayed to the end of the games I attended including an 11 inning game.
Getting to and from the stadium via automobile is relatively easy and free of charge. It you're a fan who gets to a game later, there appears to be neighborhood parking available.
There is public transportation in Grand Junction and surrounding areas called Grand Valley Transit with a stop very close to the ballpark.
Restrooms (renovated) are on the first base side with plenty of stalls in the ladies room, and are clean and serviceable during and post game; porta potties are available on the third base side.
Food and drink prices are excellent, there is free parking, and ticket prices range from $6 - $10. Seeing potential future Rockies players and visiting the team during their inaugural season makes for a fantastic investment.
Being able to sit right behind the bullpens and listen to and watch the players is an added bonus. The sharing of the Tower at Lincoln Park, concessions, and concourse with Stocker Field was something I hadn't seen before. All employees I encountered made me feel welcome, were professional, courteous, and helpful and even thanked me for attending the game. Nicely done.
Member Review by JordansZone1 on Sep 25, 2012
Very bad experience
Member Review by coloradodesertwind on Jun 23, 2013
A fun atmosphere, great and helpful staff, good food and beers, awesome support from the home town fans and a beautiful ballpark. I love going to a game at Suplizio Field
1960 North 12th St
Grand Junction, CO 81501
2531 North 12th St
Grand Junction, CO 81501