The Grand Junction Rockies are a short season minor league team that plays in the Pioneer League. The Pioneer League is considered a rookie league with most players signed directly out of high school. Seeing games at a place like Grand Junction is a great way to see these players get their first taste of professional baseball.
The city of Grand Junction received a Pioneer League franchise in 2012 from Casper, Wyoming. The team was renamed the Grand Junction Rockies and their uniforms look very similar to the Colorado Rockies. The only difference is a GJ insignia on their hats instead of a CR logo.
The Grand Junction Rockies play at Sam Suplizio Field at the corner of 12th Street and North Ave. It is located just off of U.S. 6. Sam Suplizio Field is a shared resource in the city. Besides the baseball field, the complex 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. Sam Suplizio Field also is home to the Colorado Mesa University Mavericks and the Junior College World Series (known as the JUCO tournament).
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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".
The food selection is surprisingly decent for a Pioneer League Park. Your basic ballpark fare is sold at a few different stands here including hot dogs, burgers, nachos, chicken tender baskets, and brats. These selections cost between $3-$5. I had the cheeseburger which was quite tasty. It is grilled and you get a sizeable amount of veggies with it. It tasted like one I would make at home on the grill, and that is a good thing.
Snacks include pretzels, popcorn, ice cream, peanuts, fries, and sunflower seeds. Most snacks run between $1.50-$3.
There are some specialty items that are pleasantly surprising to see. Pizza Hut personal pan pizzas are sold here ($5). There is a club area behind the first base stands that sells tacos, nachos, and burritos. This food looks like high quality fare.
Pepsi products are sold here and run from $2.50 for a 20 oz. bottled soda to $4.00 for a souvenir cup. Bottled water and Gatorade are sold here as well. There is a slushie machine which was quite popular on this night.
Beer prices are surprisingly cheap. Budweiser products are sold here and cost $3.50. Shock Top and Goose Island products cost the same as a Bud or Bud Light. There are a couple craft stands as well offering local Colorado brews.
All in all, you can take a family here for a meal and not break the bank. It is refreshing to see considering some MILB teams charge MLB prices for concessions.
When going to a game in the Pioneer League, don't expect a whole lot in the way of total game atmosphere. Grand Junction has a few promotions that are done throughout the game as well as an active mascot.
The Rockies have a strikeout batter of the game and a home team better of the game. The strikeout batter of the game is an opposing team player picked at random before the game. If this player strikes out during the game, Bud Light beers are $2.00 for the next ten minutes. Of course, this offer is good only when alcohol sales are going on. There is a fan who wears a two dollar beers shirt and holds up a beer cup sheet during games. This adds to the fun of hoping for a strikeout. The hitter of the game is a Grand Junction player picked at random before the game. This contest has yet to be named and they were taking name ideas. If the player gets a hit, one fan wins a small prize. If the player gets two hits, the fan's row wins a prize. If that player gets three hits, then that entire section gets a prize.
The Rockies mascot is named Corky Coyote and is pretty active throughout the game. He is quick to pose for pictures and does a great job of working the crowd during the game without getting in the way.
Suplizio Field is set up to where fans won't have to contend with the sun. Fans sitting along the first base side or home plate will have shade for night games. Fans on the third base side will get some sun.
The best places to sit here are behind home plate or along the first base side. These seating areas give fans views of the mountains and excellent sunset views. One downer is that there is a net that extends from the far end of the third base dugout to the far end of the first base dugout. It keeps fans safe from foul balls but is bad for picture taking and viewing. If sitting along the first base side, watch out for foul balls as they hit the massive press box area and come back down towards you quickly.
It should be noted that the lack of leg room between rows can be rough on fans. People seated around me kept inadvertently nudging each other. Some rows have chairbacks, particularly behind home plate and along the first base line.
There are standings and lineups posted along the concourse before the game.
The ballpark is located in a city park complex. A whole day could be made out of seeing a game here. A good suggestion on a hot summer day would be to bring the swimming trunks and go for a swim before the game in the city pools. The grilling area could be used as a family tailgating area provided those areas are open.
The complex is located a few miles away from downtown Grand Junction. Nearby, there are plenty of local restaurants and fast food places to go to before the game. However, I would suggest eating and having a drink at the stadium since the food/drink is so cheap.
If wanting a sit-down meal, 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).
For places to stay, Horizon Drive is the main street leading to the airport. This street gives easy access to Interstate 70 and there are plenty of hotels to choose from in a safe and clean area. I would suggest the Grand Vista Hotel. It is a cheaper place but has great happy hour specials and clean rooms.
The crowd seems to consist of mostly locals. Most fans stayed for the whole game on this night. The crowd seems into the game at all times and cheers for good things to happen. Some season ticket holders behind home plate partake in some gentle and fun heckling of opposing players.
Getting tickets isn't a problem as Grand Junction has averaged between 2,000-2,500 fans a night in a stadium that seats 5,312 and could seat up to 12,000.
Getting to and from the stadium by car is the way to go here. Parking is plentiful and free. Neighborhood parking is available as well if the lots are full. Remember, since this is a park complex, there will be lots of people here for things other than the baseball game.
There is public transportation in Grand Junction and surrounding areas called Grand Valley Transit with a stop very close to the ballpark.
Restrooms are plentiful here. The concourses are wide enough to where you won't have any trouble navigating around the facility. Concession stand lines move quickly so fans don't have to worry about lines extending too far out on the concourse.
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.
The ability for fans to get autographs before the game from Rockies players is a nice touch. Programs are handed out upon entry with rosters and team info inside. I cannot state enough, free parking is a great perk here for the budget conscious.
The Grand Junction Rockies do a great job on keeping fans engaged and interested. Seeing a game at Sam Suplizio Field is a great way to see future MLB players at a cheap cost. If you live in Utah or Colorado or just visiting on vacation, I'd highly suggest a stop here.
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).
Very bad experience
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