The Colorado Springs Sky Sox are the AAA affiliate of the MLB Colorado Rockies and are conveniently located an hour and 15 minutes or so south of its parent club at Coors Field. The Sky Sox play in the Pacific Coast League (PCL).
Security Service Field (originally known as Sky Sox Stadium) is the highest baseball stadium in the US at 6,531 feet above sea level (higher than Coors Field).
The team originated as the Hawaii Islanders in Honolulu, HI; but after that team fell into financial problems, the team moved to Colorado Springs in 1988.
The Sky Sox organization honors all military personnel, as Colorado Springs is very much a military town as it is sometimes referred to as the "nation's military space capital." The organization is also focused on family and there certainly are a lot of kids who attend Sunday home games, as those are Family Days at Security Service Field.
Attending a game here is mostly a fine time with one or two items that could be improved. Read on…
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All Sundays at the ballpark have a promotion: 50 cent hot dogs. It's a basic hot dog on a wheat bun. One person can get up to four dogs per visit to the concession stand. I'd recommend getting them earlier in the game as they are fresher at that time. They are not bad and will fill you.
Specialties include: Buffalo and Chicken Tenders w/fries, Red Hot Chicago and/or Chili Cheese foot long dog, Wisconsin Brat, Pikes Peak Nachos, and The Mighty Colorado Nacho Plate. Prices range from $5.50 to $8.25 depending on your choice.
Other specialties include: A Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory shop, a Gold Funnel Cake stand, a Dominos pizza stand, and ice cream and shaved ice stands (visited by many this hot afternoon). I don't recall seeing the shaved ice stand at previous visits so don't know if that's something new this 2013 season or something that's just in place for Family Day.
There is a Hall of Fame Bar & Grill accessible from inside the concourse. With the menu stating "please allow 20 to 30 minutes for the preparation of your order" it is probably the reason I've only been in there once over the last few years and would not recommend it.
Soft drinks are provided by Pepsi $4.75/$5.75 and bottled water is $4.00.
Snacks include peanuts, candy, soft pretzel, cotton candy, popcorn, kettle corn, fries, etc. and range from $1.50 to $5.75.
For beer options, they offer: Coors, Coors Light, Blue Moon, Killian's, Miller Light, and Alaskan Amber. The real specialty is down the third base concourse where there is a vendor offering local brews from the Bristol Brewing Company and Oskar Blues. Both of those breweries are located in Colorado Springs.
Except for sealed soft plastic bottles of water, outside food and drink are not allowed in the stadium.
There are blue plastic fold down seats with cup holders in the lower level of the seating area. A small walking area separates the upper level which has aluminum benches with backs but no cup holders. I've sat in both sections and both provide an excellent view of the game. The net runs just a few sections behind home plate so there're plenty of areas to sit without that obstruction (there're also plenty of places to sit behind the net if you're concerned about foul balls and the mascot getting in your way - more on that in a bit). There is a Focus on the Family Fun Zone with bounce houses and other kid's attractions down the third baseline just above a well manicured grassy berm area.
There is a set of 18 luxury/club seats above the press box and behind the home plate area. There is a hot tub down the first baseline that you and up to eleven of your friends can rent for a unique experience at a ball game.
All seats (except the luxury/club seats) are in the sun and other weather elements and there are no shaded or covered areas except for the cramped concourse behind home plate. Come prepared with clothing layers or sunscreen depending on when you visit. Both might be needed the same day. Recommendation: Check the weather before attending the game and always pack sunscreen and at least a long sleeve shirt.
There are in-game promotions which are silly but the crowd and the families enjoy them and that's what counts at a minor league game.
The PA announcer does a fine job but sometimes music is played when calling a relief pitcher and a double-switch so those keeping score can't record the name properly on their scorecard (this is very minor). More importantly, the music isn't played so loud that one can't talk with their neighbor without yelling at them - an excellent thing. Coors Field could learn a few things from their AAA affiliate.
The home dugout is on the first base side. Visiting ballplayers have to walk across a short part of the concourse on the third base side, so there may be some autograph opportunities pre-game.
The scoreboard is viewable from all seats and displays the current score by inning including hits and errors. Strikes, balls, and outs are also displayed. A video board is a part of the scoreboard and provides the names and current stats of the player at bat for both teams, as well as shows advertisements, in-game contests, and scans of the stands.
Remember I said something about one or two items could be improved? The first item is the mascot, Sox the Fox. Let me preface and state I am absolutely NOT a mascot fan. At all. To me, Sox the Fox is the most obnoxious and annoying mascot I've had the un-pleasure of being in contact. He prances on the dugouts blocking view of the game; he's a pied piper to the kids and he always seems to be near where I'm sitting, blocking the view of the game and swishing his tail in my face. With that said, the kids and the families love him. They get photos and autographs and thrills. I just wish he would do his shenanigans on the concourse (away from play) and not on the dugouts. That said, if you don't like mascots blocking the view of the game, I'd recommend sitting behind the net - behind home base sections 108 -111 for lower level; 205 - 208 upper level, as he doesn't travel to that area. You will, however, be behind the net.
Security Service Field is not in downtown Colorado Springs. The city is currently interviewing and sending out surveys to residents and local companies on their feedback on a downtown ballpark.
The current stadium is located in a neighborhood area in the north eastern part of the city; the view beyond the outfield is a sea of houses. There are plenty of strip malls and offices in the nearby area.
A place is visit pre or post game is Rhino's Sport & Spirits. Though only a half mile from the stadium, I wouldn't recommend walking to Rhino's because one must cross a six-lane highway and traffic is in abundance with minimal acknowledgement to pedestrians. There are several chains and restaurants nearby including: Good Times, On The Border, Egg & I, Dominos, L&L Hawaiian BBQ, Zen Fusion Sushi, and others.
The closest hotel to the stadium is the Residence Inn Colorado Springs Central. Though not walking distance, it is just 2 ˝ miles from the stadium. There are several other hotels near the airport.
Although slightly more than five miles away, do take a visit to the Air Force Academy when in town and check out the Visitor's Center and the Air Force Chapel. The chapel houses three distinct worship areas under a single roof and has been named a U.S. National Historic Landmark. It has received many architectural prizes since its construction in 1962.
At first, you'd think the fans are there for social aspects and entertainment options other than a baseball game. And they are rewarded that with the many efforts the Sky Sox organization provides.
They also show their appreciation for the efforts the players make on the field. At the game of this review, 95% of the fans applauded and cheered for a fantastic play Josh Rutledge made at 2nd in the latter half of the game.
I'd estimate over 70% of the fans stayed for the final out at the game I attended this Memorial Day Weekend, 2013.
Visiting fans are welcomed... it IS a minor league game and it is more about the baseball being played and other social activities than any rivalries within the minor league teams.
This is a mixed bag. There is a bus stop right outside the stadium but for the life of me I can't figure out the schedule and route and I have never seen a bus at any of the games I've attended over the years.
You will mostly likely have to drive. Check the Sky Sox website for directions. The directions do state that coming from the north take Woodmen off of I-25. I'd recommend taking Interquest Pkwy instead, as it is less congested and has fewer traffic lights.
Parking is $5. Be prepared for a lot of patience when leaving the game from the main lot. I recommend, instead of turning on Tuft St (where the signage indicates to turn), continue straight on Barnes Rd till the next light and make a right. That will take you to the 'back' parking lot which is way easier to exit after the game. The signs will say it is season ticket parking but they do allow the general public to park there.
Colorado Springs Airport is only 6 miles to Security Service Field. Denver International Airport is a bit farther - about an hour and 15 min drive. There are more flights to/from DIA and those are probably lower in fare than Colorado Springs.
Remember I said something about one or two items could be improved? Here's the second: The entry/exit area funnels behind the home base area and it is so congested it is treacherous. There is only the one place to enter and exit so there's no getting around it. My recommendation: Stay in your seat during the game or just meander on the concourse above the baseline on which you are sitting and remain in your seat for a bit after the game to avoid the mass exit and the crowds. Hopefully, there will never be the need for a quick evacuation of the stadium.
You cannot see the field from behind the home plate area of the concourse but can once you move towards the baselines. The concourse does not extend around the entire field.
Tickets are reasonable for an AAA ball game. Lower box is $13; upper level is $11. Military, seniors, and kids under 12 get an additional $2 off.
The Sky Sox organization provides all kinds of promotions:
Sunday: 50 cent hot dogs and Family Day. Sundays are usually a give-away game, as well
Monday: Kids eat free
Tuesday: Two for Tuesdays - $2 tickets; $2 parking, $2 Coors/Coors Light
Wednesday: Kids Day Matinee
Thursday: $3 Microbrew Thursday
Friday: Friday fireworks
Saturday: Select themed nights like Men's Night Out, Star Trek Night, and more
The $5 parking seems a bit high to me but in researching it might be on par with other PCL venues.
With all the promotions and perks, attending a Sky Sox game is well worth the investment.
There are water misters on each of the concourse baselines which are extremely helpful for kids and adults during the sometimes hot summer games. There's a team store called the Fox Den which offers all kinds of merchandise including clothing, pennants, shot glasses, and just about any other collector's item.
You can listen to Dan Karcher broadcast the Sky Sox games on 1300 AM or by listening on their website. He calls the game without a lot of unnecessary chatter and provides just the perfect amount of passion.
Except for the mascot and the crowded concourse behind home plate when entering and leaving the game, attending a game at Security Service Field is affordable and enjoyable. The city of Colorado Springs provides many sites to see and visit for your stadium journey vacation weekend or week. Being able to see future and former Rockies more up-close and personal is a very nice perk. And, when visiting, you may even be able to catch the big boys at Coors Field and a Sky Sox game in one day or at least in one weekend.
Security Service Field, home of the Colorado Springs Sky Sox, represents the city in its name and the ballpark is clearly the place to be on a mid-summer's night, as the city's proud baseball fans flock to the field for fun.
Colorado Springs, Colorado is home of the United States Air Force Academy, and many Cadets come from all across America to learn how to serve, protect and secure our country from military threats. Beyond the young Cadets though, many other veterans and more experienced military men and women live in Colorado's second biggest city. No doubt about it, this is a military town.
Which is why Security Service Field is the perfect name for their minor league ballpark.
Security Service Field was originally built in 1988, when the Hawai'i Islanders of the Pacific Coast League relocated to Colorado Springs.
The Sky Sox remained the AAA affiliate of the Chicago White Sox from 1988-1992, and when Denver was awarded the Colorado Rockies in 1993, the team became the Rockies' AAA farm team.
The stadium was built for $3.7 million in 1988 and its construction was completed in a mere 90 days - it stands as a feat of engineering, hard work and determination.
And while it was a fine ballpark for many years, the organization has made some major aesthetic and fan-friendly improvements.
Bland concrete facades have been covered with more appealing brick and wrought iron metal work. Above the press box, behind home plate, the new Sky Boxes have been created, luxury suites that adorn new carpet, ample comfortable seating and the Sky Bar, dedicated to serving only the luxury suite ticket holders.
And down the right field line, a new two-story banquet hall has been created, complete with its own bar and flat screen TVs, it can host huge parties for games. And down below the banquet area, the Coors Picnic Terrace can host smaller parties of people.
Another new addition was the state-of-the art video board in center field that brightly displays stats, pictures of the players and other fun games for fans to play between innings.
No doubt about it, the Sky Sox ownership understands their team is important to the fans, and they've invested into creating a better and more enjoyable fan-friendly environment in recent years.
Overall, Security Service Field is a unique, quaint and comfortable place to take in a minor league baseball game.
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