Donning their bright orange jerseys, the Slammers resemble the inmates of the nearby Joliet Correctional Center. The team changed ownership, league affiliation, and team moniker prior to the 2011 season. Formerly the Joliet Jackhammers of the Northern League, the newly named Slammers joined the Frontier League and even won the Championship series.
The Slammers play their home games at Silver Cross Field. The stadium was opened in 2002, and has a capacity of just over 6,000. It is a great stadium experience compared to other stadiums in the Frontier League, and one of the better minor league experiences available in the greater Chicago area.
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There are a few interesting items, unfortunately during my visit they ran out of a couple of items I was interested in, including the Tinga chicken tacos ($5.50), and the outstanding Beggar's pizza ($4.75). I was able to try the beer cheese bacon cheeseburger ($7.50) and I thought it was rather delicious.
The Sweet Baby Ray's stand in left field was also closed, so again no dice. The menu was tantalizing though with BBQ brisket, BBQ turkey, and pulled pork sandwiches.
Beverages included an average beer selection including Budweiser, Stella Artois, Miller Lite, Bud Light, Coors Light, Michelob Ultra, Blue Moon, and Leinenkugel Summer Shandy ($5.50). Pepsi is the soda of choice in two sizes ($3 or $3.75). Coffee is available on a cool night for only $1.50.
Overall, there are some good options, including a few gluten free selections, but the Slammers need to do a better job of ensuring that there more unique and popular items are stocked.
Nineteen rows of green plastic seats wrap around the infield. The leg room is a little below average, but each seat has a cup holder. You are able to walk around the entire stadium once inside, and there are several interesting places to watch the game.
In right field there is the Bud Beach, complete with beach chairs. The large sand box juts into the outfield, and makes for a unique view of the game. As you move into left center you'll find a bouncy house for the kids to play in, and a series of picnic tables along the left field wall. Just past the left foul pole there is a small playground that could probably use a bit of an upgrade.
The berms are well maintained down each line, so if a night laying around on the grass appeals to you, then that's a nice option as well.
Joliet has a great downtown area, and Silver Cross Field is only blocks from the center of town. The Rialto Theatre is an absolute treasure architecturally, and is worth walking by, if not stopping for a full show. They offer Broadway-style performances throughout the year.
There are several restaurants and bars near Silver Cross Field. The Department is described as "casual, fine dining." Basically that means it's a bar atmosphere with really good food. The theme is sort of a tribute to cops and fire fighters. They have a good beer selection, and a lot of tasty bites on the menu.
Across the street, and down the road a bit is 158 North, An American Grill. They offer reasonably priced, high quality food for lunch and dinner. I was surprised to find escargot, and really good escargot at that. I was also pleased to hear the owner and a bartender discussing who would take the night off to go to the Jackhammers game, a sign that they are part of the minor league baseball community.
If you're looking for the sports bar vibe, try McBrody's, just three blocks from Silver Cross Field. I tried the tacos, and thought they were better than what I expected- which is to say, not great, but satisfying enough to be worth the cost. They have plenty of outdoor seating, so if it's a nice day, you may want to have a few beers in their beer garden.
If you're in a gambling mood you can also find a Harrah's Casino within walking distance. For those who want to take in a little local history, you will want to stop in to the Joliet Area Historical Museum. Besides providing a good primer to the local history, they also have a display designated toward the genesis of professional baseball in Joliet.
In short, there are plenty of options in the neighborhood either before or after the game. Silver Cross Field is perfectly embedded within the town.
The crowd was pretty sparse on the lovely Thursday night that I attended. The fans that were there watched with mild interest in the results on the field.
There was plenty of street parking available near the stadium. In fact, I parked just across the street for free. With any street parking situation, you should read signs carefully to ensure you won't be ticketed or towed, but you should be able to find a spot within reasonable walking distance at no cost. Meters are free after 6pm downtown.
Traffic can be a bit of an issue if you're fighting your way down from the Chicago area.
Traffic is less of a problem after the game. Bathrooms are clean and you shouldn't expect any lines.
Tickets are $10 for chairback reserved seats, or $5 for a spot on the berm. In most situations you could probably pay for a berm seat and sneak your way into a chair, but my preference is to shell out the $10 and ensure yourself a worry free night. Food is pushing the price limit, but is still fairly reasonable if you can get your hands on it, and the free parking makes for a total game experience that should cost under $25.
I'll give one extra point for the mascots, Spike and J.L. Bird, both of whom spend ample amount with the fans.
Another extra point for the firehouse across the street past left field. There's a 560 foot marker on the firehouse, showing their commitment to their community and team.
If you're in the Chicago area and looking to take in a minor league baseball game, this would be my recommendation. You will surely have a good time.
Joliet is currently the fourth largest city in Illinois, located a little under an hour southwest of Chicago. It is a town that is proud of its heritage as an industrial power, which has transitioned to a more diversified economy. From my experience, people seem friendlier than average and seem to enjoy living in the city.
Independent Minor League baseball has been around since 2002, the Jackhammers inaugural season in the Northern League. They made their only playoff appearance under manager Matt Nokes that same season.
Fans can look forward to a comfortable stadium that accentuates the feeling of living in Joliet as much as it does the baseball atmosphere. Everything is well done, and worth a visit, especially if you live in the Chicago area.
Food & Beverage
A little expensive for being a minor league stadium. All the basic baseball food is there. In recent years, attendance is down and not all the consessions are open now.
They do a few things in between innings, which is fun to watch and thew crowd gets louder for the side shows and games than the actual game. Overall the atmosphere is not great due to the low attendence.
The Rialto is great and the casino is only a couple blocks away. However; it is not a very safe place to be after the game. There are a lot of police out when the games gets out, so as long as you dont walk around and explore downtown at night, you'll be fine
Parking is free. There are a few parking garages and parking lots that are free and close to the stadium. It is located in downtown Joliet, but traffic in downtown Joliet is not bad at all.
Return on Investment
Tickets are average for a minor leauge team. The talent on the field is not very good. They charge a 1 dollar processing free if you get the tickets the day of the game in person, which is abusrd due to the low attendance memebers.
They have vamped up promotional items and attractions at the games. They've had wrestling matches after the game with former WWE stars. The game I went to they had a person launched from a cannon after the game, which was awesome.
The Joliet Jackhammers are now the Joliet Slammers and play in the Frontier leauge. Hopefully that leauge has better talent.
205 N. Chicago St
Joliet, IL 60432
73 W Jefferson St
Joliet, IL 60432
151 N. Joliet Street
Joliet, IL 60432
1520 Commerce Ln
Joliet, IL 60431