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Standard Bank Stadium

Crestwood, IL

Home of the Windy City ThunderBolts

3.7

3.5

Standard Bank Stadium (map it)
14011 S Kenton Ave
Crestwood, IL 60445


Windy City ThunderBolts website

Standard Bank Stadium website

Year Opened: 1999

Capacity: 3,142

There are no tickets available at this time.

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Hidden Treasure on Chicago's South Side

The Windy City ThunderBolts franchise (formerly known as the Cook County Cheetahs until new ownership changed the name in 2004) has existed since 1995. They moved from Will County to Standard Bank Stadium in Crestwood, Illinois in 1999. The stadium now holds about 3,200, which includes the party decks. The ThunderBolts won the Frontier League championship in 2007 & 2008. The 2014 campaign was the organization's 20th season.

The dimensions inside the ballpark are: Left – 335’, Center – 400’, and Right – 335’.

The bullpens are located in foul territory down the lines in the outfield. When on the patio areas you can easily have a conversation with the pitchers.

The ThunderBolts ticket booth and Thunder store is in a separate building within the confines of the park. The store has the usual stuff including hats, t-shirts, sweatpants, game worn uniforms, broken bats, etc...

The ThunderBolts kids area could be better as it is basically just a bouncy house. There is also a speed pitch machine.

The restrooms could be cleaner, but they are adequate. The stadium does need some care since the park is showing its age a bit. There are chunks of concrete that have broken off around some railings. Also, there are some weed issues too in the landscaping on the outside of the park.

3.7

What is FANFARE?

The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:

  • Food & Beverage
  • Atmosphere
  • Neighborhood
  • Fans
  • Access
  • Return on Investment
  • Extras

Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".

Food & Beverage    3

The food is standard stuff including hot dogs, burgers, ribs (think McRib sandwich from McDonald's), and chicken sandwiches. However, there are good appetizers like fried pickle chips and funnel fries, which is funnel cake in the shape of fries.

The food items are reasonably priced. Nothing is more than $5. My favorites here are the chicken sandwich, rib sandwich, and the fried cheese curds or pickle chips all which are very tasty. One disappointing thing is the condiment selection here, with only ketchup and two types of mustard in a standard dispenser, everything else...onions, relish and mayo are in packages.

The lines at the food concessions usually are pretty long since all the stands are not open, but they move quickly.

The beer is provided by Budweiser (Bud, Bud Light, Michelob Ultra, Bud Light Lime and 312 Beer and a few more types too), and they have some hard liquor drinks too. The vodka based drinks are from a local distillery, CD Vodka. There are 2 sizes of draft beer, the 20 ounce ($3) and the 32 ounce ($5). Bottles are $4.

All the workers at Standard Bank Stadium are friendly and provide good service. There is no outside food besides peanuts that is allowed in the park. If need be you can leave the park and go to your car, you just have to show your ticket.

Atmosphere    3

Some people, mainly the die hard fans and group outings, arrive an hour or two prior to the game to tailgate. This is fairly unique for a ballpark of this size and level.

The unique thing about the ballpark is there is an upper deck on the 3rd base side but not the 1st base side. In addition, there is not much foul territory. Not many fans sit in the upper deck, but the view from there is really good. There is not a bad seat in the house because the park is so small. There are only eight rows in the lower deck. Because of the smallness of the park you really have to pay attention to the game if you are not behind the netting.

There are no cup holders in the seating. There are two concourses on the 3rd base side, and outside the seating area (you can't see the game from here) and the inside under the upper deck on the 3rd base side. The inside concourse on the 3rd base side is tight but it usually is not a problem walking unless you are in a big group. The outside concourse is not used by many people until after the game.

There are only three skyboxes at the park.

On August 1st, 2014, the ThunderBolts installed a video board for the first time at Standard Bank Stadium. Replays are shown on it but since there is only one camera they are not very good, at least not yet. The scoreboard portion is a basic high school board, but there is a ribbon board under it that gives stats. To the left of the video board there is a small pitch speed board. Nothing special and not many pay attention to it anyway, but it does provide fans with additional information. The music at the park is standard pop songs.

Neighborhood    3

There is a recreational park/elementary school/football field adjacent to the ballpark, otherwise there is nothing but parking lots. But about 5 minutes away (walking) there is a fast food joint. If you are driving, then everything you want is within 5 minutes, including a few neighborhood type bars and plenty of fast food choices. If you get there early enough there is a pizza place, Louisa's, that was voted one of the best pizzas in the Chicagoland area. Most people drive to the game, but some residents will walk since there a residential area to the south of the park and school.

Fans    4

A lot of the fans that do go to Windy City ThunderBolts games are friendly and know a lot about the team and league. The ThunderBolts average about 1,700 people a game. The mix of fans are the same as most any other ballpark with lots of families, people who are really into baseball, and people who just like to hang out and catch up.

The ThunderBolts have a group of regulars at the ballpark who are called the "Pole Guys" because they stand in the concourse by the light pole near the 1st base (visitors) dugout. These guys have a good time and do raz the umps, opposing players and even the home team when there is a bad call/play. For example, when there is an error you will hear "That is why you are in this league." So if you don't like this sort of thing, sit on the 3rd base side. It should be noted that the Pole Guys do not curse, they are just relentless.

The kids seem to like the ThunderBolts mascot "Boomer" and "he" is very accessible during the times he is not on the field for the between inning entertainment. The between inning entertainment is the usual minor league stuff such as throwing t-shirts, hot dogs, and quick contests. It's nothing special.

However, I do like the "horse race" here. I am assuming they do this at the park since there is an off-track betting place near the ballpark. Anyway, there are 3 wooden horses (blue, red and zebra) cutouts attached to a pole (an intern or worker runs with the horse). The horses run outside the park from the video board behind the batters eye to another advertisement board. There are people around the park who care about the outcome because they do bet on the race.

Access    5

Standard Bank Stadium is located to the east of the intersection of 141st (Midlothian Turnpike and S Cicero Avenue). It is $2 to park at the stadium. You could take a bus near the stadium, but there is no need to. Just drive. The park is very accessible and the area is very safe.

Return on Investment    4

Going to a T-bolts game is definitely worth the price and time. The price of a ticket is either $9 or $10 (you get a $1 off if you buy in advance). This is not the best ballpark I have been in, but is a very good one and better than some affiliated Single A parks. Every Saturday is fireworks night and they put on a great show here. It should be better attended, but they usually get about 2,000 on this night. On Sunday it's family day, where you get four tickets, dogs and soda for $30. It is a good time and there is some decent ball.

Extras    4

The Thunderbolts do have two retired numbers (which they just retired in 2013). One is of Dylan Axelrod (#23) who pitched for the ThunderBolts and Chicago White Sox/Cincinnati Reds. The other is of their former manager, Mike Kashirsky (#1), who led the T-bolts to their 2nd Championship and two division titles. Now, he is the left handed batting practice pitcher for the Chicago White Sox.

Also, if a home team player hits a home run, which doesn't happen often, they pass around a "home run bucket" in which all the money collected goes to that player. And if the ThunderBolt pitcher gets 10 or more strikeouts the bucket also gets passed around.

The bullpen pitchers on certain nights even find a way to have some fun. They put out a cup where the fans on the patio area, which is about 10' above the bullpen try to get a quarter into the cup and if they do, they get a baseball.

The park gets an extra star because of the upper deck and the "horse" race.

Final Thoughts

This ballpark is one of the best kept secrets on the south side of Chicago. This park should be a can't miss for baseball fans based upon the uniqueness alone and upon the value for area residents.

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Crowd Reviews

Winning Windy

Total Score: 3.29

  • Food & Beverage: 3
  • Atmosphere 3
  • Neighborhood: 3
  • Fans: 4
  • Access: 4
  • RoI: 4
  • Extras: 2

The city of Chicago has a great legacy as a baseball town, even if it doesn't have the same tradition of winning championships. The Windy City Thunderbolts, while technically located in Crestwood, are a solid addition to that Chicago tradition, and they have the passionate fans to match. Best of all, they actually have established a bit of a championship tradition, winning the Frontier League both in 2008 and 2009.

The stadium itself is a comfortable 3,200-seater, with a rare upper deck for independent minor league baseball. Visitors to Standard Bank Stadium will find a good value for their money, and a focus on baseball much more than the fun and games you find at many minor league parks.

Hidden Treasure on Chicago's South Side

Total Score: 3.71

  • Food & Beverage: 3
  • Atmosphere 3
  • Neighborhood: 3
  • Fans: 4
  • Access: 5
  • RoI: 4
  • Extras: 4

The Windy City ThunderBolts (formerly known as the Cook County Cheetahs until new ownership changed the name in 2004) franchise has existed since 1995. They moved from Will County to Standard Bank Stadium in Crestwood, Illinois in 1999. The Stadium now holds about 3,200, which includes the party decks. The ThunderBolts won the Frontier League championship in 2007 & 2008. The 2014 campaign was the organization's 20th season.

The dimensions inside the ballpark are: Left – 335’, Center – 400’, and Right – 335’.

The bullpens are located in foul territory down the lines in the outfield. When on the patio areas you can easily have a conversation with the pitchers.

The ThunderBolts ticket booth and Thunder store is in a separate building within the confines of the park. The store has the usual stuff including hats, t-shirts, sweatpants, game worn uniforms, broken bats, etc...

The ThunderBolts kids area could be better as it is basically just a bouncy house. There is also a speed pitch machine too.

The restrooms could be cleaner, but they are adequate. The stadium does need some care since the park is showing its age a bit. There are chunks of concrete that have broken off around some railings. Also, there are some weed issues too in the landscaping on the outside of the park.

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Local Food & Drink

Simply Slices  (map it!)

14208 Cicero Ave

Crestwood, IL 60445

(708) 389-7771

http://www.menuism.com/restaurants/simply-slices-crestwood-456329

Louisa's Pizza  (map it!)

14025 S Cicero Ave

Crestwood, IL 60445

(708) 371-0950

http://www.yelp.com/biz/louisas-pizza-and-pasta-crestwood

Local Entertainment

Lodging

Holiday Inn Express Crestwood  (map it!)

13330 S Cicero Ave

Crestwood, IL 60445

(708) 597-3330

http://www.ihg.com/holidayinnexpress/hotels/us/en/crestwood/chioo/hoteldetail

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