As of 2012, Stanley Coveleski Regional Stadium bears little resemblance to the rundown ballpark that stood in its place just a year or two ago. In January 2012, the sale of the team was approved to Swing-Batter-Swing LLC, and sole shareholder Andrew T. Berlin. For a mere $4 million, the ballpark now has outdoor suites, a new home plate suite, a splash zone water fountain in right field, a new inflatables play area in center field, and a new team store in left field.
Bleacher seating is being replaced by new and modern plastic stadium seats, and the center field gate is a welcoming entrance to the new Cove. What stands now is exactly the reason why it is worthwhile to invest in your local ballpark. What was once a below average experience is now better than many ballparks in the area.
The stadium originally opened in 1987, and the team began play as the South Bend White Sox in 1988. In 1994, the team switched their name to the Silver Hawks and changed affiliations to the Arizona Diamondbacks beginning with the 1997 season. It has been a strong affiliation with several players beginning their careers with the Silver Hawks including Justin Upton and Brandon Webb
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".
The concourse is filled with both your expected ballpark items as well as a few interesting twists. On the outer concourse, you'll find several larger concession stands offering kids hot dogs ($2.75), jumbo hot dogs ($3.50), chili cheese dog ($4.75), brats ($4.50), pork tenderloin sandwich ($7), and chicken sandwich ($6) along with several snacks.
Pepsi is the soda provider of choice at Stanley Coveleski Regional Stadium ($3.75 or $4.75 for a souvenir size). Other beverages include Gatorade ($3.75), bottled water ($3), coffee and hot chocolate ($2.75). Beer selection at the main concession includes Budweiser, Bud Light, Miller Lite, and Coors Light ($4.75 or $6 for a souvenir cup size). There is also the local Four Horsemen beer on tap ($5.75 or $7 for a souvenir cup size).
As you walk the concourse, you'll find smaller stand-alone concessions. You can choose from footlong hot dogs or brats ($6), Ľ pound Polish or Italian Sausage ($4.75), Giannetto's stuffed pizza ($4), Philly cheese steak ($7), Swoop's Smokehouse nachos ($7), and tacos (2 for $5).
The Pine Tar Pub serves up several interesting microbrew beers, a good addition to any ballpark experience.
The overall atmosphere of the South Bend Silver Hawks experience is very welcoming. From the approach from the parking lot to the center field gate you get the feeling that you're in a brand new park with all of the amenities you would look for in a great minor league ballpark.
Upon entering through the center field gate, you'll notice seven inflatable attractions for the kids to enjoy. They are tall, varied, clean, and instantly your kids will want to spend the rest of the night here. Unfortunately, it will cost you $5 to get the wristband to access the play area. Moving to left field, you'll find a synagogue that has been converted into the Silver Hawks team store. It is an interesting space to be sure and still has that new smell since the renovation.
Past the foul pole in left is a picnic area with several rows of picnic table seating. The remainder of the seating below the concourse is green plastic chairs with good leg room and cupholders. The screens extend from the far end of each dugout, preventing an unobstructed view for much of the seating area. If you don't want the screen in front of you, then shoot for sections 101-103 or 115-118. The third base side offers better shade, so my recommendation would be section 116.
If you don't want to pay the $5 price tag for the inflatable play area, there is also a free playground with sort of a cool design in right field. This is also where you'll find the "splash pad" which is essentially a ground level water fountain. Dressing your child (or yourself) in a bathing suit may be advisable on a hot day.
Other seating options include the terraced berm in right field (near the play area and splash zone), or one of the "outdoor suites", which is a gated area that seats 10 or so with tables. In right center field you can find a similar table with stadium seats, which is available first come first served. In left field there are seats with a drink rail, and there is some additional lawn seating in left as well.
The only major aesthetic drawback for me is the turf field. The areas around each base and the pitching mound are dirt, but the rest is turf. I like this better than the all turf field, as you still get that sliding noise, but you just can't beat real grass.
You're in downtown South Bend, so you would think that the options would be plentiful, and there certainly are some options within walking distance, but they are a bit hit or miss. I tried the Madison Oyster Bar, and was pretty disappointed. The top of the menu read, "A beautiful bar for beautiful people," so maybe my vanity drew me in (I am beautiful after all). In retrospect, an oyster bar in northern Indiana was probably a stretch.
Instead, go right next door to Fiddler's Hearth, an Irish pub setting with a fantastic menu. It makes a lot more sense to go with an Irish theme when in South Bend, but this place adds to the local feel by using nearby and sustainable products whenever possible. They also have 10 beers on tap, including some interesting options. It's a little more than a half mile walk from the stadium, so you may want to drive. I walked it, and thought it was a reasonable distance from the ballpark.
You may also want to visit the College Football Hall of Fame while in South Bend, or take the time to walk around the iconic Notre Dame Stadium on the beautiful campus of the University of Notre Dame.
For as beautiful as this park has become, you would expect the fans to come out in droves to support the local team, and appreciate the renovations. Early in 2012, attendance is up by about 500 fans per game compared to 2011, so it's a good sign. However, it still ranks the team at 11th in the Midwest League.
There were several loud fans questioning calls and cheering on their players, so they do make an impact. There's a good mix of ages at the ballpark as well with several families in attendance, no doubt appreciating the improved "family-friendly" atmosphere of the park.
Stanley Coveleski Regional Stadium is fairly easy to find, just a short drive off of the I-80 toll road and through downtown South Bend. There is pretty good signage once you reach downtown as well. Parking is available for $5 directly across from the center field gate and in other lots surrounding the ballpark. I see little reason to pay the $5 parking as there is quite a bit of street parking available in all directions. Just be sure to read the applicable signs as some parking is residential permit only, or has time restraints. I parked on Taylor Street, and just had a short one block walk to the park, so that can be a good option.
Inside the stadium, concourses are roomy and restrooms are large and clean. I appreciate where they have added seats that they decided to ensure good legroom and provide cup holders, a small but important touch when it comes to overall comfort for patrons.
Field Box seats (which are my recommendation) are only $6, and the prices elevate as you move closer to home plate (and the screen) into the Dugout Box ($8). If you choose to sit in the outfield seats with the drink rail, it will cost you $12.
The Outdoor Suite is just $20 per person and includes some drinks and unlimited popcorn. This is a great option if you want to increase the luxuriousness of the visit without totally breaking the bank. The home plate suite is one of the largest and most luxurious suites that I have seen, but probably won't be an option for the average fan.
I think the overall Return on Investment would be better if the Silver Hawks could slightly lower the parking costs and the cost for the inflatable fun zone, but overall prices are very reasonable, with parking, ticket, food, and drink coming in at about $22.
One extra point for the stadium's namesake, Stanley Coveleski. The man was a Hall of Fame pitcher, winning 20 or more games twice in his career, playing mostly as a member of the Cleveland Indians. Coveleski died in South Bend at the ripe old age of 94 and is buried in St Joseph Catholic Cemetery in case you are someone who likes to visit the grave of big leaguers.
One extra point for the plaques in the concourse honoring other significant baseball figures in the history of South Bend. Take the time to meander in the concourse and read the stories of these former greats.
A final extra point to the investment of Swing-Batter-Swing LLC and the city of South Bend to transform the less than ideal ballpark into one that is certainly on par with many of the venues in the ballpark-rich Midwest League. Compared to my last visit in 2010, this feels like an entirely different ballpark.
There is no doubt that Stanley Coveleski Regional Stadium has gone from a ballpark that fans could skip over, to a ballpark that is worth visiting. My hope is that the local community will embrace the renovations because this ballpark is a lot of fun, and would be even better with more bodies in the seats. I certainly look forward to a return visit, something I wouldn't have said only two years ago.
South Bend. A city known first and foremost as the home of the University of Notre Dame. It is a place that has seen a steady decline in its population and industry over the past 50 years. Near downtown South Bend sits Coveleski Stadium, home of the Silver Hawks, a class A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Baseball has long been a part of the fabric of South Bend. The city has been host to teams from the Studebaker plant, Negro League teams, and a professional women's team - the South Bend Blue Sox. Since 1984, there has been a minor league team, and since 1987 Coveleski Stadium has served as that home base.
With the new renovations and an emphasis from the owner on the fan experience this is a first rate place that the locals should be proud of. I've been to about 5 games so far this year and I have yet to encounter an employee who doesn't have a smile on their face and an attitude to match. Always looking forward to my next visit.
I know 'the Cove' went through some renovations recently, but it's wasn't all that great during my visit. Just your basic drab stadium. There were some fun game for kids which is nice, and the mascot did a great
1220 E Angela Blvd
South Bend, IN 46617