There are no tickets available at this time.
Official Review by Chris Patton, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
Opened on June 1st, 2010, The Corn Crib is home to the Normal CornBelters of the independent Frontier League. The facility is located on Raab Road in north Normal, Illinois. The CornBelters share the stadium with Heartland Community College’s baseball and soccer teams. The stadium name is a result of an agreement between the CornBelters and the Illinois Corn Marketing Board.
The Corn Crib features box seats between the dugouts, four sections of reserved bleacher seating with backs and ample lawn behind the outfield wall. Behind Normal’s bullpen down the right field line is the Grieder Landscaping Patio at the Park. Down the left field line is the Kid Zone, featuring inflatables, face painting, and picnic tables.
Normal plays in the Frontier League’s West Division. The team’s first manager was Hal Lanier, who managed the Houston Astros from 1986-88. The biggest name to ever play for the team is likely Ozney Guillen, son of Ozzie.
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".
My most recent Corn Crib experience was at the first game of a doubleheader caused by rain. The game I attended started at 4 PM on a Tuesday, with the regularly scheduled game to be played afterwards. For the first game, only the main concession stands behind home plate were open. Near the end of the first game, all the concession stands and food and drink carts began to open and serve the arriving crowd.
The Corn Crib features a $7 cheesesteak or a pulled pork sandwich or burger topped with pulled pork for $6. Chicken tenders cost $5.50. Hot dogs, corn dogs, burgers, grilled chicken sandwiches, and Italian sausages range from $4 to $6. Two different types of nachos sell for $4 and $6.50.
To wash down your food, bottled water is $3 and bottles of Coke products are $3.50. Sixteen oz. cans of Miller products are $6, while drafts of Miller, Leinenkugel's, and Redd's range from $6 to $8. If you're visiting the Leinenkugel Lodge stand down the first base line, you will need cash. All the main food and drink stands take debit and credit cards.
There is also a stand featuring roasted ears of corn. This is a must have if you're going to a CornBelters game.
A neat touch is that the players enter the field of play walking through a couple rows of corn, in homage to "Field of Dreams." The clubhouses are beyond the left field wall. Between the wall and the clubhouse door are planted rows of corn in the outfield berm and an aisle for the players to walk down to the field.
Along with the box seats and bleachers are a few rocking chairs that you can buy tickets for and watch the game like you are sitting on your front porch. Unfortunately, the seating section and concourse are wide open, so if it rains, you won't be protected.
The ballpark has a capacity of 7,000 and an artificial turf surface, with the warning track as the only dirt on the field. The scoreboard and video board beyond right field are just too far away from the fans, making it hard for many to see.
The Corn Crib and Heartland Community College are at the northern edge of Normal. The area around the ballpark has developed in the last few years, but this is definitely not a downtown park.
Head south from the park and you will pass through the campus of Illinois State University. Uptown Normal (don't call it downtown, they hate that) has become a hot spot. This area is a solid bet to find something outside of ballpark fare to eat or drink.
Pub II in Normal has been a campus favorite since 1974. If you've ever met an Illinois State alum, chances are they will mention the cheese balls. Pub II was once named as one of Playboy's 100 Best College Bars and they have been proudly touting that fact ever since.
Just a block south is Lunker's. Established in 1999, if you go to Lunker's and don't get a gigantic fish sandwich, you've done something wrong. They have all sorts of beer specials as well, but they are known for their fish.
Like their stadium, the CornBelters are only five years old, but they have not been able to attract a huge following. Crowds depend on the weather or whether there is a promotion. While my most recent visit was during the week when many people were still working, I have been to games in Normal on the weekend and the crowds were larger, but not overly focused on the game. That doesn't just happen in Normal, though. Many people attend MLB games and treat the park as a food court and are constantly in and out.
The Corn Crib has a large parking lot where it will cost you $2 to leave your car. The stadium is set off from any neighborhoods, so there is really no other option than paying. The main entry gate is behind the outfield fences and a decent walk away from the seats. Handicapped parking is available right outside the gate behind home plate.
The concourse features several bathrooms, which are spacious and clean. The Corn Crib boasts that they have the "World's Greatest Restroom." While I can't personally give you a rating, as it happens to be the women's restroom, I can tell you that all accounts are that it may be the best restroom in baseball.
Tickets range from $36 for the Scout Seats, which feature all-you-can-eat food and drink, to $6 for lawn seating. Rocking chair seating is $17, while box seats are $12 and bleacher seats are $8. Due to their proximity, the CornBelters are often compared to the Peoria Chiefs. Box seats are more expensive in Normal, while their lawn seating is cheaper. It seems like the lawn tickets are a great deal, while anything else seems like it might be a stretch.
The CornBelters are definitely committed to the corn theme around the ballpark. The team's mascot, Corny, makes his way all around The Corn Crib. The stairs leading from the main gate to the concourse level are decorated with decals featuring pictures of corn plants.
One of the great things about a CornBelters game is that the younger fans get a chance to step on the field. Every game features a promotion where kids can line up and chase a local bank's mascot across the field from first to third base. There is also a dirt patch behind the visitor's bullpen where kids can play catch and not block too many views of the field.
The Corn Crib is still shiny and new, but by building it to be utilized for so many different purposes, it loses some of its intimacy for baseball. However, it is worth checking out if you're in the area.
Member Review by paul
One component of a successful minor league experience is ensuring that the organization is tied into the local community, and that the stadium experience is a microcosm of that community.
In Central Illinois, an area known for its agriculture, and especially its corn production, a new team has emerged in the Frontier League. They are called the Normal CornBelters and they play their home games in The Corn Crib. Their mascot is an ear of corn, and his name is Corny. Well, they definitely have their theme down.
102 N Linden St
Normal, IL 61761
126 E Beaufort St
Normal, IL 61761
203 Susan Dr
Normal, IL 61704