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Tiger Park

Belle Plaine, MN

Home of the Belle Plaine Tigers

3.3

N/A

Tiger Park (map it)
221 S Eagle St
Belle Plaine, MN 56011


Belle Plaine Tigers website

Tiger Park website

Year Opened: 1885

Capacity: 1,500

There are no tickets available at this time.

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The Tigertown of Minnesota

The Belle Plaine Tigers are members of the River Valley League (Class C) and have been playing baseball on the exact same site since 1885. Its first park was known as Union Square and its location has continuously been used for baseball, making it not just one of the oldest original fields in Minnesota, but one of the oldests in the world.

Baseball was originally supported supported by local cigar factories and flour mills that made sure the ballclub was fully funded, dressed, and ready to play ball. The teams went through various and interesting nicknames including Red Caps, Red Stockings, Governors, Juniors, Giants, and White Lilies. Finally, in 1923 the name Tigers was adopted and it has been used ever since in town.

Baseball did hit a lull in the late 1950s when the Tigers disbanded for several seasons, prompting local boosters to dip into their own pockets to start the team again. The group lead by local legend, player, manager and future hall of famer Gerry “Mize” Meyer was able to put a squad together, while maintaining the field of play. The club would even turn a $10 profit at the end of the season.

However, by the late 1980s, the old ballpark was in serious disrepair and condemned by city officials. An entire new grandstand was constructed that included moving the diamond 40 feet to the east producing a 305 feet right field corner. The new structure would be able to accommodate 1,500 people and its design harkened back to earlier renderings featuring a covered wooden grandstand, fresh coat of green paint, and ivy laced outfield walls.

The Tigers have appeared in 15 state tournaments and have been state finalists in 1948, 1952, 1991 and 2013. In 1994, the Tigers were Class “C” State Champions. The ballpark has also been home for the Tigertown Classic tournament since 1999 and has also co-hosted 5 state tournaments in 1966, 1981, 1992, 2004, and 2014.

The little ballpark is a shining example of what town ball is in the state of Minnesota creating a perfect opportunity to visit a piece of baseball history that has been gravely overlooked in the other 49 states, but etched in lore in Belle Plaine.

3.3

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

There is one concession stand underneath the wooden grandstand operated by volunteers from the community. The stand has a little league or high school feel, but that is a good thing. Also very good our the hot dogs ($2) that are locally made and smoked at Ruck's Meats; the dogs snap when you bite into them and are much better than what you would find at many major league ballpark. The beef jerky ($2)is also delicious and made at Ruck's; a piece and is pulled out by the hunk from a plastic bag.

There are other treats that include popcorn ($1), nachos ($2), and hamburgers ($3). Interestingly, beer is served either by the can for $2.50, six-pack for $12, or 12-pack for $20. If not a beer drinker, Mike's Hard Lemonade and O'Doul's sells for $2.50 and Coca-Cola products sell for $1 a can.

Atmosphere    3

There is definitely a wow factor when approaching the grandstand. The small, wooden structure looks and feels much older than its construction date. A small press box is located underneath the roof at the top of the grandstand and there is an area for local radio broadcasts. Occasionally, KNUJ broadcast games; the smooth and sweet relaxing voice of its play-by-play man adds another distinct charm. Also, 2-3 times a year KCHK Radio out of New Prague does games at Tiger Park.

There is history in many areas that include 5 plaques to members of the Minnesota Baseball Hall of Fame that once played in town, a large colorful mural in back of the grandstand highlighting the city's championship years, and two circular markers that indicated the year baseball began playing on the site.

Most of the fans take residency down the 1st base line on picnic tables or the small seating area up against the fence. It is busy with kids tossing baseballs, adults talking about the game, and others looking to see what is good to eat at the concession stand.

You will not find mascots, merchandise tables, or whacky promotions. What you will find are updates, announcements from the PA announcer, and ivy covered outfield walls. The laid back atmosphere is more than enough to engaged the common fan, and the place has a strong sense of nostalgia being the ancestral site of the first amateur baseball games in 1885.

Neighborhood    3

There are a few choices in town if you are looking for a bite to eat before or after the game. Emma Krumbee's Bakery & Restaurant is a very popular spot in the area and recommended by locals at the ballpark. Cindy's Kitchen is another nice choice for breakfast or lunch, and Andy's Bar & Grill features chive fries, breaded cauliflower, sloppy chips, and other pub food delicacies.

SpareTime Tavern is considered by many residents as the best place to grab a burger in town and former all-time great Tiger and Mariner farmhand Jeff "Hot Dog" Miller lists Annie's Cafe as his favorite place to eat in Belle Plaine. The HomeTown Inn & Suites is located in Belle Plaine for lodging options.

Fans    3

The Tigers produce a good showing of fans at each game, many of them are relaxed as they enjoy the game with friends and family. The faithful in attendance enjoy themselves talking with friends, watching their favorites on the field, and enjoying a night out during the summer months.

Access    3

Tiger Park is rather easy to get to from the Twin Cities. It is about a 45 minute drive from Minneapolis and is located off of Minnesota State Highway 169. There are no street signs directing visitors to the ballpark, so use the GPS to help you navigate. If you do get loss, most people in town can tell you how to get there. Once inside, the park's size makes its simple to get around with comfort. Bathrooms are clearly marked and are near the entrance of the stadium.

Return on Investment    4

The price of admission to a game is only $4. Students age 13-17 are admitted for $2 and anyone under the age of 12 is free. There are even season ticket prices starting at $25. The prices are in line with other town ball parks within the area of the state.

On certain nights, a local sponsor will cover the cost of a meal with a paid admission. The price of food at the concession is also inexpensive and similar to that of a high school event, but a whole lot tastier. The experience appreciates a little more once you leave and are far away from the ballpark and town, making the investment that much greater.

Extras    4

1 star for those delicious and natural casing hot dogs that snap when you bite into them. There are few major league teams that should take note to these amazing franks.

2 stars for the mural in the back of the press box. A nice modern touch to what feels like a throwback facility.

3 stars for the ivy covered outfield walls, you can never go wrong with this look on any building or stadium.

4 stars for the friendliness of the staff at the game, they make a ballpark hunter feel welcomed.

Final Thoughts

Tiger Park is a charming facility possessing all of the elements of an iconic town ball park. If in attendance, take some time to breath in the crisp blue skies of the Minnesota summer, talk with a few locals, and enjoy those tasty franks from the concession stands. You might not want to leave.

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Local Food & Drink

Emma Krumbee's Bakery & Restaurant  (map it!)

351 Enterprise Dr E

Belle Plaine, MN 56011

(952) 873-4334

http://emmakrumbees.com/

Andy's Bar & Grill  (map it!)

114 N Meridian St

Belle Plaine, MN 56011

(952) 873-2207

http://www.yelp.com/biz/andys-bar-and-grill-belle-plaine

Cindy's Kitchen  (map it!)

600 Commerce Dr E

Belle Plaine, MN 56011

(952) 873-3355

http://www.yelp.com/biz/cindys-kitchen-belle-plaine

Spare Time Tavern  (map it!)

117 W Main St

Belle Plaine, MN 56011

(952) 873-4604

http://www.yelp.com/biz/sparetime-tavern-belle-plaine

Annie's Cafe  (map it!)

201 E Main St

Belle Plaine, MN 56011

(952) 873-5558

http://www.anniescateringbp.com/

Local Entertainment

Lodging

belleplainemotel.com 1 TripAdvisor review  (map it!)

315 S Walnut St

Belle Plaine, MN 56011

(952) 873-2242

belleplainemotel.com

HomeTown Inn & Suites  (map it!)

331 Enterprise Dr E

Belle Plaine, MN 56011

(952) 873-6017

http://www.hometowninnmn.com/

Belle Plaine Motel  (map it!)

315 S Walnut St

Belle Plaine, MN 56011

(952) 873-2242

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