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Official Review by Marc Viquez, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
The Detroit Mechanix are one of the original members of the American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL) and call the 2,000 seat Venture Park at Bishop Foley High School home during the spring and summer months. The ultimate disc league features 26 teams in two countries stretching from Montreal to San Diego.
The stadium was originally built when the school opened in 1965 and celebrated its 50th anniversary of the field last year. It was renovated in 2011 where the school added a synthetic turf surface and a new rubberized 6 lane track.
The facility hosts over 15 different teams from the CYO (Catholic Youth Organization football, soccer, and lacrosse programs), soccer clubs including Catholic Young Adult Soccer and Bafana FC, other local High Schools, and the Detroit Mechanix.
The Mechanix don the colors of black, red, and gray, and the club has been a resilient bunch the past few seasons as it has accumulated more losses than wins. The league's mission is to increase the visibility of one of North America’s fastest growing sports by creating fun, family friendly events that showcase the sport being played at its highest level.
The action is almost non-stop on the field and it its not hard to be mesmerized with the players abilities with a disc; these men defy all rules of logic with bullet tosses, eye-popping dives, and skillfully crafted leaps to score points throughout the game.
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".
Usually, there is a food truck from nearby National Coney, one Detroit's many coney dog restaurants. Unfortunately, on the day of this visit, there were only small bags of chips and pop sold at the merchandise table. A nice snap of a coney dog would definitely hit the spot at any sporting event in the Motor City. It is highly suggested to either eat before or after the game; fortunately, there a few great places nearby.
It should also be duly noted that alcohol sales are prohibited on school grounds, which can always be a concern for any professional sports franchise of any size. When the weather is hot during the months of June and July, an ice cold beer really hits the spot; however, so does water, which is available for $1.
The game has a feeling if a JV or freshman football game and given its surroundings is most adequate for the conditions. The main football grandstand supplies seating for one side of the field and a press box is perched at the top row in center. A standard scoreboard decked in Bishop Foley logos and colors is at one end of the field. There are banners or logos of the Mechanix throughout the facility.
The fans who are at the game are definitely supportive of the hometown flat ball team, while even the opposition made their presence felt with a few colorful banners on display during this match. There is a table that sells team merchandise and the team colors of red, black, and gray make for some very stylish shirts and caps. Also, the XL's fit like it should and is not tight around the belly.
There is a DJ who plays music between breaks and makes announcements during the games, but nothing gimmicky or hokey like you would find at other similar events across the country. Like with a select few other AUDL contests in the midwest portion of the states, the action is on the field and that's about that.
Madison Heights is a residential area off of I-75 20 minutes north of downtown Detroit. There are plenty of places to eat before or after the game that include fancy steak restaurants, Boodles, to classic burger joints, Telway Hamburger System.
Betty Ross is a classic diner serving a wide assortment of options 24 hours a day. Specials range from lamb shanks, chicken pot pie, triple decker sandwiches, and pitas that are always available. The loose burger is an Iowa local delicacy, but it can be found here next to Michigan's local delicacy the coney dog.
The Green Lantern Lounge is another fabulous spot for dinner; the local institution serves what many call the best pizza in town along with giant antipasti salads, sub and deli-style sandwiches, and candy coated bacon strips. Grab a pint, a pie, and a salad and you will have some good eaten after the game.
There are many choices of hotels within a few miles of the facility that include the Residence Inn, Baymont Inn, Extended Stay America, Hampton Inn, and budget friendly Motel 6 and Knights Inn.
There is a small gathering of dedicated fans cheering on the Mechanix and a few members of the opposing team made the trip up from Indy. The ones who are there only need the action on the field to entertain them and probably will feel distracted by any gimmicks or loud or obnoxious PA announcers. Fortunately, that isn't the case at the stadium.
It is very easy to get to Bishop Foley High School as it is located a few miles off of I-75 in Madison Heights. One may have to make an infamous Michigan left, but the school is very close to the main streets of the area. Once inside, the small grandstand is reachable to the concessions and bathrooms.
Tickets are $10 per person and parking is free of charge. The concessions are limited, but there is a wonderful array of official team merchandise in scarlet, black, and silver. The action on the field is where it is at; players dive, lunge through the air, and make spectacular catches that defy gravity. There are at least one of two plays per half that is worth the price of admission. Pick up one the league program and familiarize yourself with the lingo of ultimate disc, you'd be surprise by its lexicon.
One star for the Mechanix logo, colors, and merchandise selection. The look is stylish and fits right into the mentality of Detroit, and the surrounding towns in Michigan.
An additional star for the wrench mascot that is a great treat for the kids who attend games.
Mechanix games are low key, but definitely full of action. The fans at the game are a die hard bunch who would follow the club wherever they go and can tell you a thing or two about the sport. However, they deserve more that what Bishop Foley High School can offer; but who knows, the team may find its niche someday in the city. When that time comes, there will be many who can say that they were there from the start.
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