Victory Field in downtown Indianapolis is considered one of the premier minor league ballparks in North America. There have been 19 other Triple-A ballparks built since it opened its doors in 1996, including Rochester’s Frontier Field that debuted on the same day. However, it still remains a popular gathering spot for fans in the city during the spring and summer months.
The team ranks in the top 10 for average attendance in all of minor league baseball, packing in a robust 9,331 fans during the 2015 campaign. The secret to the team’s success might be the spacious ballpark that ages like fine wine, affordable tickets, or its location downtown near the zoo, WhiteWater Amphitheater concert venue, restaurants, bars, bike paths, museums, and Lucas Oil Stadium. Then again, it may be the stunning views of the Indianapolis skyline that keep people returning year after year.
The Indianapolis Indians of the Triple-A International League have been playing baseball at the stadium since July 11, 1996. The 14,230-seat stadium replaced the aging Bush Stadium that had housed the Tribe since 1931. Ironically, Bush Stadium was known as Victory Field from 1942-1967 in reference to World War II. Baseball itself has been played in the city since 1877, while the Indians franchise has called Indianapolis home since 1902.
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Victory Field offers a great variety of ballpark cuisine, but never goes over the top with its concession items. What you will find are classic everyday food that is served up hot, fresh, and tasty. The barbecue nachos get a little twist as pulled chicken is soaked in Montgomery Inn sauce and served on top of tortilla chips and melted cheese for $6.50. You can enjoy footlong hot dogs for $6.75, or grilled bratwurst for $4.75. A local favorite, Arni's Pizza, serves up thin, cracker crust pizza for $4 a slice. The Victory Dog is $3.75 and bottomless popcorn baskets are $5.50.
The Victory Field Cantina behind home plate allows patrons to create their own burrito bowl, nachos, and quesadilla for $6.75. There is also the opportunity to build mouthwatering burgers, chicken sandwiches, nachos, and French fries at the Build-A-Burger concession stand. The prices range between $5.50-$6.75 and fans can enjoy toppings from blue cheese, banana peppers, sauerkraut, dijon mustard, swiss cheese, chili, and bacon on their burgers and dogs.
The Backstop Grille has even more selections including black bean burgers, chicken tender baskets, breaded tenderloins (a local delicacy), rib sandwiches, and double cheeseburgers costing $4-$6. Fans have the option of adding French fries to any sandwich for $2.
Pepsi products are served by the bottle or fountain and range in price from $3.50-$4.25.
The Indians offer a few creative menu items at the recently renamed Coors Light Cove in left field. The footlong sandwich creations include the grill sausage trio of brat, rope, and Italian sausage with grilled onions and peppers, the Caribbean pineapple chicken sandwich with jerk sauce, and the grilled vegetable and tzatziki sandwich with summer squash. Chicken and waffles are served with slaw and a honey glazed finish. All menu items are $8, but it is a small price to pay for some unusual ballpark treats.
In the beverage category, Coors, Leinenkugel, and Budweiser products are served on draft for $6.75, while local craft brewery Sun King offers 16 ounce cans for $8.25. Sun King produces Victory Lager, a Vienna style lager, at the ballpark during the year. Mixed drinks and wine can be found at The Cove for various prices. You can also find vendors hawking soda, beers, cotton candy, and peanuts in the stands.
On Monday, it is Dollar Menu Night featuring $1 hot dogs, sodas, popcorn, and peanuts at specific concession stands. This night is also extended to Thursday night for playoff games. The food at Victory Field does not try to reinvent ballpark cuisine, but rather, makes it a little bit tastier.
When you have a ballpark situated in downtown, the views are spectacular and they are just as beautiful inside throughout the concourses. There is two tier seating and a long, lush grass berm area that is perfect for laying out on a blanket or enjoying a few snacks from your cooler. The berm is a favorite gathering spot, since both your baseball and non-baseball fan can enjoy the game in unison; it is also a great place to get a tan. A lot of other ballparks have grass seating in the outfield, but here it is spacious and perfectly sloped for comfort.
Then again, you might want to hang out in the Coors Light Cove in the left field corner. A ticket will cost you $35, but you will have open seating and receive $10 toward food and drinks. The immensely popular section can handle up to 150 people per game and is usually sold out from June to September. It is a place for the adults to enjoy the game away from the children.
Rowdie is the official team mascot and he can be seen throughout the game entertaining fans. If you are with children, the team offers carnival games behind the batter's eye in center field. Kids can test their pitching arm, win prizes at ball tossing, or enjoy t-ball hitting and water gun races. There is also a small team gear stand and food stand in this area.
The team's official merchandise store is rather small, but there is a lot of great Indians swag for both men and women that pays tribute to the team's long history. There is an additional store down the first base line. Also, look out for tables offering discounted shirts and caps at times during the season.
The main concourse features heritage posters that pay homage to past greats including Harmon Killebrew, Roger Maris, Randy Johnson, George Foster, and current Pirate Andrew McCutchen. Much of the Indians former hall of famers, all-stars, and championships are on display on the exterior of the outfield entrance. However, there is a ton of history that deserves to be displayed somewhere inside the facility.
Victory Field is located in downtown Indianapolis, and there are many options from hotels, bars, restaurants, and museums; albeit, many of them are chains, but there are a few places worth visiting before or after a game.
Ralph's Great Divide is a small, local hole in the wall a few blocks north that offers a delicious bourbon baked ham and other dishes. Another dive, with 1950s décor is The Working Man's Friend, a mere two miles west of Victory Field serving the best burgers in Indianapolis, but they only take cash. Loughmiller's Pub & Eatery is within a few short blocks of the stadium.
The downtown scene features many local breweries including Sun King, Flat 12, Tow Yard, Two Deep, Outliers, and St, Joseph's (an old church with even better dinner items). Tomlinson Tap Room and The Yard House are two bars that offer even more craft beer choices from around the Midwest and the country.
If you are with the family, the Indianapolis Zoo and State Museum are within walking distance of the stadium and for a place the kids will really enjoy, The Children's Museum is just a few short miles north. Of course, the Mass Ave. and Fountain Square districts are worth visiting as well for even more restaurants, shops, bars, and comedy clubs.
There are a multitude of fine hotels in downtown Indianapolis beginning with the JW Marriott that is highly visible behind the left field wall. Other choices within walking distance of the stadium include The Staybridge Suites, Courtyard by Marriott, The Westin, and Fairfield Inn and Suites.
There is a question that lingers over each visit made to Victory Field. Are the fans here to watch baseball, or are they here for a nice night out with friends or family? It is definitely about enjoying time outside, having a lazy afternoon, or enjoying a night with a group of friends or colleagues. It is a quintessential minor league baseball experience and fans come out in droves on the weekends, firework nights, and promotion Sunday afternoon games. The city fills up the place on a consistent basis year after year and there has rarely been a negative word been said about Victory Field. The fans in town are proud of both their team and home yard.
Victory Field is a downtown venue, but close enough off I-70 that it is not too hard to locate. There is a public parking lot at the Indiana State Museum that many patrons use, or multiple garage parking lots that will range between $3-$6.
Parking meters are free on Sundays, but may require a little bit of a walk to the stadium. The local police do a great job of making congestion dissipate on the streets and sidewalks outside of the main outfield entrance. The best way off I-70 is to exit 79A S. West St and proceed north until the stadium is on your left.
Once inside the venue, bathrooms are easily accessible from the main and outfield concourses. Concession booths are set up nicely around the stadium and there is free WiFi for patrons.
Tickets for an Indians game will cost you between $10-$15 depending on where you want to sit. This is around the average price point compared to other International League teams. The team offers its Dollar Mondays and Two for Tuesday specials. There is a $7.99 coupon for local area Great Clips, a savings of $5, on the back of each ticket.
One extra point for the best outfield seats in minor league baseball.
An additional extra point for the victory bell that gets rung after every Indians victory.
The collection of merchandise from the team's illustrious history is worth an extra point. You can spot Cincinnati Reds era caps, Montreal Expos pinwheel caps and powder blue shirts, and Chicago White Sox era navy caps on fans throughout the ballpark.
One final extra point for the food menu visuals at almost all concessions and kiosks throughout the facility. There are more and more ballparks catering to visual customers, but we all know that we eat with our eyes. The pictures are large and vibrant.
Victory Field is my minor league baseball headquarters. I have the opportunity to visit the spacious facility numerous times each year and see what is new. The Indians have made improvements this decade by removing the right field bleachers and replacing it with a patio deck, installing an LED ribbon board in right field, adding The Cove in the left field corner, and placing the victory bell for ceremonious ringing after each victory. There are some nights and promotions that are better than others, but it is a ballpark that feels new, clean, vibrant, and beautiful almost 20 years into its existence. If architects were to create a new ballpark for Indy, they would make it exactly like Victory Field.
Indianapolis has quickly become one of the best sports cities in America. One could argue that this ascension began with the completion of Victory Field in 1996. Combined with Conseco Fieldhouse and Lucas Oil Stadium, two of the best stadiums in their respective sports, the downtown is a thriving sports-centric extravaganza.
Basketball always comes to mind first when thinking of sports in Indiana, but this town has a long history of professional baseball. Since 1887, there have been baseball teams in Indianapolis, including a stint as part of the National League for four years. Since 1902, the team has been known as the Indians, even though they have been affiliated with the White Sox, Phillies, Expos, Reds, Brewers, and currently the Pirates.
As a result of their many affiliations, stars from several MLB franchises have played in Indy. The list includes Harmon Killebrew, Roger Maris, Dave Concepcion, Randy Johnson, and Paul Konerko. The wide concourses are filled with banners honoring this history.
I love this ballpark. It's definately in my top five minor league parks. Lot's to do in town, but the parking sucks. Good food, fun time.
If there was ever a coolness factor given to a minor league ballpark, then Victory Field in Indianapolis would be the Fonze. It does not scream minor league baseball as much as its counterparts across the league, but is where the populace congregates during the hot summer months in downtown Indianapolis. Victory Field becomes a meeting place for all sorts who welcome the warm weather, sunny days and a strong sense of friendship. The home of the Indians since 1996 is a ballpark that has something to offer every type of individual who buys a ticket and sets forth through the gates.
Victory field is amazing because you have the Indy skyline in the background which is awesome.You can play games the fans are ok and nothing is to expensive
The area around Victory Field is one of the best you will ever find. There is a buzz around the park that you won't find in many major league neighborhoods, never mind AAA.
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