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Official Review by Meg Minard, Stadium Journey Special Correspondent
The Yakima Bears are the Short Season A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks and play in the Northwest League of Professional Baseball. It is an un-memorable stadium and game. My recommendation: If you're in the area, go catch a game or two but don't necessarily make a special trip.
Beginning the 2013 season, the Yakima Bears moved to Hillsboro, OR and are now the Hillsboro Hops. Yakima County Stadium is still used for other events including the Slice of Yakima and the WIAA High School State Baseball tournaments.
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".
Your traditional fare is offered at several stands including choices of burritos, tacos, nachos, hot dogs, kielbasa, bratwurst, hamburgers, fries, pretzels, ice cream, popcorn, and more at reasonable prices. Expect to pay between $2 - $6 for each item depending on what you get.
They do serve local Yakima Craft Brewing Co. beer here - Amber Ale down the first base side; IPA down the third base side in the beer garden for $6 (that's my recommendation). Traditional beer such as Bud, Bud Light, and Shock Top is also served.
The ticket booth doesn't open until 15 minutes before the gates open (gates open 1 hour before first pitch) so no need to get there early as I did. There is minimal shade in the parking lot and there are no benches or places to wait. It can get HOT so dress accordingly. I did walk across the entire parking lot and squatted in the shade and dirt under a tree while I waited for the ticket booth to open.
There is a net all the way around the seating area and even if you choose to sit in one of the higher rows, it will still distort viewing the game. There are three large advertisement banners sprawled behind the third base seating area presumably to block the hot sun. It is an odd structure.
As with many stadiums these days, the Bears charge an extra $1 for the price of a ticket if you purchase it the day of the game.
The stadium has plastic seats, aluminum benches with backs, and aluminum benches without backs as their seating options. Go for the plastic seats (box seats) as they are more comfortable and not as hot.
There is a lovely view of the mountains/hills beyond the outfield wall which are part of the Cascade Mountain Range.
The stadium is a part of the Washington State Fair Grounds. At the game I attended, there was a carnival in progress right next door that had a Ferris wheel and many other rides and entertainment options. You may be able to catch some event there when you visit Yakima. Otherwise, it is mainly a commercial/residential area.
There is a Salsita Antojitos Mexicanos restaurant across the street from the stadium. Another option, although not within walking distance at all, is the Yakima Craft Brewing Co (if you want to check out a good brewery).
There is a beautiful view of the mountains beyond the outfield.
And, if you do make a special trip to Yakima, do check out one of the many wineries in the area.
Attendance was low for the game I attended - 1,703 paid attendance. About half full. Those that were there did shout "One-two-three, - c'ya" every time an opponent struck out. There were very few fans keeping score.
Fans showed their appreciation of a 7 - 2 win vs. the Boise Hawks after the end of the game. Most fans stayed for the entire game.
Parking costs $5. One could park a few blocks away on the street for free and walk to the stadium.
Fans have to walk up a flight of stairs to get to the seating area, although there is also an elevator available.
The seats (box seats) are nice and wide and restrooms are adequate.
Overall, this trip doesn't quite live up to the total cost with the $5 parking and an extra $1 for game day ticket purchase and the fact I can't really remember much uniqueness or any outstanding items about this stadium.
One extra point for the Cancer Awareness Day pink shirts that the players wore and were auctioned off after the game.
One extra point for serving local beer: Yakima Craft Brewing Co.
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250 Ehler Rd
Yakima, WA 98902
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