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  • Writer's pictureDave Cottenie

Arnold Anderson Stadium at Cockshutt Park - Brantford Red Sox

Photos by Dave Cottenie, Stadium Journey

Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 2.86

Arnold Anderson Stadium at Cockshutt Park 35 Sherwood Dr Brantford, ON N3T 1N3

Year Opened: 1998

Capacity: 2,000

There’s Baseball in Brantford Too

The city of Brantford, Ontario is known for hockey and telephones. The home of both Wayne Gretzky and Alexander Graham Bell also boasts some baseball acumen. The Brantford Red Sox of the Intercounty Baseball League are not only the oldest team in the league but they are also the most decorated. The Red Sox, which share the same name and look as the more famous Major League team, were founded in 1911, a few years before the beginning of the IBL. They would join the league in its third year in 1921. The Red Sox have been a staple in the Brantford community ever since and have rewarded their fans with fifteen league championships including a record six in a row. The Red Sox are currently family owned and operated by Connie and Rick Pomperleau.

Home for the Red Sox is Arnold Anderson Stadium at Cockshutt Park. Named after a local radio announcer, Arnold Anderson Stadium is part of the larger Cockshutt Park which groups a number of softball and baseball diamonds just south of the Grand River. The park, formerly Agricultural Park, was gifted to the City of Brantford by the Cockshutt Family and former Lieutenant Governor of Ontario Henry Cockshutt, in memoriam of their father, Ignastius Cockshutt.

Food & Beverage 3

Arnold Anderson Stadium has a bit of a different setup where the concession stand is behind the main grandstand and press box at ground level. To get to the concession stand, patrons must exit the stadium past the ticket desk, which requires a hand stamp. Concession options are about what can be expected for an IBL venue. Typical ballpark bbq items are available including burgers, sausages and hot dogs. Nachos, popcorn and chocolate bars are also available at the snack bar. Soft drinks are available in both bottles and cans and both Pepsi and Coke products are in the cooler. There is a beer tent past the third base stands where basic domestic brands can be found. Of note, alcohol may not be consumed in the main stand behind the plate, but only in the beer garden picnic tables and the first and third base bleachers. The prices are decent and the quality is surprisingly high with BBQ items coming fresh off the grill.

Atmosphere 3

Arnold Anderson Stadium is part of a larger Cockshutt Park which has other recreational baseball diamonds. The stadium itself is a bit of a piecemeal structure with a permanent grandstand behind home plate which includes the press box and concession stands and washrooms on the opposite side. The main grandstand features acknowledgement of the past successes the Red Sox have enjoyed, including 11 pennants and 15 league championships, the most recent occurring in 2013. A dedication stone for the park in honour of Ignatius Cockshutt, a local philanthropist, sits handsomely in a garden outside the main concession. On the opposite side there is a dedication to the Brantford Red Sox team of 1959 through 1963. The exterior of the main grandstand is an attractive light colour with red trim. It definitely offers something a little different from other IBL venues. Home plate at Arnold Anderson Stadium faces due west, which can offer a bit of a predicament for batters from the setting sun. However, Red Sox home games are traditionally welcoming of an 8 pm first pitch to accommodate sunsets.

To the immediate left of the main grandstand is a portable ticket table, which is the entry point to the stadium. Hand stamps are required as the concessions and washrooms are outside the gate. On the fence to the left is another unique Red Sox feature as the honoured numbers of Bill Leconte, Jimmy Wilkes, Ron Stead, John Lockington, Ted Baker, Spud Bush, Frank Parker, Larry Ellins, Bill Gibbs Sr., Stan Lipka and Dave Dix are displayed. Accompanying them are honours for builders Mike Calbeck, Rogers Davis and Larry Pennell.

Inside, the stadium has three main parts with the main grandstand as a permanent structure with the press box at the top and plastic, fixed seating. Permanent clubhouse and dugout structures are separate from each other and the main grandstand. Past the dugouts are simple, aluminum bleachers. Proximity to the players at Arnold Anderson Stadium is very close and the bullpens are just past the bleachers. Possibly the worst feature of Arnold Anderson Stadium from a fans perspective is the backstop and fencing. As opposed to soft mesh, typically found at most ballparks, Arnold Anderson Stadium has chain link fencing. Behind the backstop provides one of the worst views as the posts for the fencing are quite thick and the view for fans in the grandstand is quite often obstructed.

The gameday presentation has a local community feel to it with simple promotions including a program prize draw and 50/50 draw. Thankfully, the numerous announcements requiring foul balls to be returned to the concession stand, which is not uncommon for Intercounty Baseball, have been toned down to a more friendlier version offering some enumeration for baseballs.

Neighbourhood 2

Arnold Anderson Stadium is located in Cockshutt Park. The park is located south of the Grand River in the West Brant neighbourhood of Brantford. The neighbourhood around the park is mostly residential with a couple of spots that fans may want to check out. The Brantford Artisian Market is close and the Mash Paddle Brewing Company and Spool Gourmet Poutine & Mac ‘n Cheese can be found in there. Otherwise, fans will want to head downtown for more variety.

There are not really any other sporting options in Brantford. Junior B hockey can be found in the winter months. There are plenty of parks and recreation spaces in the West Brant neighbourhood.

Fans who wish to stay in Brantford will need to head north of the Grand River where the Best Western and Comfort Inn are found.

Fans 2

The Intercounty Baseball League does not readily publish attendance numbers, therefore assessing the fans category for the Brantford Red Sox can be difficult. Under Covid-19 regulations, the gameday capacity at Arnold Anderson Stadium is listed at 175 people. It doesn’t seem, however, that the fans in attendance are drastically fewer than in previous years. There are probably a couple hundred fans in the stands in Brantford, which is not in the top echelon for the IBL. It is a friends and family atmosphere with some hardcore fans. There is a community fee in the park, but often it is whisper quiet in between plays and that low rumble of chatter is not audible. This does give fans the opportunity to hear the true sounds of the game including players and umpire comments and conversations.

Access 4

Getting to Arnold Anderson Stadium is very easy. Cockshutt Park is located south of Highway 403, the main artery into the city. There will be a few local streets to traverse, but that won’t be an issue. The park has plenty of parking available, which is free. For fans wishing to take public transit to the game, there are buses available south of the park on Colborne Street. Fans should check out the Brantford Transit website for fares, maps and schedules.

Return on Investment 4

The Brantford Red Sox, as with other Intercounty Baseball experiences, offers some of the most affordable situations in all sports. Tickets for the Red Sox go for $10 and are available at the door or before the game, online. Students and seniors go for $7 and youth $5. Kids 5 and under can get in free. The parking at Cockshutt Park is free and the concession prices are very affordable. The final product that you will find at a Brantford Red Sox game is a simple version of baseball that harkens back to a previous era and focuses on the game, rather than all of the bells and whistles.

Extras 2

An extra mark for Brantford Red Sox alumni, and honoured member Ron Stead. Ron is an honoured member of the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame and played with the Red Sox for almost a decade, earning numerous league titles. He would play more than 15 years in the IBL.

An extra mark for the unequaled success that the Red Sox have enjoyed.

Final Thoughts

A trip to the Brantford Red Sox will bring fans back to baseball’s simpler times. A family environment with an uncanny quality in concessions, there are aspects of going to a Brantford game that will make fans wonder why it isn’t like this everywhere.

Follow all of Dave’s sporting adventures on Twitter @profan9.

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