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  • Writer's pictureChris Green

Arnold Field - Sonoma Stompers

Photos by Chris Green, Stadium Journey

Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.00

Arnold Field 180 1st St W Sonoma, CA 95476

Year Opened: 1949


Stompin’ Baseball

The Sonoma Stompers are a relatively new addition to the wide Bay Area sports scene. Nestled blocks from downtown Sonoma, CA, the team makes their home at tiny Arnold Field. The stadium itself is a Sonoma County Regional Park named in honor of past Sonoma resident General Henry “Hap” Arnold.

Arnold Field is also dedicated to supporting youth athletics in the Sonoma area, with the field being run and supported by the volunteers of the non-profit Sonoma Valley Athletic Corp. Open since 1952, the facility can see its history traced to the late 1940s when the Sonoma Valley Athletic Club looked for a new site to build a baseball field.

Food & Beverage 4

There is only one concession stand at Arnold Field, but the selection is pretty solid. This mini version of the Kenwood Palooza Brewery and Gastropub has many items on the menu for various tastes – salads range from $11 to $12 with items such as various burgers ($14-$16), lobster rolls ($18), hot dogs ($12-$13), and 10” wood fired pizzas ($13) populating this impressively varied menu.

Atmosphere 3

Arnold Field itself is not much more than a high school baseball field equivalent. Several rows of metal bleacher seating behind home plate are located under a tarp to shield fans from the sun, but lack backing for a more comfortable experience. Special patio seating is located in left field along the third baseline, but that is little more than a few umbrellas with patio chairs underneath them.

General admission tickets get you into the outfield grandstands beyond the left outfield wall. Unfortunately, one must literally walk through the visiting team’s bullpen to get there, only to find it in need of a dusting off of the local spiders and their webs.

Neighborhood 4

The town of Sonoma is steeped in history, with various National Park Service museums and historic sites around for visitors to see. Food options include the popular pizza spot Mary’s Pizza Shack as well as Plaza Grill, and Arnold Field is also just blocks away from Sonoma Plaza, where you can find plenty of local shops to satisfy your buying needs. In addition, being located in the heart of Sonoma Valley means that the wine country beckons to visitors from all around.

The closest hotels to the stadium are the El Dorado Hotel, Sonoma Hotel, and the Best Western Sonoma Valley Inn.

Fans 2

The fans who show up are pretty loyal for the Stompers. Unfortunately, since the field is small, the crowds are small as well. On top of that, most stay in and around home plate, with few actually venturing beyond the third base side to the outfield seating areas.

Access 3

To get to Stompers games, one must take some smaller side roads. State Road 12, which runs right through Sonoma itself, is your best bet from the north and east, while Routes 116 from the west and 121 from the south offer the other main connectors to Route 12. Once in Sonoma, the stadium is located just a few blocks north of Sonoma Place off 1st Street West. Here you will find plenty of parking for free just steps from the main gate to the ballpark.

Return on Investment 3

Tickets for Stompers games start at $10 for general admission, then go up to $12-$18 for grandstand seating and $20 for club level patio seating. However, with concessions prices above the average for independent and minor league baseball teams in general, you may want to watch your spending for food while at the stadium. Given the lack of a roaring sports feel in the facility, those searching for a bigger crowd atmosphere will be better off looking to the metropolitan Bay cities for Athletics and Giants games.

Extras 2

The team’s mascot roams the stands during games to meet fans and take photos; the team also hosts some giveaways and theme nights throughout the year.

Final Thoughts

Though an enjoyable overall experience, the Sonoma Stompers are squished into an aging yet historic ballpark in Sonoma Valley. While the history is certainly there, Arnold Field lacks some of the finer touches. When compared to independent league stadiums from around the country, it is hard to put a finger on why fans should seek out the Stompers over more established teams in other cities. Nonetheless, Stompers fans still show up at games and have provided a good base from which the team can truly grow.

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