CarShield Field – O'Fallon Hoots
Photos by Marc Viquez, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.43
CarShield Field 900 TR Hughes Blvd. O’Fallon, MO 63366
Year Opened: 1999
Good-Old Fashion Fun in River City
Note: The River City Rascals ceased operations in 2019. In their place, the Prospect Leagues O'Fallon Hoots began to play at CarShield Field in 2020.
CarShield Field is the home of the River City Rascals of the Frontier League and is located 40 miles northwest of downtown St. Louis. The ballpark had been known as T.R. Hughes Ballpark up until the local auto-protective provider bought the rights in 2016. The simple design, suburban location, and affordable pricing provide for a relaxing day or night at the ballpark.
The Rascals and ballpark both opened up for business in 1999 and the team adopted a throwback feel to its games with uniforms that looked proper in the early 20th century and signage that would also feel welcomed in the early 1900s. The ticket prices were cheap, the food plentiful, and the team played winning baseball capturing five division titles and one championship.
The club was among the most popular teams in St. Charles County that had not been too kind to lower-level professional teams. Attendance crested at 185,333 for the 2004 season and has hovered around 85,000 this past season (2018). The ballpark did receive additions that included a new sports bar and lounge inside the stadium, as well as a remodeled Budweiser Party Patio with new amenities before the 2016 season.
The biggest news recently has been the installation of synthetic turf before the 2017 season that provides for other events to take place during the season including the St. Louis Legends game, outdoor market, and local high school and college baseball. The new turf also allows for fewer rainouts during the regular season for the Rascals.
Food & Beverage 4
There is quite a bit of everything at the ballpark. The River City Grill has an abundance of menu items that include hot dogs, hamburgers/cheeseburgers, nachos, brats, chicken tenders, and personal pizza. The concession stand also serves corn dogs, Italian sausage, walking tacos, buffalo tenders, chili cheese fries, onion rings, and baked cheese sticks.
That is quite a bit of ballpark food and if you have a sweet tooth, the team offers funnel cake fries, ice cream, giant cookies, and candy. The soda selection is not your typical Pepsi or Coca-Cola, but RC Cola products featuring Sun Drop, Diet Rite, and Sunkist.
The team does have a couple of notable burgers that have gained both local and national attention. The Arch Nemesis is a two-quarter patty burger, chicken teriyaki, and four slices of cheese on a pretzel bun. The Brooks Burger is a cheeseburger with barbecue sauce and onion rings.
The stadium features a nice main entrance that opens up to the main concourse and the field. The stadium consists of seats from third base to the right field corner, and a large grass berm seating area occupies third base to the left field line. Just behind the left field wall is eight rows of bleacher seats and a boardwalk area directly behind it.
The red hand-operated scoreboard dominates the right field and is sandwiched between three tiers of advertisements. The Party Patio is located in the corner and provides the opportunity for fans with an all-you-can-eat dinner option for a low cost of around $30 to $40 a person depending on what package is purchased.
The stadium does not feature traditional suites but offers open-air suites, tent suits, and four top terraces for specific groups and prices. The area provides a closer look at the field and is quite popular based on the number of people situated in them during the game.
Ruffy is the official mascot of the team and he can be found throughout the stadium entertaining kids of all ages. The picnic area and children’s playground are located in the left field providing entertainment options for the younger fans who might not be able to sit still during a nine-inning affair with their parents. They consist of a couple of plastic slides and jungle gyms with padded surface tops.
The team store located near the entrance by the ticket office offers team merchandise and at one time, the ball club went with a throwback look, some of that is still available in the team colors.
CarShield Field is located in a residential neighborhood a few miles north of I-70 and about 30 minutes from the center of St. Louis. It is close enough that one can enjoy the distinct neighborhoods of the Arch City, but one needs a car to arrive at the stadium for a game. However, both downtown O’Fallon and historic St. Charles (12 miles away) provided a nice diversion from the hustle and bustle of downtown.
Ethyl’s Smokehouse & Saloon is minutes from the ballpark and offers a fun and funky vibe that is ideal for families. The smoked pork steak smothered in barbecue is a St. Louis tradition and comes with two sides, but we won’t blame you if you choose the pulled pork or brisket. Turtle Creek Pub and McGurk’s Public House are two fine ways to wash down a few drinks or sit outside on the patio during a summer day.
Historic St. Charles offers visitors over 25 restaurants from which to choose from barbecue to casual pub food. Enjoy all of this with great ambiance along the Missouri River at coffee houses, outdoor patios, or Riverview walks. Tucanos Brazilian Grill and Hendricks BBQ are two great options when in town.
However, you don’t have to ignore St. Louis, you are within 30 minutes of The Gateway Arch, Laclede’s Landing, Soulard Market, Budweiser Tour, and the State Museum. Cap it off with frozen custard from Ted Drewes Frozen Yogurt on Route 66 and you will have a great day.
Like with many minor league baseball stadiums, the focus on entertainment is paramount. The opportunity to enjoy a night out with friends and neighbors or entertain the kids comes first than anything on the baseball diamond. Still, many cheer and root for the Rascals from their seats behind the backstop that adds a little hometown cooking to the stadium’s ambiance.
CarShield Field is a very easy stadium to locate by car that is a few miles north of I-70. Signs are visible on the interstate and the main street to ensure that motorists arrive efficiently for the game. Is not hard to get around once inside and crowds are never too busy to create any congestion on the concourse during a game.
Return on Investment 4
Ticket prices for games are $8 and $12 and parking can be found for free near the ballpark, but if you are willing to pay $5 to park, that option exists as well. The food is reasonably priced and quite plentiful and tasty. Its location near St. Louis makes for an easy diversion for baseball when in the city.
One point for the St. Charles County Amateur Sports Hall of Fame that honors local athletes who achieved status in softball, baseball, horseshoes, bowling, and dartball. Visitors can enjoy viewing a vintage collection of sports memorabilia, photos, trophies, pennants, souvenirs, records, and awards.
A second point is awarded to The Arch Nemesis, a burger that features two beef patties, teriyaki grilled chicken, and four slices of cheese on a pretzel bun. Surprisingly, it tastes great and is a must-have when at the ballpark.
CarShield Field doesn’t break the mold in contemporary ballpark design but has served the community well for the past 20 years outside of just baseball. Its location close to the multiple districts of St. Charles, O’Fallon, and St. Louis and 30 minutes from major league baseball, along with fellow rivals Gateway Grizzlies on the other side of the Mississippi River, makes for a nice headquarters for a baseball weekend.
Follow all of Marc’s stadium journeys on Twitter @ballparkhunter and his YouTube channel. Email at Marc.Viquez@stadiumjourney.com