Clint Lightner Field – Garden City Wind
Photos by Meg Miinard, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 2.71
Clint Lightner Field 706 E Maple St Garden City, KS 67846
Year Opened: 1920 Capacity: 1,000
Southwestern Kansas Baseball
The Garden City Wind, a team in the Pecos League (an Independent baseball league), began play in 2015 at the historic Clint Lightner Field in Garden City, KS. Clint Lightner Field is part of Frederick Finnup Park, a community park that also houses a zoo, a historical museum, picnic tables and grills, softball diamonds, a pool with water slides, and more.
Recent renovations to the stadium include new turf on the field and updated bullpens and batting cages. The organization asphalted the dirt parking lot in front of the entrance. And, they added ten VIP bucket seats directly behind home plate.
The park is shared with the Garden City High School team – The Buffaloes – who play their games from March to May. Garden City hosted the successful Pecos League All Star Game in 2022.
The name Wind comes from the blusterous breeze that can blow through the stands. Locals tell me the wind is often the ‘blow you over type.’ If it’s a windy one on the evening of your visit, hold on to your hat!
Food & Beverage 2
Basic food items are for sale; enough to squelch a hunger craving. The team offers juicy hot off the grill hot dogs, chips, peanuts and seeds, candy, other snacks, and Pepsi products ($1 – $4). Flavored shaved ice is a popular snack.
Beer (Budweiser, Bud Light, Michelob Ultra) is offered at the Windy Saloon concession stand underneath the grandstand for $3. Thirsty Thursday home games are $1 beer night ($2 for seltzers). Can’t beat the prices!
The seating consists of three sections of ten rows of aluminum bleachers without backs or handrails. We recommended bringing a cushion to sit on the benches as they get quite uncomfortable after nine innings of play. If you want the shade, sit on the first base and the home side. A medium-thickness net protects the entire seating area for the fans’ safety from foul balls.
The third base side gets the sun if that’s what you prefer. The sun sets behind home plate and the grandstand so it won’t be blinding your eyes when watching an evening Wind game.
A play area is behind the first base bullpens for kids to run around or play catch.
Music is played mostly between batters and not each pitch (a good thing in this author’s opinion). The starting lineup is not posted and it is called way too fast to record on a scoresheet. The scoreboard is basic with balls, strikes, and outs identified with a dot.
There’s a passing of the hat after a pitcher reaches 7 strikeouts. And, kids get to run the bases after the end of the third innings.
It’s an entertaining evening out and, depending on the evening and wind, you may get an occasional whiff of cattle.
Garden City is an agricultural town. Less than five miles outside the town are the farms and ranches that produce the crops and raise the cattle needed for food, drink or fuel in this country. Besides the farms, its number one employer is Tyson Foods.
Plenty of hotels are within two or three miles of the park and include: Sleep Inn, Hampton Inn, Best Western, Clarion Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Americinn, and more. Places to eat include Old Chicago and Baron’s Steakhouse + Bar. A plethora of Mexican and Asian restaurants are in the area as well as many fast food chains. The city hosts two breweries: Mountain Brewhouse in downtown (offers food) and Hidden Trail Brewery.
For other things to do, I’d recommend visiting the Lee Richardson Zoo and the history museum.
The fans are vocal and they are friendly acknowledging and greeting unfamiliar faces with a smile and a hello. They can give the umpires a hard time when a questionable call is made.
Families, parents of players and local Garden City residents attend the games. Kids get to run the bases after the third inning which is quite a delight to the young ones.
The grandstand isn’t packed (except for Thursdays) yet there is a decent showing of fans for the Wind games
There’s even a booster club that sells popcorn and other items where all proceeds go to the players.
The ballpark is in a quaint residential area just south of the railroad tracks off of US 50 going east and west or US 83 going north or south in southwest Kansas. It is not close to any interstates. Once in town, it is easily accessible with plenty of parking in a newly paved lot or on side streets.
The closest airport is Garden City Regional Airport, eight miles from the downtown area. It is more of a regional airport with the only commercial flights coming from/to Dallas, Texas. There is a small Amtrak station just a few blocks from Clint Lightner Field so that, too, might be an arrival choice.
I did not notice any public transportation so taking the car, bike, or walking are your best options to a Wind game. Walking in and around the stadium area is easy and there are restrooms at the venue.
I’m sure it meets ADA requirements, but it certainly appears not handicapped or wheelchair friendly.
Return on Investment 3
Thursdays are a popular day for the Wind as it is $1 beer night. Admission to a game is $7 a ticket. If in the area, season tickets are just $185 (for 32 home games).
The team offers free parking at the ballpark. Though limited, the food prices are very reasonable.
The seating is near the field so you get to see up-close action, hear chatter between the players, and just get to enjoy a few hours of baseball.
All kinds of promotions are provided by sponsors, including Get in Free to a game.
The Wind has quite an active Facebook page posting photos after each game.
A unique and thoughtful feature at Clint Lightner Field is the cups offered to dispose of peanut and sunflower shells vs throwing them on the floor. I wish other stadiums across North America would provide this and that fans would pay more attention and not leave trash behind.
Finally, it’s encouraging to see a Booster Club for the team.
Garden City, Kansas is not a vacation destination. It is however a nice little town with a new mall, several dining options and Finnup Park seems the place to be on a weekend. The Wind provide an entertaining and affordable evening out so if you live in the area or happen to be visiting nearby, do check out a game.