Dozer Park – Peoria Chiefs
Photos by Steven Burke, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.43
Dozer Park 730 SW Jefferson St Peoria, IL 61605
Year Opened: 2002 Capacity: 7,500
Baseball in the River City
Dozer Park has been the home of the Peoria Chiefs since opening in 2002 as a replacement for their previous home Meinen Field. The stadium contains many of the amenities seen in modern day ballparks. The Converse Club, for instance, is located on the suite level and is equipped with flat screen televisions featuring live sporting events as well as an in-park video feed of the action taking place on the field. The Converse Club is open to all suite level ticket holders as well as full and half season ticket holders, featuring table service with full dining and bar menus providing a luxurious environment to experience game day.
Dozer Park also features one of the largest high definition video boards in MiLB, measuring 30 feet by 42 feet. In addition to hosting the Chiefs, Dozer Park also serves as the home of the Bradley University baseball team. The name Dozer Park is reference to the Caterpillar company which is headquartered in Peoria and purchased the naming rights in 2013.
Food & Beverage 3
Dozer Park has a good variety of the ballpark staple foods. Two of the best choices are the pork chop sandwich and the foot-long corndog. For something outside of the box, try the pulled pork nachos from the Mexican-inspired concession stand. They come with all of the expected nacho toppings with the added delicious bonus of pulled pork. The Chiefs make sure their ballpark is a place to enjoy a ballgame with quality ballpark food and great craft beer.
As is the case in many ballparks in recent years Dozer Park does a good job emphasizing craft beer, the most notable location being the Good Hops stand. Good Hops is located on the concourse behind home plate and serves a wide variety of drafts, bottles, and cans of beer. All draft beers run will run you $7, while bottles and cans sell for $6 or $7.
Dozer Park is still a very nice facility, but is beginning to show its age slightly. Although to be fair, the issues that are visible may be more of a lack of maintenance and upkeep. The facade of the press box has countless amounts of dings and dents from foul balls, it appears no attempt has been made to repair or mask this damage.
The Firehouse Team Store located on the concourse just to the left of home plate contains all the Chiefs merchandise you could ever need. The store is just to the left of the main gate as you enter the park. The Chiefs’ HD video board at Dozer Park is one of the largest in Minor League Baseball. The board measures 30’x42′ and displays promotions, replays, stats, and pitch speed.
One of the best options for a pregame meal within walking distance of Dozer Park is Sugar Wood Fired Bistro. Located in the warehouse district of Peoria, Sugar Wood Fired Bistro provides a comfortable atmosphere with an open kitchen and delicious food. One of the most unique and delicious pizza choices is the Smokey Pork Chipotle which features braised pork, smoked gouda, peaches, bacon, pineapple, and chipotle barbecue sauce.
The warehouse district of Peoria appears to be an area ripe for gentrification, signs on buildings around Dozer Park indicate that more businesses will be opening in the near future.
Fans at Dozer Park tend to consist of families from the local community. It is not unusual while walking the concourse to see people interacting with acquaintances they just happen to run into at the ballpark. The Chiefs do a great job of being an integral part of the community and a meeting place during the summer months in central Illinois.
Plenty of street parking is available in the warehouse district surrounding Dozer Park and free parking can easily be obtained. There are also plenty of small lots on the streets surrounding the ballpark where parking can be found for $5-$10. Dozer Park is located close to main roads and interstates so arriving and leaving traffic flows well.
Return on Investment 4
The seating bowl at Dozer Park consists of folding plastic seats and are broken into Dugout Box and Field Box sections. Dugout Box seats cost $11 and range between the sections from dugout to dugout. Field Box seats cost $10 and are located past the dugouts down each foul line. Lawn seats are also available for $8.
Dozer Park features party decks at the end of the concourse on both the first and third base side of the field. Additional group spaces are available in right field as well as left field. The entire seating bowl is close to the field providing a great view of the action from any seat in the house.
As with many MiLB teams, the Chiefs offer promotional food specials throughout the week depending on which night you attend a game at Dozer Park. Wednesday home games are known as “Wins-Days” for the Chiefs with hot dogs, sodas, and ice cream sandwiches all priced at $1 and as an added bonus all fans in attendance receive a ticket to a future Monday-Wednesday home game if the Chiefs win. Dozer Park hosts “Thirsty Thursday” as well as “Taco Bell Live Mas Thursdays” during each Thursday home game. “Thirsty Thursday” features 16-ounce domestic draft beers as well as fountain drinks for $2; while “Taco Bell Live Mas Thursdays” provides buy one get one free ticket with the presentation of a Taco Bell receipt showing a purchase in the last 7 calendar days.
Sunday home games feature specials for the rookie and veteran fans with “PNC Kids Sundays” as well as “Senior Sundays” as kids 12 and under and seniors 55 and over receive tickets for just $5 in addition to $1 ice cream sandwiches.
Being located geographically between Chicago and St. Louis it is expected to have a split of Cubs and Cardinals fans and the Chiefs seem to do their best to retain the interest of both fan bases. Since 1985 the Chiefs have changed major league affiliates four times and that includes two stints each with the Cardinals and Cubs. From 1985-1994 and 2005-2012 the Chiefs were affiliated with the Cubs and 1995-2004 and 2013 until now the Cardinals have called Peoria the home of their Midwest League affiliate.
Also worth note is that just inside the front gate of Dozer Park there is a statue of long-time Chiefs owner, Pete Vonachen. The late executive was known as “Peoria’s Mr. Baseball” and is credited with much of the organization’s success.
While Peoria is situated between Chicago and St. Louis geographically a visit to Dozer Park to see the Chiefs play is a great addition to a trip to either MLB destination city.