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  • Marc Viquez

Four Winds Field at Covelski Stadium – South Bend Cubs


Photos by Marc Viquez and Steve Ohnsman, Stadium Journey


Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 4.14

Four Winds Field at Coveleski Stadium 501 W South St South Bend, IN 46601

South Bend Cubs website Four Winds Field website

Year Opened: 1987 Capacity: 5,000

 

A Ballpark of Fun in South Bend

Four Winds Field at Coveleski Stadium is the home of the South Bend Cubs, the Single-A affiliate of the Chicago Cubs, in the Midwest League. The facility saw major renovations before the 2013 season, two seasons later the club signed a player development agreement with the Cubs and adopted its moniker.

The team had been known as the South Bend Silver Hawks and when it changed to the Cubs name, team merchandise increased to 600 percent in sales. Attendance also increased from 34 percent with 88,000 more customers attending games at “The Cove.” Further providing success has been the population growth in downtown South Bend as old building structures are being converted to work-eat-play living spaces.

The most significant change has been the addition of Berlin Place at the Ivy behind center field Named after the owner, Andrew Berlin, it contains living, retail, and residential space. Much like Wrigley Field, this facility includes rooftop bleachers, providing a view not found at too many ballparks at this level.

The venue was dedicated as Stanley Coveleski Regional Stadium on August 25, 1987, and cost $9 million, 60 percent over the original budget, to build. The Chicago White Sox relocated their Midwest League affiliate to town the following season and attracted more than 171,000 fans. In 1994 the club changed its name to the Silver Hawks as an homage to the Studebaker Silver Hawk automobile, which was manufactured in the town.

Stanley Coveleski is enshrined in Cooperstown and won 215 games between 1912 and 1928. He retired to South Bend to run a service station after his retirement and became a popular figure in the community until his death in 1984 at the age of 94.

Food & Beverage 4

The majority of the concession stands are in the main concourse behind Sections 101 and 118. However, multiple kiosks are available down each baseline of the stadium. Here is what to expect when you get hungry at an SB-Cubs game.

The Burgertopia grill, behind home plate, offers eight unique options; the burgers are cooked to order and include Pit Boss, The Grizzly, Jalapeno Bopper, and Mushroom, and Swiss. The Cubs is the most popular burger and is topped with bacon, barbecue sauce, cheddar cheese, fried onions, lettuce, and tomato.

Steakadelphia is a popular spot with items selling out before the final out of the game. The grill serves up two items: cheesesteak sandwiches and Philly nachos with peppers and onions. A few feet down is the Salsa cart, where customers can build their nachos or tacos with chicken, steak, or carnitas as the base.

Smokey Joe’s Barbecue shack features brisket sandwiches, pulled pork sandwiches, and mac and cheese bowls. The Flash Point Grills offer pork tenderloin sandwiches, cheese curds, hot dogs, nachos, and soft drinks. If you are looking for dessert, try the Sweet Spot stand, where the menu options include funnel cake fries, ice cream, elephant ears sundaes, and fried churros. However, fans also lineup for the Dippin’ Dots.

There are two craft beer sections at Sections 108, 116, and near Gate B, along with the Tiki Bar Hut, offering mixed drinks, sangria, slushies. Pepsi products are the beverages of choice at Four Winds Field.

Atmosphere 5

The Cove offers an open concourse behind the grandstand seating section and a wrap-around concourse. The main entrance behind the center field concourse houses a majority of the festive atmosphere and provides an opening to the rest of the city.

There is a lot of fun for the kids in the outfield area. The Splash Pad and playground near the right field foul pole offers hours of good times and a changing room. The Toyota Fun Zone that runs from left to center field offers inflatable rides for kids for a $6 wristband. Older fans can play bags AKA cornhole at the Beach House in center field.

Plaques honoring South Bend’s citizens are behind home plate, and a bronze statue of Stanley Coveleski is located at the center field entrance. He relocated to town after his 14-year playing career and became a popular member of the community

The team offers traditional entertainment between innings, and the on-field announcers are hilarious as they have fun interacting with the fans. A mascot race dubbed the “Produce Race” where Cauliflower, Mushroom, and Broccoli compete. A loud fog horn is set off when the team scores a run.

The air-conditioned Cubs Den gift shop is a renovated synagogue that was built in 1901. It is a “must-see” with great architecture (check out the chandelier and stained glass windows) and an excellent selection of Cubs items. The grounds in front of the building are worth noticing; a very well done area of an existing building at any ballpark.

The United Federal Credit Union Rooftop seats provide a vantage point, unlike any other High A ballpark. Separated from the stadium, fans can enjoy a mini Wrigley-like experience with bleacher seating, a bar, lounge seats, and tables, while enjoying a high-rise view of the baseball game.

Neighborhood 3

There are no restaurants or bars adjacent to the park, and Berlin Place at the Ivy has yet to attract a restaurant or bar to its complex. There are places worth visiting that are within a 5-minute drive of the ballpark. Also, South Bend is home to Notre Dame University, a destination all to itself only 3 miles north of the ballpark

Roselily is a low-key, family-owned restaurant that offers brunch and dinner. Nick’s Patio always has something good to eat on its menu, and where players visit after the game, and Corby’s Irish Pub has a college-vibe atmosphere if you are looking for a drink. A few breweries of choice include The Crooked Ewe Brewery and Ale House and the South Bend Brew Werks.

Tourists can enjoy the Studebaker Museum, which is close to the park and offers the history of Studebaker automobiles. Next to the museum is the Tippecanoe Place Restaurant, located in a mansion built in 1888 and has a lot to look at from its creaky floors and historic photos; it also houses a brewery on the second floor.

Fans 4

The extensive improvements made at Four Winds Field in the last few years are remarkable, and the fans approve. Attendance has continuously grown, averaging 4,770 in 2019, fifth in the Midwest League. Given the proximity to Chicago, about 100 miles to the east, the affiliation is another plus. On that rare occasion when a Notre Dame football game is being played, don’t be shocked to see most of the fans’ attention on the TV’s in the stadium on the Irish.

Access 4

The park is southwest of downtown, and street signs around the city direct fans to it. A collection of parking lots are located north of the stadium. It does get a little congested on the main concourse roof, where most of the concession stands can be found. Visitors should be prepared to duck in and out on busy nights; however, the rest of the stadium blossoms into open spaces beyond this point.

Physically challenged fans are also well served. The “South Bend Transpo” offers buses that stop near the park. For night games, fans should sit on the third base side to avoid the sun in their eyes.

Return on Investment 4

Like many minor league teams, the Cubs charge $1 more for seats purchased the day of the game. Seats bought in advance are Field Box seats down the line for $11, the Dugout Box seats behind home plate are $13, and the Patio Porch (RF) Home Run Porch (LF) cost $15.

Tickets are $40 for the United Federal Credit Union Rooftop and include a two-hour buffet of burgers, hot dogs, and sides. It also includes a cash bar and beautiful views of the game from high above the street.

On Monday nights, fans enjoy all-you-can-eat hot dogs, popcorn, and peanuts for an extra $8. Thirsty Thursdays features 16 oz. domestic draft beer and 24 oz. fountain sodas for just $2 all game long.

A free game day program is given to all fans. Parking is $7 in various lots near the stadium, but other lots are free and offer free shuttle service. You can also find free parking in the city streets depending on when you arrive at the game.

Extras 5

The ballpark offers a lot of features that give it extra marks. The team has two official mascots Stu and Swoop. Stu D. Baker is a bear, while Swoop is the former Silver Hawk mascot who made the transition and now dons the colors of red and blue. The lively characters wander the park to have fun with fans of all ages.

The rooftop seats are another plus for the ballpark and are an option for fans. You get a one-of-a-kind view of the game and connect well with the other rooftops at Wrigleyville, except these are a bit cheaper.

The Tiki Hut is behind left field and is for the 21 and up the crowd. The small bar offers flat-screen televisions, patio seating, tabletops and chairs, and another vantage point of the game. Fans can choose from beer, wine, mixed drinks, and alcoholic slushies from the menu board.

The Cubs Den located in the former synagogue is another plus for the ballpark. The former place of worship is a unique option for a team apparel store, but it is just another dimension for the stadium experience.

The final point is the triangular ceiling above the main concourse behind the backstop. One of the leftover designs of the original structure adds a different dimension with white ceiling lights hanging from the structure.

Final Thoughts

The transformation of Four Winds Field and Coveleski Stadium can be likened to a butterfly emerging from a cocoon or Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree. The design was ahead of its time and made it possible to make the necessary renovations. The open concourse, seating behind the outfield wall, and downtown location resulted in the changes and not knocking it down in favor of another facility.

The ballpark and the area around it have developed into a festive atmosphere with great food choices, areas for the kids to play, and great sightlines for the game on the field. It is a ballpark that stands out from the rest in the league, full of colorful places for the game. For comfort and style, this is one of the better ones to visit.

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Follow all of Marc’s stadium journeys on Twitter @ballparkhunter and his YouTube channel.

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