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  • Writer's pictureMarc Viquez

Grizzlies Ballpark – Gateway Grizzlies


Photos by Marc Viquez, Stadium Journey


Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.71

GCS Credit Union Ballpark 2301 Grizzlie Bear Blvd Sauget, IL 62206

Year Opened: 2002 Capacity: 6,000

 

Having Fun at GCS Ballpark


Grizzlies Ballpark is the home of the Gateway Grizzlies of the Frontier League The ballpark is in Sauget, Illinois, where the population is 156. It might be the smallest town in baseball to house a professional team, but game day crowds increase the population to close to 95% on game day.


The Grizzlies began operations in 2001 and moved into the new ballpark the following year which features reserved box seating, outfield lawn seating, party suites, and two hot tubs. There is also an abundance of food options featuring Baseball’s Best Burger. It is a bacon cheeseburger served in between a glazed Krispy Kreme doughnut in place of the bun.


The ballpark is located in the St. Louis metropolitan area, providing fans with additional opportunities to enjoy baseball. The organization has done a more than admirable job of entertaining its guests for the past two decades at a comfortable park that kept up quite well in its appearance.


GCS Credit Union and the Grizzlies announced that GCS Credit Union will be ending its naming rights agreement with the Gateway Grizzlies on April 16, 2023.

Food & Beverage 5

The food options are at the end of each baseline. The Country Bob’s Grill House is a giant shed in the right-field corner, and the Baseball’s Best stand is near the left-field corner. Beer options are available in the middle of the concourse of the stadium.


It is easy to go for Baseball’s Best Burger, but there are much more options to choose from if you feel a little adventurous. The ballpark also features Baseball’s Best Nachos, which are topped with steak, cheese, grilled onions, and peppers. They are big enough to share for two little fans, but dinner for a much older fan.


The nachos are delicious, and the grilled toppings are hard to beat at many ballparks in the nation. The savory mix of toppings instead of neon cheese and jalapenos is a nice change of pace. The burger is quite unusual, but don't be fooled by its doughnut bun. It is a sweet and salty taste that works quite well together. The crispy bacon, the glaze on the fried doughnut, and the sharp cheddar cheese are a welcome trio of flavors.


Baseball’s Best Hot Dog is topped with three slices of bacon and pulled pork. Bob’s Chicken Sandwich has two slices of bacon, cheddar cheese, barbecue sauce, and a pork fritter sandwich. If you like nachos and fries, fans can top it off with pulled pork, cheesesteak, or Buffalo chicken.


The ballpark also offers the classics of hot dogs, nachos, burgers, brats, and pizza slices. You can wash it down with Pepsi products or national or local beers. Desert options include frozen custard and frozen bananas.


Atmosphere 3

Grizzlies Ballpark is sculptured in a manner where the playing field sits below the main grandstand providing an open view form no matter where you are in the building. Fans get a view of the nearby interstate and the SIHF Healthcare building behind the left-field wall.


There is only one entrance into the venue on the third-base side near the box office and team shop. The shop has an array of merchandise that includes a build-a-bear station for anyone who wants a stuffed grizzly bear.

The scoreboard is on top of the lawn seating area in the right field. Fans get to enjoy the game from a nicely sloped strip of grass and are up close and personal with the right fielder. The visiting outfield played catch with a young fan standing on the grass near the wall.


The right-field flagpole is also home to the two hot tub suites, which were closed during our visit to the ballpark. Adjacent to the suites is the Country Bob’s Grill House, a giant shed serving almost everything the stadium has to offer to eat. There is a kid's play area located on the opposite foul line of the ballpark that offers two spaces where kids can play.


Fans will also find table stool chairs behind the backstop with ledges for their food and drink. All draught beer is sold through the bottom-up method, and the staff does the Macarena after the 8th inning on the dugouts. Izzy and Lizzy Grizzlie are the official mascots that make their way through the stadium.


Neighborhood 3

There is nothing of note around the ballpark, even with the St. Louis skyline within distance from the massive parking lot. It may appear you are in the middle of nowhere, but Busch Stadium is less than 4 miles away, closer than CHS Field to Target Field in the Twin Cities.


St. Louis will be your destination for entertainment that includes everything from award-winning barbecue, free museums, beer tours, and historic neighborhoods. Of course, you can check out a Cardinals game or visit their Hall of Fame in the Ballpark Village for starters.


The city is known for its great museums which include the City Museum, St. Louis Art Museum, Missouri History Museum, National Blues Museum, and the National Museum of Transportation. There are also a few oddities that include the World Chess Hall of Fame and the Moto Museum.


If you are interested in brewery tours and want to do something outside the Budweiser Brewery Experience, check out Schlafly Brewing, 4 Hands Brewing, or Urban Chestnut Brewing Company. If you are hungry, Pappy’s Smokehouse has award-winning Memphis-style barbecue, but get there early since it sells out.


The Soulard Farmers Market is the oldest operated market dating back to 1779. The Soulard neighborhood is worth checking out for its diverse architecture, churches, and small restaurants and bars. The same could be said for Laclede’s Landing along the river which is made up of cobblestone streets with restaurants and bars.


Fans 4

Grizzlies fans have been coming out to support their team for two decades and were an FL organization to attract 200,000 fans on the season. There is a dedicated audience that wears its pride on its sleeves when voicing its opinions toward the umpire. There are many out for a good time, but there is quite a bit of keeping score and hoping for a Grizzlies victory.


Access 4

The ballpark is directly off the interstate, the parking lot is vast, and getting around inside is not a hassle at all at most games. The wide-open concourse that wraps almost around the ballpark provides more than enough room for fans of all ages.


Return on Investment 4

It depends on the night you are at the game since ticket prices vary from time to time. Field Reserve Box Seats are $14, Bleacher Seats are $9, and General Admission Lawn Seats are $8 the day of the game. If they are bought in advance, there is a dollar discount. Still, these are not bad prices for tickets. There are two price points under ten bucks, and the parking is free for all cars.


However, there are Super Show Nights where the team offers fireworks, guest appearances, and other promotions. Ticket prices for all three options increase by $4 apiece. That means the most expensive ticket is $18, while a lawn seat is $12. There are 5 Super Show Nights during the season, two of them around Independence Day.


Extras 3

The Grizzlies earn a point for Baseball's Best food options that have pushed the boundaries of what can be served at a ballpark. The club also earns a second point for the lawn seating behind the right field and for offering fans free parking for all home games.


Final Thoughts

It is a marvelous, little ballpark that has become one of the better ones in independent baseball. The ticket prices are affordable, the food is creative and fun, and promotional nights should attract fans to the stadium. When in St. Louis, there is more than one option for a baseball game.


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Follow all of Marc’s stadium journeys on Twitter @ballparkhunter and his YouTube channel. Email at Marc.Viquez@stadiumjourney.com


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