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  • Writer's pictureMarc Viquez

Kokomo Municipal Stadium – Kokomo Jackrabbits



Photos by Marc Viquez, Stadium Journey


Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.14

Kokomo Municipal Stadium 400 S. Union St. Kokomo, IN 46901



Year Opened: 2015

Capacity: 4,000

 

Setting the Standard in Kokomo


Kokomo Municipal Stadium is one of the most prestigious ballparks in the summer collegiate landscape, a stunning 360-degree concourse ballpark features plastic seating, a beer garden, large children’s area, and plenty of grass seating behind the outfield wall that would put a few lower Single-A facilities to shame.


The home of the Kokomo Jackrabbits was built at a price tag of $9 million and features a capacity of 4,000. The Rabbits were members of the Prospect League for its first four seasons before switching to the Northwoods League in 2019. The change of leagues offers more home dates (36 compared to 25 dates) and serves as a hub for the three Michigan-based teams and possible future teams in the area.


Kokomo had been home to minor league baseball from 1955 to 1961 in the Three-Eye League to both the Dodgers and Giants organizations. The ballpark used for those years was Highland Park Stadium, which still stands to this day, but is nowhere near the standards set by KMS.


The club is also known for its colors of brown, yellow, and orange and designs that are similar to early 1980s San Diego Padres uniforms. The club is one of a handful of sports or college teams that embrace the color of brown from caps, jerseys, and t-shirts.


The friendly staff, prices, and eye-popping merchandise quickly make the stadium stand out among others in the summer collegiate leagues and each year something a little different occurs to make a visit worthwhile.


Food & Beverage 4

There are two main concession stands on both baselines of the main concourse offering the typical ballpark fare. The choices are not too bad and include more than your typical ballpark fare. Hot Dogs and brats have a meat bun-to-meat ratio and can be topped with Stadium Mustard (the official mustard of the Northwoods League).


However, there are also burgers, pork tenderloin sandwiches, chicken tenders, nachos, soft pretzels, and popcorn. The are two varieties of fries: waffles and steak, and both are very hot and fresh. A few different choices include pickle fries, mac and cheese bites, and hot pepper bites (fried pepper jack cheese).


Domestic beer sells for $7(16-ounce) and $8 (24-ounce), while craft beer selections will cost around a dollar more for 16-ounce servings. If you are not drinking beer, fountain drinks of the Coca-Cola variety are available from $3 to $4 apiece for a 16 or 20-ounce. Also, there is a soda and beer bat for $10 and $12 respectively.


In the right-field corner is a party tent with seating for about ten people and offers draft beers, well drinks, ciders, and wine. Multiple tables and chairs near the tent are popular on Thursday nights when all domestic beers are $2 and draft beers are $4.


Down the right field line and near the kid zone is the Sweet Tooth portable stand that serves ice cream cones, root beer floats, and fresh popcorn. These are very fair and adequate prices for ballpark cuisine and should be able to satisfy many in attendance.


Atmosphere 3

The atmosphere feels perfect for a collegiate wood-bat ballpark and for a city that has not gone 54 years without a professional ball club. The game day operations are top-notch with shirt tosses, in-between inning games, dancing carrots on the dugouts, and Jacko the muscular jackrabbit patrolling the stadium — he is one tough hare.


There were not a lot of in-between promotions during the game, except for the Zooperstars who were in town and added to the festivities. There was also a U16 baseball team from the Kitcherner, Ontario, area that cheered and commented throughout the game. Finally, the Rabbits have an MC who spearheads the crowd from the dugout and throws out mini baseballs to hype the audience.


The Rabbits offer various promotional nights that include Prince & Princesses Night, Star Wars Night, Faith Night, Christmas in July, and Fan Appreciation Night throughout the summer months. From what I was told, some of these nights draw quite well.


The merchandise has been a popular staple for the club since its inception and when you wear brown you might get a few eye rolls. That is not the case, as team caps featuring the stylistic K-logo, rabbit eyes, or Jacko have been popular items for fans of all ages. There is a small space near the entrance of the stadium to sell merchandise, but it is somewhat hidden (and not well-marked).


The ballpark’s lawn seats pay homage to outfield lawn seats in Indianapolis; this could be a great way to entice nonbaseball fans to enjoy a game by sitting on a blanket under clear blue skies. Unlike many other stadiums, the entire outfield seating section features grass seating that accommodates up to 1,000 patrons.


In the right-field corner is an elaborate jungle gym for the children that is protected by a canopy net and features blue protection cushions at the bottom. Like the party tent at the opposite end, this place is heavily populated with younger fans.


Neighborhood 2

What you would find in Kokomo is a variety of chain restaurants and retail outlets on the US-31, which is not too far from the stadium. However, if you are looking for a few interesting sites to see or places to eat, then here are a few suggestions.


Harvey Hinklemeyers features great pizza and sandwiches – it is also an ideal place for the kids. Half Moon Restaurant and Brewery provides a great stop for a bite to eat or craft beer after the game. The Windmill Grill, B-K Root Beer Stand, or Artie’s Tenderloin are great local choices in town. Be sure to try a tenderloin sandwich – a giant breaded piece of pork that is a deep friend and big enough for two.


The ballpark is near the historic Kokomo Memorial Gymnasium, which at one time, was one of the largest high school basketball field houses in the country. The current size is around 5,000 and it still packs a crowd during the high school season.


Many locals recommend Dan’s Variety Bakery which opens at 1 AM and features fresh, hot baked donuts. It is a popular destination and is open from 1 AM to 12 PM.


Fans 3

The fans at the ballpark appear to be strong supporters of their local nine. Many in attendance are decked out in Jackrabbit gear, while little ones wait impatiently for the elusive foul ball down the right field line. The crowd, which grows as the night wears on, cheers and jests through the trials and tribulations of the Rabbits on the field. However, do not be surprised if the stadium becomes a hotspot during warmer and dryer evenings throughout the summer.


Access 4

You will not find directions off the main road to Municipal Stadium – a common feature in many minor and collegiate wood bat leagues. Fortunately, GPS takes you directly to the stadium from US-31. The parking is free on the residential streets that are decked out nicely with flowers and team banners. There are additional parking lots in the back of the outfield walls across the street.


Return on Investment 3

Single-game tickets start at $8/$10 for lawn seats and $11/$13 for dugout seats. A ticket for a Wednesday night game costs $18 and includes a voucher for a hot dog and soda or beer. VIP Tables are available for $180 ($45 a person) and include a buffet offering burgers, hot dogs, brats, and soda. The two main price points are affordable and when you include the money saved on parking and the cost of food should make many customers return to KMS for a game shortly.


A hot dog or bunch. of fries cost $3.50 and a tenderloin sandwich is $8. The caps sell for around $29, while beer is $7 for a 12-once domestic. Parking is free for the games and plentiful due to the attendance numbers, but arrive early to secure a spot close to the stadium.


Extras 3

The team earns a star for the great-looking logo, team colors, and retro uniforms that are now a classic look to a new generation of millennial baseball fans.


A second star is for the beer garden and tent bar in the left field corner, a popular destination for Thursday and weekend games, and a great sport for socialization.


The final extra star is for the design and modern comforts of the ballpark that is not your typical summer collegiate facility. A wraparound concourse, children’s play area, outfield lawn seating, and a beer garden make it an impressive facility not only for the league but in the state of Indiana.


Final Thoughts

Kokomo Municipal Stadium has already raised the bar for new and modern collegiate wood bat league stadiums. Instead of taking a former minor league stadium and retrofitting it for 21st-century comforts, this palace was built from the ground up. KMS has all of the ballpark flare and pizzazz that one would expect for a night out with friends and family.

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

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