Photos by Marc Viquez, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.57
Prasco Park 6125 Commerce Ct Mason, OH 45040
Year Opened: 2008 Capacity: 2,400
Prasco Park: Baseball's Best Kept Secret
Prasco Park was created as a ballpark where the community could gather and a facility that could host amateur baseball up to the college level. The ballpark also was envisioned to be the premier destination for amateur baseball in the country.
It sits on the campus of Prasco Laboratories in Mason, Ohio, a northern suburb of Cincinnati. Phil Arington was the mastermind behind its creation and conceived the idea as a throwback to another era of the sport where communities had a municipal stadium to host barnstorming teams in the 1930s and 1940s.
He also teamed up with local Cincinnati brands, Skyline Chili, LaRosa’s Pizza, and Montgomery Inn to sponsor certain nights during the summer. The idea worked as 50,000 to 60,000 visit the stadium throughout the year.
The Cincinnati Spikes 12u and 16u ball clubs are the main tenants at Prasco Park and have been in operation since 1990, well before the ballpark’s construction. Their mission is to create, through Christian influence, the premier amateur baseball environment in the nation physically and spiritually for all the players and coaches, along with their families.
However, fans are treated to numerous teams that have included the Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League All-Star Game, PBR Top Prospect games, East Coast Pro, Perfect Game Ohio, and the 16u Ascendant Baseball Classic. The stadium hosts the three-day Big East Baseball Tournament, along with various games from local collegiate teams. The Cincinnati Reds used it as an alternative spring training site during the pandemic in 2020, albeit without fans in attendance.
The ballpark is known to many for free admission for parking, tickets, and concession items. It offers inflatable rides for the children and features an impressive three-story sky view deck in the right field for a major league baseball view of the diamond. To say that it’s Cincinnati’s best-kept secret, might be an understatement; this might be the nation’s best-kept secret in baseball.
Food & Beverage 4
The ballpark offers free food and drink to all guests, and there is no limit to the number of times you can wait in line for purchase. The concession stand is behind the sky view deck, and fans can choose from cheeseburgers, hot dogs, cheese-filled pretzel bites, potato chips, and candy. They can wash it down with generic soda pop in various flavors. There is also soft-serve ice cream in chocolate, vanilla, and orange near the main grandstand.
All of what I mentioned is free of charge. Yes, it is all complimentary to all fans at every game. No matter how many hot dogs or pretzel bites you desire, they are free of charge. It does not include the special nights where Montgomery Inn offers barbecue pork sandwiches and chips, LaRosa’s pizza slices, and Chick-fil-A sandwiches–all are free of charge.
If you are looking for a beer, your best bet is to visit 16 Ton Brewing Company a couple of miles away before the game. You will never find an alcoholic beverage at the ballpark.
There is a lot to take in at Prasco Park from its free admission, three-story sky deck that features an old-school Longines clock, inflatable rides for the kids, groups of people walking around the concourse, lines of people waiting for food, and an all-around good vibe.
The sky deck is a unique feature at a stadium of this size and offers two levels of seating, plus a covered area with tabletop seating and flat-screen televisions. Fans are afforded an amazing view of the ball field from the right-field corner, and there are even two seats from old Yankee Stadium and Texas Stadium.
The grandstand behind home plate was off-limits to family and friends of the four college teams in the tournament but usually opened for business during all games. Many guests line up along the first base side for a glimpse of the action along the fence, but sightlines were limited from this perspective.
It probably didn’t matter to the youngest fans who found their entertainment on the giant inflatable rides on the grassy area. Swarms of children wait in line for a chance to climb, slide, or jump up and down in one of the three blow-up rides. There was also a wiffle ball field for older children to test their skills.
Tents and tables are set up for guests to sit down and enjoy their food, and a couple of cornhole sets are occupied throughout the evening’s contest. There is also a large group of volunteers who help out with any questions one would have during the game.
Mason, Ohio, is known for the home of Kings Island amusement and water park, the Lindner Family Tennis Center that houses the Western and Southern Open, and the Great Wolf Lodge indoor water park and resort. These tourist destinations attract massive numbers of visitors to the northeast suburb of Cincinnati.
A few miles away from the ballpark is 16 Lots Brewing Company, with multiple craft beers, plus Habanero Latina American Fare and pizza and salads from Mad Monks located inside the brewery. There is still more pizza at Two Cities Pizza located in the old City Hall building that was constructed in 1939. The Mason Grill, Firebirds Wood Fire Grill, and Phonecian Taverna are also other options during your visit.
Downtown Cincinnati is a short ride, and must-visits would be a Reds game at Great American Ballpark, the American Sign Museum, and the Cincinnati Museum Center.
There was an over-capacity crowd for the game, but many were not there for the game itself. Yes, the ones in the sky view, were focused on the ball game. However, the main objective is to gather the community for a fun night out with friends and family. That has been accomplished quite effectively at Prasco Park.
The one con against the ballpark is the viewing areas. Fans have access to the main grandstand during all games in a non-covid year, but only friends and family were allowed to watch the game from behind the plate at this game.
That is fine since the view from the sky deck is a perfect spot to watch the game from. However, if you have trouble walking, this could be problematic. Also, there is no access or viewing area down the left-field side of the stadium, and the view from the first base side is limited in many sports.
Return on Investment 5
It might be the best deal in baseball at any level in the country. Tickets, parking, and concessions are all free. The food is served hot, the drinks are cold, and the ice cream is delicious. The little ones are entertained by the inflatable rides. If you are with the family, this is the place to be without breaking the wallet.
Prasco Park earns a point for its sky view deck seats in right field that features an old-school Longines clock. The second point is for the free concessions and admission to all home games. A third point is towards the family-entertainment and community gathering aspect. One cannot fault themselves for having fun during a game,