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  • Bart Wilhelm

QU Stadium – Quincy Gems


Photos by Bart Wilhelm, Stadium Journey


Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.14

QU Stadium 1800 Sycamore Street Quincy, IL 62301

Year Opened: 1938 Capacity: 2,500

 

Gems in Quincy

In 2009, the summer collegiate Prospect League was formed in the Midwest. Several teams from the former Central Illinois Collegiate League joined in the inaugural season including the Quincy Gems. The Gems play in historic QU (Quincy University) Stadium, which they share with the University’s baseball team. In their time in the Prospect League, the Gems have won three league championships.

Food & Beverage 3

While there is no real signature item, QU has all of the traditional ballpark fares for a reasonable price. A standard hot dog is $3.50. A hamburger is $6. BBQ Pork Sandwiches are $6.50. Bratwurst, Corn Dogs, Pretzels and Cheese, French Fries, and nachos are all in the same range.

A Sweet Treats window has a large variety of candy and candy bars plus cotton candy, funnel cake fries, ice cream sandwiches, and nutty sundae cones. Candy is $2 or less and the premium items are $3-$6.

Bottles of Pepsi products and lemonade, iced tea, and Gatorade are $3.50.

The beer selection is good. There are usually 8 different draft beers for $5 each (12 ounces, a dollar more for 16 ounces). The current selection is Blue Moon, Summer Shandy, Kona Big Wave, Space Dust IPA, Anti-Hero IPA, 312 Wheat, Killian’s Red, and Mango Cart.

16-ounce bottles of Budweiser, Bud Light, Busch Light, Miller Lite, Coors Light, and Michelob Ultra are $5, with a bucket of 5 going for $22. 24-ounce cans are $7.

There is also a bar stand that has vodka, whiskey, tequila, gin, and rum for $5 ($8 for a double). The top shelf is a tad more. Vizzy and Sonic Seltzers are $5.

The food stands are in the left field patio area. Since all of the concessions are down the line, it can get a bit crowded out there. There is also a beer stand beyond the first base seats.

Tuesdays are $2 special nights. Tickets, beers, hot dogs, and nachos are $2 each. This tends to bring in a fairly big crowd.

Atmosphere 4

QU was originally built in 1938. It’s been renovated over the years, but the original limestone wall around the park still exists. The wall goes around the entire block and also encompasses the football stadium next door. The infield is artificial turf while the outfield is natural grass.

The official seating capacity is 2,500. That includes about 1,500 chairbacks from base to base, seats all along the left field wall, and two group patio areas, one down each baseline. The seats are general admission, and for night games, the third base side tends to fill up first because the seats are in the shade. On Tuesday night, the seats tend to mostly fill up because of $2 tickets. This leads to a good crowd experience.

The scoreboard is in the right-center field. It has all the player information and a picture, but no video.

The mascot is an eagle named “Gem Bird” who works for the crowd and takes part in various between-innings promotions like “Race the Mascot.”

A very nice Wall of Honor is on the left field patio that honors local servicemen from past wars. The names are chiseled into granite.

Wall of Honor at QU Stadium, Photo by Bart Wilhelm, Stadium Journey


Neighborhood 3

QU is built in a residential neighborhood. So residential that foul balls often hit houses across the street. There are not any restaurants or bars within walking distance. If you drive a mile or so away, you’ll find the downtown area where there’s a good variety of eateries and a couple of breweries. I enjoyed the Quincy Brewing Company.

While there is a Holiday Inn and a few other hotels in Quincy, I found it quite a bit cheaper to stay in nearby Hannibal, Missouri, which was the home of Mark Twain. The whole town is a touristy homage to the author.

The area around the stadium feels very safe, and there is plenty of free street parking available in the general vicinity.

Fans 3

I had the good fortune to show up on $2 Tuesday night. This led to a fairly full house and a loud crowd experience. Every time the home team scored, the fans took notice. A large portion of them stayed until the end of the game.

Access 3

QU Stadium is located at 1800 Sycamore Street. It’s about 3 miles off of Interstate 172. There is no actual parking lot, but there is plenty of free street parking in the local vicinity. There are two gates, one at the home plate entrance, and one at the left field entrance. Note: the home plate entrance has a lot of stairs and is not handicap-accessible.

The only permanent bathrooms are down the left field line, so it can be a bit of a trek to get there. There are also two porta-potties down the first baseline that are beyond the private patio area.

Return on Investment 4

If you go on a Tuesday, tickets, beers, and a few items are $2. You can’t beat that. On any other day, general admission tickets are $8 ($2 off for seniors and children under 13). The front two rows of reserved box seats are $10. Food prices are very reasonable as are the drinks. Combine that with free parking and you have a very affordable game experience.

Extras 3

One point goes to the original limestone wall that surrounds the entire block. It’s a very nice aesthetic. Another point goes to the Wall of Honor in left field. It’s not uncommon to have a memorial to local heroes, but this one looks nice. Finally, a third point goes to the plastic chairback seats in general admission. Much more comfortable than metal or wooden benches.

Final Thoughts

The Gems have been part of the Prospect League since its inception 13 years ago. They’ve had on-field success and the crowds show up to support their team. The baseball community is alive and well in Quincy, Illinois.

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