Rent One Park – Southern Illinois Miners
Photos by Chris Patton, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.71
Rent One Park 1000 Miners Dr. Marion, IL 62959
Year Opened: 2007
Fun for Everyone at Rent One Park
Rent One Park in Marion, Illinois is home to the Southern Illinois Miners of the independent Frontier League. The stadium opened on May 29, 2007, as the Miners defeated the Evansville Otters with over 6,300 fans in attendance. In their inaugural season, the Miners set Frontier League attendance records and continue to draw good crowds to the ballpark near the intersection of I-57 and Illinois Route 13.
Rent One Park has 3,200 chair seats (with cup holders) and lawn seating for over 2,000. Additional seating is available in two picnic gardens. The Budweiser Bullpen Bar-n-Grille has picnic table seating for 300, while the Rent One Picnic Garden beyond the outfield walls seats another 500 fans. The park also has 14 suites and a banquet facility.
EDITOR'S Note: The Southern Illinois Miners folded at the end of the 2021 season.
Food & Beverage 4
There are four concession stands in Rent One Park. The stands offer all the ballpark staples, but they take it to the next level by offering them several different ways. For example, Nathan’s hot dog is $3.50, but for $0.50 more, you can get a chili cheese dog, salsa dog, or cheese dog. French fries are $3, while garlic or chili cheese fries are $3.50. The garlic fries aren’t the same quality as those at a San Francisco Giants game but are enjoyable.
The variety continues with five different versions of nachos, ranging in price from $3.25 to $6. At the main concession stands, regular soda is $2.75, while a large is $4. Bottles of Pepsi products sell for $3.25. Draft beers are $3.75 and bottled beers are $4.75. The Budweiser Bullpen Bar-n-Grille down the right-field line also offers a wide variety of food and drink. In this location, you can dine on several different burgers or chicken sandwiches, chicken wings, and sausages. Draft beers listed are Bud, Bud Light, Michelob Ultra, and 312. For a $0.75 savings, Natural Light drafts are also available.
At freestanding carts along the concourse, three different types of cheesesteaks and Italian sausage with peppers are grilled up and sold for $6. Leinenkugel’s and Redd’s drafts are listed, as well. For dessert, one item that is recommended is the funnel cake fries. The $4 treat might seem more at home at the county fair than a ballpark but is worth trying.
Rent One Park is still a new facility at just a few years old and remains in great shape. As we walked into the stadium, the team staff handed us a free replica jersey and game program. The program is a small magazine or newspaper but is very informative. There had been some rain in the area before the game, but ushers walked with fans to their seats and wiped them down with a towel before anybody sat down. The concourse is wide open and covered in most areas, in case of rain.
At the end of the concourse down the left-field line is a kids’ play area with six inflatables. This is right near the lawn seating, so parents can keep one eye on the game and one eye on their kids playing in a bounce house. The team’s name is a tribute to the history of coal mining in southern Illinois. The concourse walls feature black and white photos of local coal miners from years past.
Along with the miner mascot, Big John is a canary mascot that celebrates runs by dancing on the dugout with one of the team’s Diamond Girls, who helped out with promotional contests. Rent One Park’s playing surface is Sportexe Turf. While this takes away from the charm for baseball, it allows several other events such as football, concerts, and pro-wrestling to take place throughout the year. The bullpens are behind the right-field fence.
Behind and above the bullpens are the scoreboard, video screen, and several advertising panels. One of the advertisements is for Pitt Lite, the official mining light of the ball club. Their advertisement includes a large mining helmet light that is turned on during the game.
A new exit off of Interstate 57 essentially leads you right to the Rent One Park parking lot. The stadium is set back from IL Route 13, the main thoroughfare in Marion that leads to Carbondale, home of Southern Illinois University. Route 13 has been developed significantly since the early 1990s. The road now features a mall, numerous big box stores, chain restaurants, and hotels. 17th Street BBQ is one of the closest restaurants to Rent One Park. The restaurant has been featured on the Food Network and Travel Channel. The menu features a wide variety of appetizers, sandwiches, and platters. The pulled pork sandwich is big and filling and hushpuppies are a welcome sight as a side item. The bar features several local selections from Big Muddy Brewing out of Murphysboro, Illinois.
Along with Southern Illinois Salukis sports, Miners baseball has become a source of pride for the folks in and around Marion. The success and stability of the team have endeared the Miners to the community. While fans aren’t coming out in the record numbers of the opening season anymore, there are still plenty of excited and knowledgeable folks attending games in team gear. That is not always the case with independent baseball.
Parking is available for $3 in a spacious lot just outside the main stadium gates. You should have no trouble getting in and out of the lot. Keep an eye peeled for fans that are staying at one of the nearby hotels and walking back after the game. Rent One Park features plenty of clean, large restrooms with no waiting in line.
Return on Investment 4
General Admission tickets sell for $7, Box Seats sell for $10 in advance ($2 extra on the day of game), and Club Seats sell for $14 in advance ($1 extra on game day. Tickets and parking are comparable with other independent sports franchises. My meal of Polish sausage, garlic fries, and a regular soda was a fair deal at $10.75.
On the outfield wall is a sign honoring former Miner, Joey Metropolous. The ninth-round draft pick of the Toronto Blue Jays in 2004 became a fan favorite in Marion for his home run power and had his jersey retired in 2014.
Nearly every Miners game has some sort of promotion or special theme. The game I attended was on the first Saturday of the college football season. Much of the night featured players using college fight songs as their walk-up music. Some players represented their alma maters, but others just had a school and fight song assigned to them. It was a nice tie-in to what was going on in the sports world that day.
Baseball remains king in southern Illinois. While the Miners will never replace the St. Louis Cardinals in the hearts of area residents, Rent One Park has become a destination for local sports fans.