Photos by Paul Baker, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 2.57
Robbie Mills Field
15 Eastman Rd.
Laconia, NH 03246
Year Opened: 2005
The franchise currently known as the Winnipesaukee Muskrats began play in the New England Collegiate Baseball League in 2000 as the Manchester (CT) Silkworms. The team was moved to Laconia, NH in 2010 and renamed the Muskrats. In 2016 the team was rechristened as the Winnipesaukee Muskrats to highlight the team’s location near the shores of New Hampshire’s largest lake and popular summer vacation destination.
The Muskrats play their home games at the Robbie Mills Memorial Sports Complex, which was created in honor of local boy Robbie Mills, who was murdered in 1998. Robbie was a huge sports fan who played basketball, baseball, and soccer. The town dedicated the local sports complex in his honor in 2005.
The Muskrats have qualified for the NECBL playoffs five times, reaching the championship series in 2011. Three Muskrat players have reached the Major Leagues.
Food & Beverage 3
There is a small concession stand in the rear of the press box building behind home plate. It serves a basic menu that is still pretty impressive for such a small stand. Hot dogs and hamburgers are cooked to order on a grill next to the building. Pizza slices from local favorite Sal’s Pizza are sold here as well. A good selection of snack items, including chips, popcorn, pretzels, assorted candy and ice cream novelties round out the menu.
Bottles of Coca-Cola products are also sold at Robbie Mills Field. There is no alcohol sold at this facility. Concession prices are affordable, and the quality is decent.
As you look around the small-town landscape of the Robbie Mills Sports Complex, you would not expect this to be the scene of an elaborate game day presentation. You would be correct in this assumption. And this is not a bad thing by any stretch of the imagination.
There’s a lot of room to roam here, and it’s put to great use by the many local youths who spend their evening running around the facility. It’s entertaining to watch the kids chase foul balls around the ball field. You can take a break from the action with a game of cornhole or a quick catch in the football field beyond the first base side of Robbie Mills Field.
There are some between-inning shenanigans for the youngsters (and the young at heart) throughout Muskrat games. Water balloon tosses, bubble jousts and more keep the younger fans involved, and the nightly 50/50 raffle keeps the adults occupied. Music and PA announcements are kept to a minimum and can hardly be considered intrusive. A small scoreboard in right field shows basic game information.
In this small town, it feels like everyone at the ballpark knows everyone else, and if you come to a Muskrats game from out of town, chances are you’ll soon find yourself in conversations with people throughout the park. The small-town vibe in Laconia is real.
Robbie Mills Field is located several miles away from downtown Laconia in a sparsely populated area of town. Thus, there is nothing in the immediate vicinity of the complex for visiting fans. However, if you widen your search you will find numerous attractions in the area.
Nearby Lake Winnipesaukee is the focal point of New Hampshire’s Lakes Region. Weir’s Beach is located on the western edge of the lake, and is well-developed with shops, restaurants and attractions for the whole family. As you would expect, water sports are abundant, with opportunities for sailing, kayaking and water skiing plentiful. The M/S Mount Washington cruises the lake daily.
Visiting fans looking to avoid the crowds of Weir’s Beach may seek out the Loon Center and Markus Wildlife Sanctuary in Moultonborough, or the Squam Lakes Natural Science Center, which operates nature cruises on the lake which provided the setting for the movie On Golden Pond. Fans of craft beer will find no shortage of options, including Twin Barns in Meredith or the Craft Beer Xchange in Laconia.
Beyond the immediate area of Laconia, the White Mountains offer a plethora of hiking, camping and other outdoor activities as well as numerous family-friendly tourist sites. The New Hampshire Motor Speedway hosts NASCAR races every summer. If your visit coincides with NASCAR race weekend, be prepared to compete with the incoming hordes for space.
The Muskrats annually rank at or near the bottom of the NECBL’s attendance rankings, averaging in the neighborhood of 200 fans per game annually. As mentioned earlier, there’s a real community feel to a game at Robbie Mills Field, as the crowd is made up largely of people with a connection to the team, either as host families, volunteers or benefactors of the team. This gives the fans in attendance a strong connection to the team and an intense rooting interest.
With the compact geographic footprint of the NECBL and the local roots of many players, it’s not unusual to see fans of the visiting teams in attendance as well.
The Robbie Mills Sports Complex is located near Route 106 in rural Laconia between Lake Winnisquam and Lake Winnipesaukee. The nearest Interstate, I-93, is about 20 minutes away. New Hampshire’s largest city, Manchester, is about an hour south of Laconia.
Parking is available in a large grassy lot across the street from the ball field. There is parking available closer to the field behind the concessions building, but these spots are reserved for fans requiring handicapped access. Also, since these spots are really close to the field, your windshields are in certain danger if parking here. It is recommended to take the walk and park across the street.
Seating is available on metal bleachers placed on either side of Robbie Mills Field. The views from these seats are good, and there are no nets to obstruct your view. Fans who prefer to bring their own chairs will find spots from which to catch the action at ground level all around the field. The issue with these spots is the fencing which will obstruct your view. Many fans will set up their own chairs on the large hill beyond the outfield fence.
There is plenty of room to move about the Robbie Mills Complex, and paved paths to make it easy to navigate the facility. There are small, but clean rest rooms located in the back of the press box building.
Return on Investment 5
Admission to a Muskrats game is a super-affordable five dollars for adults, with seniors and children 6-17 admitted for two dollars. Kids under 6 and active members of the military can enter without charge. All tickets are general admission. All fans are given a roster sheet with their ticket, which is in the shape of the team’s logo.
Parking is free of charge in the large grassy lot across the street from the ball field. Concessions are affordable and the quality is good. Overall, an evening at a Muskrats game is a most affordable entertainment option for northern New Hampshire sports fans, and a nice diversion from the touristy activities offered nearby.
There’s not a whole lot going on at Robbie Mills Field that can be considered extra. The park’s defining feature is the “Muskrat Monster,” an 18’ x 88’ wall that was erected in left field in homage to Fenway Park’s famous Green Monster. Original plans called for a party deck to be erected as part of the wall, but this feature has yet to come to fruition.
While you are not likely to stumble across Robbie Mills Field at the gateway to the White Mountains accidentally, if you find yourself in Laconia you won’t be disappointed. This is a relaxed, no-frills facility where the focus is on the field. 191 NECBL alumni have reached the Major Leagues. At this small town field, you may arrive as a stranger, but you’ll soon feel like you’ve been here your whole life.