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  • Matt Finnigan

Sam Suplizio Field – Grand Junction Rockies


Photos by Matt Finnigen, Stadium Journey


Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.14

Sam Suplizio Field 12 St and North Ave Grand Junction, CO 81501


Year Opened: 1949

Capacity: 10,000

 

Getting it Right in Grand Junction

Minor league baseball should provide fans with a fun experience in a pleasant atmosphere at a reasonable cost. The Grand Junction Rockies achieve all of these aims, enabling fans on Colorado’s Western Slope to enjoy short-season, Class-A, Pioneer League baseball in a naturally magnificent setting. The team’s parent club, the Colorado Rockies, purchased the Casper (WY) Ghosts in 2011 and relocated the team to Grand Junction’s Suplizio Field before the 2012 season. Since then, Grand Junction has served as a first stop for several players who advanced to play Major League Baseball, such as David Dahl, Jon Gray, Kyle Freeland, and Ryan McMahon.

The ballpark is part of the city’s 42-acre Lincoln Park, which also features a 9-hole golf course, an outdoor swimming pool, picnic shelters, a playground, and horseshoe pits. Colorado Mesa University sits just across U.S. 6 from Suplizio Field. CMU’s NCAA Division II baseball team also uses Suplizio Field for its home games and its football team plays adjacent to Suplizio Field, at neighboring Ralph Stocker Stadium. Notably, Suplizio Field has hosted the National Junior College World Series every year since 1958.

Suplizio Field sits in the shadow of the Grand Mesa, the world’s largest flattop mountain at approximately 500 square miles. Grand Mesa provides a stunning backdrop for the Rockies’ home games, as well as a key part of the team’s primary logo. Before the Rockies’ inaugural season, Suplizio Field received $8.3 million in renovations that included new bleachers on the stadium’s first base side, a new press box, and a new wheelchair-accessible mezzanine section. These renovations enhanced the experience at Suplizio without compromising its many positive attributes.

Food & Beverage 4

Suplizio Field has high-quality food and drink options. Although the fare is what most people would expect from a sporting event, it is fresh and delicious. Hot dogs ($4), Polish dogs ($5), hamburgers ($5), cheeseburgers ($6), and grilled chicken sandwiches ($5) can all be complemented by a side of French fries ($3), which are actually thinly sliced strips of starchy perfection and a must-try for anyone attending a game in Grand Junction. Pepsi products are offered, with a souvenir cup of soda costing $5 with $2 refills. The Rockies also have an ice cream stand, where soft-serve vanilla and huckleberry ice cream are available in mini-helmets for $5.

The Rockies have a small concession stand, the Rockaritaville Cantina, on the concourse beneath the right field grandstand where fans can enjoy limited Mexican fare. Nachos ($7), burritos ($7), and tacos ($6) are offered along with margaritas ($6) and Estrella Jalisco beer ($4).

Beer lovers will appreciate Suplizio Field’s selection and prices. Fans can enjoy 16-ounce draft beers for just $4, including not only Budweiser products, but also the Rockies’ house brew, GJ Brew; Goose Island IPA; and the local Palisade Brewing Company’s Dirty Hippie wheat beer.

Atmosphere 4

The Rockies have created a very pleasant atmosphere at Suplizio Field. The team’s mascot, a coyote named “Corky,” interacts with fans throughout the game. The team also stirs fans’ interest by designating an opposing player as the “Beer Batter;” if that player strikes out, fans enjoy $2 beers for the ensuing 10 minutes.

Seats along the first baseline offer not only the best views, but some protection against the sun during late afternoon and early evening games. The recently built press box towers over the stands and provides ample shade. The Rockies have extended the protective netting along each baseline but fans in the stands can watch pitchers warm up in bullpens in the left field (visitors) and right field (home) corners. Some of the metal bleachers have seat backs.

To access the dugouts from the teams’ respective clubhouses, players must walk across the concourse. This enables fans to obtain autographs from and take photos with the players before and after each game.

Neighborhood 3

Suplizio Field sits along a busy, commercial corridor near both downtown Grand Junction and Colorado Mesa University. Fans can park next to Suplizio Field and enjoy the rest of Lincoln Park before a game with a picnic, a round of golf, pickleball, tennis, or swimming.

Downtown Grand Junction offers a wide variety of dining options just a five-minute drive from the ballpark. Pablo’s Pizza and the Rockslide Brewery offer good food along Main Street in downtown. Several hotels are also located downtown, including Marriott’s Fairfield Inn and Springhill Suites.

Fans 3

While the crowds at Suplizio Field are not large, they are loyal and engaged. The stadium has capacity of approximately 10,000 and crowds range between 2,000 and 3,000.

Access 3

With free, close, abundant parking, fans should plan to drive to Suplizio Field. Fans using a navigation system to travel to the ballpark should note that parking is behind center field, although iPhones will direct fans to the home plate entrance (where there is no parking). The stadium does not display obvious signage to direct fans where to park.

The local Grand Valley Transit does have a bus stop on 12th Street for fans wanting to take mass transit.

Return on Investment 4

A night at Suplizio Field is a great value. Tickets are available at either $11 for a club seat behind home plate or $9 for a reserved seat along either baseline. Parking is free and concession prices are quite reasonable.

Extras 3

The Rockies offer high-quality promotional items. On one night, all fans received Kyle Freeland bobbleheads and free, post-game fireworks. Players from both teams are accessible, gladly signing autographs and posing for photos with fans after the game. The Rockies also provide free game programs with rosters and photos.

Fans should consider a late-season visit to Grand Junction for a game. Palisade, Colorado, is just a 10-minute drive east of Grand Junction and is an agricultural hub where some of the best peaches in the country can be found, beginning in August.

Final Thoughts

The Rockies work very hard to provide fans with a great experience, and it shows. A night at Suplizio Field promises a fun time and beautiful views for even a casual baseball fan. With an abundance of outdoor activities in and around Grand Junction, Suplizio Field is a summertime highlight for fans on Colorado’s Western Slope.

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