Simmons Field - Lima Locos
Photos by Marc Viquez, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.00
Simmons Field 616 Heindel Ave Celina, OH 45822
Year Opened: 1960
Going Loco for Baseball in Lima
Click here for Simmons Field, home of the Kenosha Kingfish
The Lima Locos are charter members of the Great Lakes League, beginning as the Blues before adopting its current name in 1988. Since that time, the ball club has captured 5 championship titles and appeared in 6 championship series. The club has cemented itself among the best in the league and offers a rich tradition of history.
The Locos began to play at Simmons Field in 2008, a 500-seat venue located south of the Ottawa River and offering a small grandstand, concession stand, and a party suite down the third base foul line. There is even a train car that resides in the stadium for tours. It was renovated for the arrival of the club, including a new infield grass and dirt, fences moved back, blacktop put down behind the bleachers, crushed stone added to the warning track and new lights.
The ballpark was built in 1960 and is named after Al Simmons, a longtime American Legion coach who helped raise $15,000 to buy and install lights. The field fell into disrepair with dandelions littered across the infield, tall outfield grass, and old tires and other assorted junk behind the backstop. That is what the field looked like before the construction of the grandstands.
Food & Beverage 3
A giant grill sits next to the concession window and features locally-made grilled brats, hot dogs, and burgers. Fans order them at the window and are given a bun, which they take to the grilling area for their desired meat selection. A new twist on food service at the ball game. Other items on the menu include pizza slices, nachos, pretzels, popcorn, and candy. Pepsi and Budweiser products are available, and this might be the first ballpark where soda and beer are of equal value at $3.
Simmons Field has the appearance and characteristics of a local Little League complex. It is small and displays a bit cranky, but full of baseball-loving people. The main entrance is a small shed painted orange with a garage door that opens up to the ticket booth and merchandise table. In one corner are a collection of championship photos, memorabilia of past teams, and a rusted street sign of the former ballpark Industry Park.
There are eight rows of seats in the grandstands, which are constructed from cement blocks and metal. There are three of them that wrap around the backstop fencing. A wooden leaderboard displays the league standings and multi-colored flags displaying the Lima Locos name. They are bleachers that have some wear and tear on them and could use wrapping to cover up the open space–one that can feature photos and the history of the Locos club.
Down the left field line is a train cart on display, and added in 2021 along with a party suite area that provides additional seating for the game. The train is usually open for a look inside but was closed during our visit to the game. The press box sits atop the concession stand and features a slim window looking onto the natural grass field.
The attention is mainly on the game on hand, with fans wearing the colors blue and orange. There are not a lot of promotions, loud announcements, or typical minor-league antics at the game. A small, comfortable baseball atmosphere that seems about right here in Lima.
Lima, Ohio, has a population of 35,000 plus residents and is located off I-75–about an equal distance between Toledo and Dayton (75 miles each). There are several local restaurants to visit in town, including Kewpee Hamburger which has been in existence since 1928, and one newer, Happy Daz Burger. They are cheap eats and ideal with the kids.
A few more places to dine include Beer Barrel Pizza and Grill (home to its style of pizza), Milano Cafe (Italian cuisine), Old City Prime (steaks, seafood, and chops), and Outskirts Brew Co. and Dive (microbrewery).
Lima draws well and will even travel to see their Locos on the road for championship games. The stands are full of fans young, who wear team jerseys, t-shirts, and caps. The grandstand and additional tables and seating are full at the first pitch, and much of the attention is on the field. This baseball-savvy audience has been used to quality baseball for some time.
There is parking in a lot and on the street. The stadium is located in a mixed residential and business area a few miles from the interstate exit. The parking lot is ample, but oversized crowds might force people to park elsewhere. The main entrance near the concession stand is busiest during games.
Return on Investment 3
The price of an adult ticket is $5, while children and seniors pay $3. The parking is free, and burgers, hot dogs, brats, beers, and soda are all $3. The price of soda might be the only expensive item at the concession stand, while a can of Bud or Bud Light is inexpensive at $3. Merchandise was limited and almost out of stock due to the time of year.
The ballpark collects a few additional points for locally made hot dogs, brats, and burgers. They earn another point for the wooden standing board and collection of team photos and memorabilia. A third point is for the single train that stands on a set of railroad tracks on the 3rd base side of the ballpark
Simmons Field is not a perfect ballpark and could use a few more touches to enhance its image. However, it’s ideal for the Great Lakes League, which utilizes stadiums around 500-600 in size to provide an atmosphere that should be most welcoming to many who are fans of the game. Fan support, affordable tickets, and friendly staff are all major points.