- Paul Hilchen
Volcanoes Stadium - Salem-Keizer Volcanoes
Photos by Paul Hilchen, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.86
Volcanoes Stadium 6700 Field of Dreams Way Keizer, OR 97307
Salem-Keizer Volcanoes website
Year Opened: 1997
A Volcano in the Pacific Northwest
Nicknamed "Oregon's Field Of Dreams," Volcanoes Stadium is the home of the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes, now part of the 4-team Mavericks Independent Baseball League. The team began operations in 1997, the same year the stadium opened. The organization was transferred from Bellingham and returned minor league baseball to Salem after an eight-year absence. The city's first professional team were the Salem Senators, who played from 1940-1965 under a few different names and affiliations.
The stadium has a capacity of 4,252, which at first glance seems like a lot considering the seats only go as far as the end of the dugout on the third base side. The bullpens for each team are on the field, as they are at Wrigley Field in Chicago. It is not the most advanced stadium out there although there have been upgrades recently including a large video board just beyond the left-center field fence. In 1999, the American Institute of Architects honored the ball club with a design award for the stadium.
The Volcanoes have been a very successful team since their inception, winning 5 NWL championships ('98, '01, '06, '07 & '08). The team also boasts several alumni that have reached the major leagues including Joe Nathan, Ryan Vogelsong, Pablo Sandoval, Tim Lincecum, and Buster Posey.
Food & Beverage 4
The food selections at Volcanoes Stadium are relatively standard stadium fare. Overall, the menu items here are less expensive than other sports venues, which is a definite plus these days. Hot Dogs and Burgers ($3 - $4), Soda (Pepsi products) $3 - $4, Beer $5 - $6, and so on. There are a few non-traditional baseball items available such as a Chicken Rice Bowl at the Asian Wok for $8, and Eruption Burrito at Cafe Ole for $8, or an SW Chicken Wrap at The Healthy Hut, also for $8. In the left field corner, there is the Lava Lounge, which opens at the top of the 2nd inning, where you can get mixed drinks and beer.
A game at Volcanoes Stadium is baseball at its most basic level, which is a good thing. Most teams will run special gimmicks to get fans in the door, and there's nothing wrong with that. The stadium has a very cozy feeling to it that is very refreshing. As I walked around the stadium, it was my perception that most people there knew each other. Even though the Salem-Keizer area is a decent size, it feels like a small town ballpark.
Volcanoes Stadium is adjacent to Interstate 5 on the north side of the Salem-Keizer area. The stadium is in Keizer proper, tucked in behind Keizer Station, a sizable shopping area. If the menu at the stadium doesn't interest you that much, Keizer Station has an Outback Steakhouse and a Panera Bread that might fit the bill.
Salem has many historical sites worth visiting while you're in the area. The State Capitol is a popular site to visit as well as the Willamette Heritage Center. The Willamette Heritage Center features a retrospective of the Mill that helped Salem thrive as well as a full history of the area. If you want an outdoor adventure, Detroit Lake is a popular spot about an hour southeast of Salem. The Oregon Coast is approximately an hour west, and Portland is about an hour north.
There is a small-town cozy feeling to the stadium. The game I attended was mildly attended. Some might see that as a negative, but the fans that were in attendance were very in tune with the on-field activities. The crowd was fairly loud for its size. I did not see a lot of the unruly fans you would see at other venues. Many fans were building memories with their families and just enjoying themselves. It was clear to me these fans were here for the love of the game, which in my time reviewing stadiums, I can't say I've seen that often.
Volcanoes Stadium is off of I-5 at Keizer Station. You have to weave yourself through the area, but it's not bad at all. There is a large parking lot, capable of accommodating a capacity crowd and then some. Inside there is plenty of room to maneuver about. The main thoroughfare is wide and can handle many fans at once. The bathrooms have plenty of room for all. There are plenty of spots for handicapped fans at the top of the box seat section.
Return on Investment 4
Single-game tickets range from $9 on the left field berm to $20 for the lower box seats. There are a couple of specialty seating sections, one being the 4Topps VIP seating. Four swivel seats with table, in-seat waiter service, and the best sightline in the stadium directly behind home plate for $120. The other is the Party Patio down the right field line. $900 will get you this area exclusive for large groups of up to 75 (additional tickets can be purchased for $12) with a private bartender. There is also an option to add a pregame meal. The stadium does have Skybox Suites. These are available on a 3-year lease and seat 12 in theater-style seating. I have to say that the value you get going to a Volcanoes game may or may not show it in dollars and cents, but the experience you get when attending makes it all worthwhile.
Souvenirs are about what you would find at other stadiums. Caps $22-$30, Hoodies $30-$39, balls $5, shirts $13 and up. You can also get MLB balls and caps ($6, $20). On the night of this review, it was Don Larsen night. Fans had a chance to get an autograph from the only man to throw a perfect game in the World Series. There is a Kids Area behind the right-field bleachers that has a batting cage, batting tee, a play structure, and a bounce house.
Parents should be cautious here because this area is not supervised. Crater, the Volcanoes mascot, invites the kids on the field for the 7th inning stretch to sing "Take Me Out To The Ballgame," and also races kids around the bases in between an inning. The big attraction for the 2017 season will be Eclipsefest. On August 21, Keizer, Oregon will be sitting in the path of a once in a lifetime total solar eclipse. The start time on that day will be in the morning and be the first-ever "eclipse delay" in baseball history. Fans on that day will receive commemorative sunglasses to wear during the delay.
If you are a person that goes to a baseball game purely for the love of baseball, this is the place for you.