September 8, 2003
The Lake Elsinore Diamond ballpark is another of these new minor league parks that are sprouting up--they seat around 6000, have a pleasing architectual design, and enough diversions to entertain all ages. It's very similar to the ballpark in San Bernardino (home of the Inland Empire 66'ers, also in the California League) that we checked out last year. For $8 we got great seats, three rows behind the home team dugout on the third base side. Other seats range from $5 - $7, and there's not a bad seat anywhere.
On this night, the Storm were playing the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes, farm team of the California Angels. The star player of the Storm is Josh Barfield, son of former major leaguer Jesse Barfield. One of the great things about minor league parks is that kids can get close to the players for autographs. My son was hoping to get Barfield's, but had to settle for three of the other players. We just missed seeing Padres reliever Trevor Hoffman who would be pitching the next day on an injury rehab assignment.
Besides the game, there are a number of other attractions for the kids, including a rock climbing wall, a speed pitch booth, and, apparently the most favorite of all, a nice grassy slope to roll down. The night we went, there was also an excellent 15 minute fireworks show after the game.
The food is the usual ball park fare with prices slightly lower than the major league parks. The Diamond Club, a restaurant out towards right field, was closed the night we were there for a private party, and as a result, all the other food concession stands were crowded and slow--bad planning for a near sellout game.
Parking ($5) was a bit of a hassle as well. There are two lots: a nearby paved lot for the season ticket holders and a large gravel lot across the street from the ballpark for the rest of us. There are only two entrances/exits from the gravel lot, and the main one was impossible to exit from until all the season ticket holders had left their lot. If you use the gravel lot, park near the further exit and you'll get out a lot quicker.
Like all teams now, the Storm have a goofy mascot, a furry green dog named Thunder. He had some funny antics, danced a lot like the Phillie Phantic, and got the crowd going when the Storm were rallying in the 8th inning. But my favorite moment came when he nudged a couple of bratty kids off the top of the dugout with his giant feet in the best W.C. Fields "Go away, boys, you bother me" tradition.
From journal Lake Elsinore - Class A Baseball and Outlet Stores