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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

FIELDS OF DREAMS: Jay Littleton Ball Park, Ontario, California



Out in the hot, dusty, and industrial flatlands of the Inland Empire...in a neighborhood that's more barrio than middle america...this stadium rises like a mirage.  A throwback to another era, Jay Littleton Ball Park is a relic of a ballpark, perfectly preserved and lovingly maintained.  First the facts...

Stats
Year built: 1935
Surface: Grass
Construction cost: $20,000
Capacity: 2,500
Field dimensions: Left field: 347, Center field: 402 ft., Right field: 347
Home teams: California Angels (Pacific Coast League - Spring Training) 1937-1942; Ontario Orioles (Sunset League) 1947, Chaffey High School - present
Events attended: two games



An antique, wooden stadium with covered grandstand, the park now hosts only amatuer ball but it would be a mistake to say it's seen better days.  Step through the entrance and it's like going back in time.  Cozy and relaxing, the bleachers invite fans to sit back, relax and comisserate over a game.

It's such a perfect example of an old-time stadium that Hollywood has been a regular visitor here.  "The Babe," "A League of Their Own," and "The X-Files" have all used it as a set.

For wheelchairs, there are two spots reserved right behind home plate, although just about anywhere in the front row would accomodate one.  Tickets?  Not here, if they do charge admission to anything, they weren't at the tournament we attended.  Just walk right in.

Although there is a full-kitchen installed behind home plate...underneath the old press box...a taco truck sometimes sets up just outside the gate with delicious carne asada and chicken tacos plus some very good funnel cakes.  In fact, the night we were there we declared them the best funnel cakes we've ever had.  The tacos are $1.25 each, funnel cakes, $3.99.


If the taco truck isn't there, don't worry.  Go two blocks west on 4th Street to Mi Chula Linda for great tacos and burritos to go and take with you to the game.



The only downside to this beautiful ballpark is that no local minor league or college teams use it.  It would be perfect for a D-III team like La Verne to use, especially since their stadium is about to be torn down in the next few years.  The Long Beach Armada, taking a season off in a dispute with their landlord, should consider moving here where they could make an alliance with other Ontario pro teams like the Ontario Reign hockey team.  I know I'd be a regular here if someone like that would move in.




For now, come on over just about any Saturday night during baseball season and enjoy a game by some of the proud amatuers that now play here.  Grab some tacos and a funnel cake and you're set.


-Darryl
Copyright 2010 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved

8 comments:

  1. hi
    we would love to hold my daughters wedding here how do we get a hold of the person in charge thanks

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  2. I don't have any professional connection to the stadium. You would need to contact the City of Ontario's Parks and Recreation Department.

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  3. Great entry. You hit everything right on the head. This ancient ballpark is truly a gem. They had a near capacity crowd last night for the championship of the Little League Senior West Tournament. To be there at night in this old covered wooden stadium is an amazing feeling. It breathes baseball the way it was. It would be great for the Class A Rancho Cucamonga Quakes to leave their cute but plastic Loan Mart Field for one game and come play here.

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  4. Hi, great post. Any idea how I can find out when games are played here and who is playing?

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  5. I have the privilege to umpire here each summer and love this stadium.

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  6. I envy you, Mr. Gibbs. That would be a wonderful place to work.

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  7. I spend most of my weekends here umpiring travel baseball. It's a great place to watch a game and a lot of fun to work on.

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