Wednesday, June 19, 2013

FIELDS OF DREAMS: LoanMart Field, Rancho Cucamonga, California

LoanMart Field is the home of the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes, the single A minor league affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers.   Opened in 1993, it’s a suburban ballpark located on the southern edge of Rancho Cucamonga, California…close to the Ontario city limit.  The name of the team comes from the frequent earthquakes that hit the area.

You’ve probably seen it…as the closest minor league ballpark to Los Angeles, it sees a great deal of filming from Hollywood.
Here are the stats…
Year opened: 1993
Surface: Grass
Construction cost: $20 million
Capacity: 6,588
Field dimensions: Left field – 326 ft.; Center field – 373 ft.; Right field – 297 ft.
Home teams: Rancho Cucamonga Quakes 1993-present
Events attended: dozens of games

The first big change for 2013 is the name. An awful naming rights name, you see it up above but it had such a cool original name that I will from this point on only refer to it by that name. The Epicenter fit the entire theme of the team. It is a very nice stadium that just misses being a top-tier single A stadium by a couple of flaws in design.  It’s situated with some very good views of the nearby San Gabriel and San Bernardino mountain ranges but also has the ugly backside of an adjacent shopping center beyond the outfield wall.
The seating bowl consists of one deck bisected with an aisle that separates the lower field level seats from the upper view section just above them.  There are also about a dozen enclosed suites on the top level surrounding the press box that is separate from the main seating area.  Bleachers are added to the area along the left field foul line and a restaurant with its own seating area is near the right field foul pole.  There is no outfield seating.
The design flaws are a closed concourse…you can’t see the game action when you go to the snack bar…and the long route wheelchair users must take to their seats. 
The park entrance is directly behind home plate, with another separate entrance around first base for season ticket holders.  Wheelchair users enter the seating area at either end of the seats in right or left field.  If you have tickets behind home plate, that is a fairly long route to get there.  Ticket prices run from $6 to $13 or you can rent a suite for $400 (works out to about $35 a person for 12 people). 
Buying tickets here pose no problems for wheelchair users.  The games rarely sell out, so feel free to go to the box office before the game.  Otherwise, call (909) 481-5000 and ask for accessible tickets.  They keep your preferences on file so the next time you call and give your phone number, they’ll usually respond with “you want the same seats you had last time and would you like to use the same credit card?” saving you a huge amount of time buying the tickets.
There are no bad seats here and the game views are excellent.  At only $13, the most expensive seats, very close to home plate, come with waiter service and free backrubs from Tremor, the Quakes’ mascot.
Food choices are mostly the regular ballpark fare consisting of hot dogs, pizza, and burgers.  There is also a good dessert bar across from the gift shop behind home plate.  Beer selection is excellent on weekend games with a couple of very good microbrew bars on the concourse with excellent bartenders.  On lighter attended games, these stands are left closed and the selection of brews drops dramatically.  Beer prices are good here.
Public transit is almost non-existent with the closest bus service about a half mile away and train service over a mile away.  Parking is tight but manageable and relatively inexpensive.
A good park, excellent staff (one of the best), great fans, the best mascots in minor league baseball, highly entertaining, and great game action.  Over all, a very good place to watch a baseball game even if you do have to go a ways to get to your seats.

Copyright 2011 – Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved
Updated for 2013

1 comment:

  1. I watched a few games there when I was in Southern California. Great little stadium.