Dow Diamond – Great Lakes Loons
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A Diamond Indeed
Dow Diamond, opened in 2007 as the home of the Great Lakes Loons. The team is the Low A affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers, and a member of the ballpark-rich Midwest League.
The stadium is beautiful, ideally located, comfortable, and unique. If you love minor league baseball, then you’ll love your time at Dow Diamond.
Some significant MLB players have played at Dow Diamond in its relatively short history including Clayton Kershaw, Joc Pederson, Carlos Santana, and Dee Gordon.
Food & Beverage 5
Dow Diamond provides a great variety and a high quality of concession items throughout the ballpark. Whether you are looking for classic ballpark fare, slightly elevated cuisine, or a local brew you’ll find it at a Loons game.
Near the main entrance you’ll find several stands called “Great Lakes Grill,” which is where you’ll find the typical ballpark favorites. The 1/3 pound gourmet burger ($6.50) is especially good. You’ll also find hot dogs ($3.75), brats ($4.50), fish & chips ($6.50), and pretzels with cheese ($4.25). More options are available along the inside of the concourse at stand alone carts including gyros, cheesesteaks, BBQ, sausages, and a mac & cheese stand.
Pepsi products are available in two sizes ($4.75 and $4). Coffee and hot chocolate are available for the cooler nights ($2.50). Additional non-alcoholic options include bottled water ($3.25), Ocean Spray juice ($3.25), and SoBe products ($3.25).
Beers can be found at most concession stands, but your best bet is to head to the stand outside section 113 which sells Michigan microbrews in 20 ounce souvenir cups ($7), or bottles ($5).
The Loons have added a new outside bar area to Dow Diamond in 2015 known as “The Cove.” It is located along the third base side of the ballpark and offers cocktails, wine, and beer in a shaded area with couches.
If you like to plan out your food before you go, check out the full list of concessions on the Loons website.
A new promotion for 2015 is the popular Sunday kids eat free, where kids 12 and under get a hot dog, chips, and a 16 ounce drink. If you’re traveling to the ballpark with a family, then consider going on Sunday to take advantage of this promotion. Otherwise, try a local beer like the 42nd Parallel I.P.eh and something from the BBQ stand.
Dow Diamond is a great minor league ballpark. Everything is set up for fans to have a wonderful time at the game.
This is both a large park, and a cozy park. The concourses are wide, and the leg room in the seats is a little better than average. There are two fireplaces found behind the home plate area and two fire pits in the outfield concourse. Both are fantastic for cool summer nights, or downright cold spring night games.
The park is also somewhat of a technological marvel. For one, there is access to wi-fi for all fans throughout the stadium. More impressive though is that the scoreboard is entirely powered by a solar panel farm beyond the right field fence, and it’s not exactly a little scoreboard (17×35 foot LED display).
There’s a nice play area for the kids down the right field line (“Lou E’s Lookout”), with plenty of space for parents who are still interested in keeping one eye on the game and one eye on their son or daughter. The berm is very popular and cost effective and tends to fill up, but not so much so that fans will feel cramped.
A great minor league baseball experience is really enhanced when there is a great mascot. In this case you have Lou E. Loon, who does a fantastic job. He moves non-stop throughout the game, interacting with kids and adult fans alike. In addition, the Loons added a secondary mascot in 2012 named Rall E. Camel. He was unveiled on opening day in 2012. He’s sort of the loose cannon mascot for the club.
The promotions team is one of the best in baseball, another key to a successful minor league experience. They keep the ideas coming throughout the year to keep the regular fans entertained. The team had the Zingerman’s Customer Service Training team come in prior to the 2015 season, showing their continued commitment to making the experience as good as it can be for the fans.
Feel free to bring a foldable chair or blanket and sit on the berm. If you like the comfort a stadium seat, then shoot for section 111, above the Loons dugout, but where you’ll also be able to enjoy the shade on a hotter day.
Dow Diamond is found in downtown Midland, just blocks from several bars and restaurants. Diamond Jim’s is a good place to stop before or after a game. They have a large menu of burgers, sandwiches, pasta, seafood, steaks, salads, and a good beer selection, including some local options.
Journey’s Coffee House is a good stop for a cup of Joe as well. They occasionally feature live music, have good coffee, and a nice variety of bakery menu items.
Another interesting option is the Cafe Zinc, found in the H Hotel. Cafe Zinc serves food inspired by the periodic table in a French bistro style.
Finally, if you’re looking for solid greasy pizza, then shoot for Pizza Sam’s. It will bring you back to your college days, and they have TVs so you can stay up with any sporting events of the day.
Dow Gardens provides a relaxing a beautiful way to spend a summer afternoon. The 110-acre park has a botanical garden and a great butterfly exhibit in April.
The H Hotel is within walking distance of Dow Diamond if you are looking for luxury accommodations. Also nearby is an Econo Lodge motel with rates starting around $55 a night.
The spectators at Dow Diamond aren’t rabid fans by any means, but they are interested in the game itself, doing a bit of socializing, and mostly just having fun. It’s a great group of fans.
In the team’s inaugural season at Dow Diamond saw the Loons average just under 5,000 fans per game, good for fifth in the Midwest League. There has been a steady decline in attendance since 2007, and the Loons are now in the bottom half of the league’s attendance average, drawing about 3,100-3,300 fans per game.
There is plenty of parking near the stadium at just $4 a spot. You may be able to find free street parking downtown if you’re willing to walk a few blocks, just be aware of signage, as many of the spots have a three hour limit on the parking spot.
The concourses are wide and easy to navigate, and I found myself doing a few laps around the stadium, as it is very walkable.
The bathrooms are bigger than expected, and immaculately clean.
There is dial-a-ride bus service, provided by DART, although your best option is probably to walk or drive to Dow Diamond.
Return on Investment 5
A trip to Dow Diamond is very affordable, and well worth it for the overall experience.
Tickets are only $6.50 for lawn seats, and $9.50 for reserved seats. This is a great deal given how beautiful this stadium is, and the overall atmosphere and entertainment it provides. When you add in parking and good concessions, you are getting a great value at this ballpark. In fact, I would easily pay more for this experience.
I’ll award one extra point for the Loon Loft, the team gift shop which is two levels and has everything you may want, and again with reasonable prices.
The second extra point goes to the green efforts of using solar panels to power the scoreboard. I am not sure why this ballpark is not yet LEED certified by the U.S. Green Business Council, but I would think they must be well on their way.
An additional extra point for the water bottle fill up stations that you’ll find at Dow Diamond. No need to get gouged on bottled water on a hot day.
Be sure to meander through the Dow Chemical Company Founder’s Garden just outside the stadium. It’s a pleasant walk for either before or after the game.
Dow Diamond provides one of the best ballpark experiences in minor league baseball, and it is clear that the Loons organization is continuing to make strides to maintain and improve that experience. It is natural for fans to lose some interest and attendance to fall off after the first five years or so after opening a new ballpark. Hopefully the local fans will remember to appreciate this jewel, and it remains a destination for ballpark enthusiasts around the country.