Nelson W. Wolff Municipal Stadium – San Antonio Missions
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Missions Howl at the Wolff
Founded in 1888, the team that would become the San Antonio Missions was a charter member of the Texas League, one of the largest Double-A leagues in the minors. In their history the club has seen Hall of Famers Brooks Robinson, Ron Santo, Billy Williams, Joe Morgan, Mike Piazza, Pedro Martinez, and Dennis Eckersley take the field in San Antonio.
Currently a feeder club for the San Diego Padres, the Missions have been a force since day one of their existence. For nearly 25 years, the ball club has called Nelson W. Wolff Municipal Stadium home. In that time the Missions have won 21 division titles – the most recent in 2011 – and 13 league titles – with 2013 being the latest. The stadium has been a landmark in San Antonio since its inception, and is one of the most popular stops in the Texas League.
Food & Beverage 5
One of the great draws of minor league baseball is quite frankly the food you get the chance to consume at games. Across the country minor league parks go the extra mile when putting together menus, and the Wolff is no different. Here you have your staples, of course, such as hot dogs, peanuts, and Cracker Jack, but there are also standard items like hamburgers, ice cream, and corn dogs. These all range in price from $3-$9. These items are very affordable, and you could easily be satisfied with them.
But again, minor league baseball and food. At Missions games, you can go above and beyond the norm. There are three main concession stands, one on each baseline and one behind home plate, plus close to a dozen supplemental food kiosks and stands throughout the ballpark, all of which offer something delicious and different and beyond the norm. For example there is a fried dessert stand which offers churros, funnel cake, fried Twinkies, and fried Oreos, a grilled meat stand offering beef and chicken fajitas, and even a gourmet ice cream stand.
On the second level grandstand area, two additional stands feature local favorites Augie’s Barbed Wire Smokehouse and Luciano Pizzeria. Augie’s is known for its barbecue sandwiches, and the pared down menu at their stand is sure to delight any fans of Texas-style barbecue. Alternatively, the Luciano stand offers meatball subs and pizza by the slice – who wouldn’t enjoy a slice of pizza or a sub sandwich at a ball game?
San Antonio has a reputation as a fun town – residents love to have a good time, and there are always tons of reasons to celebrate throughout the year. It’s an atmosphere that permeates the town, and this good time vibe is one you definitely will pick up on at games at the Wolff.
There is a palpable energy in the stands at Missions games. In the main concourse level there are games, music is played, and kids run around and interact with the team’s mascots (more on them later) – there are a ton of things to keep people entertained in addition to the on-the-field action. No matter how the Missions are doing in the game, fans attending are guaranteed to have a good time.
A little forewarning for first-time visitors. The stadium was built in the 90s, and while the club and its owners have updated the stadium periodically, it still doesn’t have all the bells and whistles that newer stadiums do. You will still have a great time though.
San Antonio is a great town for tourists. Its downtown area is extremely popular, as it is home to the Alamo, the River Walk, Hemisfair Park, and the Alamodome. While Nelson W. Wolff Municipal Stadium is not located near downtown, it is easily accessible from there – the ballpark is located on the southwest side of town, just a stone’s throw from the legendary Lackland Air Force Base.
When looking for things to do before Missions games – especially during the dog days of summer – you can’t beat a trip to Sea World San Antonio. Visitors flock to this park to see Shamu, cool off in the waterpark, and scream at the top of their lungs on the park’s thrill rides. Sea World is 20 minutes northeast of the Wolff, and should be on your list of things to visit in S.A.
For a change of pace, if you want to get in a little shopping you can head over to Ingram Park Mall to get your fix. And for food, how about a taste of the bayou? Make sure to check out Acadiana Café to satisfy your catfish, gumbo, and etouffée cravings. In addition, San Antonio is famous for its Tex-Mex, and few places are as celebrated than Henry’s Puffy Tacos. This eatery is a true Alamo City institution and it has strong ties to the San Antonio Missions (more on that later).
Hotel, motel, and other lodging options abound in San Antonio, so no matter what your budget, you will find a comfy place to lay your head. The city has all the standard chains, but the Travelodge Lackland AFB and the Country Inn and Suites by Radisson are probably your closest bets for lodging near the Wolff.
San Antonio is an underrated baseball town – the Missions have cultivated a loyal fan base in the city, and the team is rewarded by having one of the highest attendance rates in the Texas League. In 2017, the Missions drew over 4,500 fans a night.
The stands are chock full of fans wearing Missions gear and best of all, there are multiple generations of fans in attendance – there is something comforting about seeing kids enjoying a ball game, chasing foul balls, and asking players for autographs. You get a real family vibe from the crowd at the Wolff, and that just adds to the familiar and comforting feel of the experience.
Missions games at Wolff Municipal Stadium are easily accessible by traveling southwest on Interstate 10 – the ballpark is 20 minutes from downtown and 30 minutes from San Antonio International Airport. Parking at Missions games costs $5 and is ample. There are two main entrances into the venue – one on each of the baselines – and they are clearly marked from the highway. Visitors will have no problem finding the Wolff, despite it not being near the center of town.
Return on Investment 4
Tickets for Missions games are very easy on the pocketbook, as general admission seating starts at $10 per person. An even better bargain is the seating in the outfield berm – fans can bring blankets and lawn chairs and chill out in left center field (a prime home run landing spot) and watch the game. When you factor in the cost for tickets with the reasonable concessions prices and low parking fees, Missions games turn out to be a real bargain, especially for families.
Extras abound at the Wolff. First and foremost are the team’s legendary mascots: Henry the Puffy Taco and Ballapeño. Throughout the game, the mascots interact with fans. However, the real treat is their regular bits; Ballapeño leads the birthday parade where kids can celebrate their special day by running the bases during the fourth inning. In addition, prior to the top of the seventh-inning Henry the Puffy Taco invites one lucky kid to run him down and tackle him before he crosses home plate – it has become a tradition renowned throughout the Texas League, and is a crowd favorite.
There are fan contests throughout the game, carnival games on the main concourse, and the HEB Fun Zone, complete with bouncy castles, inflatable climbing walls, and playground equipment outside the first base seating area. For adult fans, make sure to visit the San Antonio Mission Hall of Fame behind home plate to get player bios of the team’s legends.
Best of all, on certain nights there are musical concerts and fireworks shows. Missions games have something for everyone!
Missions games embody the spirit of the city they call home. They have a loyal fanbase, a festival-like atmosphere, a great food selection, and a tradition of winning. Fans of minor league baseball will enjoy themselves tremendously at Nelson W. Wolff Municipal Stadium. If you’re in San Antonio during the summer, do yourself a favor and check out the venue for a game.
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Travelodge San Antonio Lackland AFB
120 Rustleaf Dr
San Antonio, TX 78242
Country Inn & Suites by Radisson, Lackland AFB
6502 Enrique M. Barrera Pkwy
San Antonio, TX 78227
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