Security Service Field – Colorado Springs Sky Sox

by | May 15, 2016 | Meg Minard, MiLB | 0 comments

Fanfare Score

Total Score
3

 

Crowd Score

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The High Life

It is still very strange heading to Security Service Field in Colorado Springs and NOT watching the AAA affiliate of the Colorado Rockies baseball team. The Sky Sox, having been an affiliate of the Rockies since the Rockies expansion year in 1993, got caught up in the massive 2015 minor league PDC renegotiations.

The Milwaukee Brewers and the Sky Sox signed a two-year agreement while the Rockies partnered with the Albuquerque Isotopes at the end of the 2014 season. Both teams are members of the Pacific Coast League (PCL) of Minor League Baseball.

The Sky Sox owners have announced their desire to move the team to San Antonio, TX for the 2019 season (contingent on a new downtown ballpark in that city).

A lot has to happen before / if that can happen but the dust is swirling again in Colorado Springs.

Security Service Field (originally known as Sky Sox Stadium) is the highest professional baseball stadium in the US at 6,531 feet above sea level (higher than Coors Field). It sits adjacent to Switchbacks Stadium where the USL Switchbacks play their soccer matches.

The team originated as the Hawaii Islanders in Honolulu, HI; but after that team fell into financial problems, the team moved to Colorado Springs in 1988.

Attending a game here is a fine time with activities between innings, plenty to eat and drink, and a play area for the kids.

Food & Beverage 4

Enticing food and drink options are available at Security Service Field as well as all the traditional snacks and treats. The Sky Sox use some local concessionaires to help boost the Colorado Springs economy.

New in 2016 is a Golden Flame Hot Wings stand (small Colorado franchise) down the first base concourse. I understand they have one of the tastier wing sauces. Also new for the 2016 season is BooDad’s replacing the Hall of Fame Bar & Grill. This is an inside sit-down area with some tables and chairs to enjoy your food. BooDad’s is a local Colorado Springs bar and restaurant with a Cajun influence. Choices include paninis (grilled mac & cheese or pastrami apple), footlongs (bacon wrapped, mac & cheese, or Cajun), brat pups, and more (prices range from $9 – $12).

As you walk in the stadium entrance, just to the right (first base side) is Zebulon’s Grill providing cheesesteaks, hamburgers, and other grilled favorites ($5 – $9).

Specialties at the two other permanent stands include: Buffalo and/chicken tenders w/fries, red hot Chicago and/or chili cheese foot long dog, Wisconsin brat, Pikes Peak nachos, the mighty Colorado nacho plate, and hot and spicy sausages. Prices range from $5.50 to $9 depending on your choice. Snacks include peanuts, candy, churros, soft pretzel, cotton candy, popcorn, kettle corn, fries, etc. and range from $2.00 to $6.00. Fountain soft drinks are provided by Pepsi $5.50/$6.50 and bottled water is $4.25.

Other specialties are a Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory shop, a Domino’s pizza stand (not open the day of this review), Chilly Willy’s ice cream and a shaved ice stand.

Beer options at the permanent concessions are Coors, Coors Light, Blue Moon, Killian’s, Miller Light, Alaskan Amber, and Colorado Native. One disappointment in the 2016 season is the craft brew stand down the third base concourse. In previous years, local Colorado brews were offered like Bristol Brewing and Oskar Blues. The 2016 offerings do include Bristol (good thing) but also Sierra Nevada which is California based – it’s so not local. Boo.

On a positive side in 2016, Small Town brewery with their ‘Not Your Father’s Root Beer and Ginger Ale’ beer and floats are now available as you turn left when entering (third base side).

New since 2015, a bar down first baseline concourse offers 3 Hundred Days of Shine spirits (a local near Colorado Springs distillery).

Except for sealed soft plastic bottles of water, outside food and drink are not allowed.

Atmosphere 3

Blue plastic fold down seats with cup holders are in the lower level of the seating area. A small walking area separates the upper level which has aluminum benches with backs but no cup holders. I’ve sat in both sections and both provide an excellent view of the game. The net runs just a few sections behind home plate so there’re plenty of areas to sit without that obstruction (there’re also plenty of places to sit behind the net if you’re concerned about foul balls and the mascot getting in your way). A Fun Zone with bounce houses and other kid’s attractions is down the third baseline just above a well-manicured grassy berm seating area.

A set of 18 luxury/club seats are above the press box and behind the home plate area. There is a hot tub down the first baseline that you and up to eleven of your friends can rent for a unique experience at a ball game.

All seats (except the luxury/club seats) are in the sun and other weather elements and there are no shaded or covered areas except for the cramped concourse behind home plate. Come prepared with clothing layers or sunscreen. Both might be needed the same day. Recommendation: Check the weather before attending the game and always pack sunscreen and at least a long sleeve shirt.

The PA announcer does a fine job and the music is even turned down when calling a relief pitcher and a double-switch so those keeping score can record the name properly on their scorecard. More importantly, the music isn’t played so loud and a fan can talk with their neighbor easily- an excellent thing.

The home dugout is on the first base side. Visiting ballplayers have to walk across a short part of the concourse on the third base side, so there may be some autograph opportunities pregame.

The scoreboard is viewable from all seats and displays the current score by inning including hits and errors, strikes, balls, and outs. A video board provides the names and current stats of the player at bat for both teams, as well as advertisements and in-game contests.

The mascot, Sox the Fox, is quite irritating but not as bad as he used to be. He still prances on the dugouts while the game is on blocking the view for those fans who actually watch the game, but not as often as he’s done in past years. With that said, the kids and the families love him. They get photos and autographs and thrills. I just wish he would do his shenanigans on the concourse (away from play) and not on the dugouts. If you don’t like mascots blocking the view of the game, I’d recommend sitting behind the net – behind home base sections 108 -111 for lower level; 205 – 208 upper level, as he doesn’t travel to that area. You will, however, be behind the net.

Neighborhood 3

Security Service Field is not in downtown Colorado Springs. It is located in a neighborhood in the northeastern part of the city. The neighborhood has grown vastly over the last few years with more and more shopping and dining available within walking distance of the venue.

Two sports bars to check out are Cleats Bar and Grill East (plenty of TVs and bar food) and Rhino’s Sport & Spirits. Both are walking distance from the stadium with Cleats a little closer; though Rhino’s is my preference.

Countless chain restaurants are nearby including: Good Times, On The Border, Egg & I, Dominos, L&L Hawaiian BBQ, Zen Fusion Sushi, Noodle and Company, Rock Bottom, and the list goes on.

Several craft breweries have popped up near the stadium. Peaks N Pines (offering a diverse selection of their own tasty brews and a welcoming, friendly environment) is across a field from the ballpark. One can walk across the field to the ballpark during an afternoon game, but I wouldn’t recommend it at night as there are no lights. Nano 108 Brewing is about 2 miles down Tutt Ave and may also be a good place for a beer pre or postgame.

The closest hotel to the stadium is the Holiday Inn Express Colorado Springs – First and Main and is about one mile from the field. It is located near the Cinemark Theater and many shopping centers and restaurants. There are several other hotels near the airport.

Although slightly more than five miles away, do take a visit to the Air Force Academy when in town and check out the Visitor’s Center and the Air Force Chapel. It houses three distinct worship areas under a single roof and has been named a U.S. National Historic Landmark. It has received many architectural prizes since its construction in 1962.

Fans 3

It’s not easy to find Milwaukee Brewers fans in Colorado Springs. However, the Sky Sox fans are trying to accept the switch to a new affiliate.

The Sky Sox have generally been in the lower half in attendance in the Pacific Coast League. Since their move to the Brewers, that average attendance rate has decreased even more. They do play less home games than their counterparts in the Pacific Coast League and Security Service Field is the smallest park in the PCL which affects the average attendance numbers.

Heard amongst the conversations in the stands are statements such as, “That player was the number one pick for the Brewers in 2013,” or “He’s been to Miller Park and is trying to get back there,” or ” Will he go for a bunt or try to hit it out?” So you know the fans attending the games have baseball savvy.

Visiting fans are welcomed… it IS a minor league game and it is more about the baseball being played and other social activities than any rivalries within the minor league teams.

Access 2

This is a mixed bag. There is a bus stop right outside the stadium and it looks like Route 23 – Tutt Blvd via Powers Blvd is the one to take.

You will mostly likely have to drive. Check the Sky Sox website for directions. The directions do state that coming from the north take Woodmen off of I-25. I’d recommend taking Interquest Pkwy instead, as it is less congested and has fewer traffic lights.

Colorado Springs Airport is onlysix miles to Security Service Field. Denver International Airport is a bit farther – about an hour and 15 min drive. There are more flights to/from DIA and are probably lower in fare than Colorado Springs.

Parking is $5. Be prepared for a lot of patience when leaving the game from the main lot. I recommend, instead of turning on Tutt St (where the signage indicates to turn), continue straight on Barnes Rd till the next light and make a right. That will take you to the ‘back’ parking lot which is way easier to exit after the game. The signs will say it is season ticket parking but they do allow the general public to park there.

Only the one gate is available for fans to enter and exit the stadium which funnels behind the home base area. Even with the smaller crowds, it can get so congested it is treacherous. My recommendation: Stay in your seat during the game or just meander on the concourse above the baseline on which you are sitting and remain in your seat for a bit after the game to avoid the mass exit and the crowds. Hopefully, there will never be the need for a quick evacuation of the stadium.

The restrooms, one for each gender, feel a bit dated but serve their purpose.

Return on Investment 3

Tickets are reasonable for a AAA ball game. Lower box is $15; upper level is $12. Military, seniors, and kids under 12 get an additional $2 off.

The Sky Sox organization provides a variety of promotions:

Sunday: 50¢ hot dogs and family day. Sundays are usually a give-away game, as well

Monday: Kids eat free

Tuesday: Two for Tuesdays – $2 tickets; $2 parking, $2 Coors/Coors Light

Wednesday: Kids Day Matinee

Thursday: $3 Microbrew Thursday and Military Appreciation Night

Friday: Friday fireworks

Saturday: Select themed nights like Men’s Night Out, Star Trek Night, and more

With all the promotions and perks, attending a Sky Sox game is well worth the investment.

Extras 3

There are water misters at the end of the concourse baselines which are extremely helpful for kids and adults during the sometimes hot summer games. There’s a team store called the Fox Den which offers all kinds of merchandise including clothing, hats, shot glasses, foam fingers, and just about any other collector’s item.

Listen to Dan Karcher broadcast the Sky Sox games on AM 1300 or by listening on their website. He calls the game without a lot of unnecessary chatter and provides just the perfect amount of passion. He calls the games with superb expertise.

Final Thoughts

Sky Sox fans will have to wait and see what happens after the end of the 2016 season to see if the Brewers will re-negotiate with the Sky Sox for a few more years, if San Antonio will agree to a new downtown stadium, and so forth.

The city of Colorado Springs provides many sites to see and visit for your stadium journey vacation weekend or week.

Food and Drink Recommendations

 

Rhino’s Sports & Spirits

4307 Integrity Center Point

Colorado Springs, CO 80917

(719) 578-0608

http://www.rhinosbar.com/


Cleats Bar & Grill East

6120 Barnes Rd
Colorado Springs, CO 80922

(719) 344-9301

https://www.facebook.com/CleatsBarEast


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Entertainment Recommendations

 

Air Force Academy

2346 Academy Dr

Colorado Springs, CO 80840

(719) 333-2025

http://www.academyadmissions.com/visit-the-academy/self-guided-tours/visitor-center-information/


Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

4250 Cheyenne Mountain Zoo Rd

Colorado Springs, CO 80906

(719) 633-9925

http://www.cmzoo.org/


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Lodging Recommendations

 

Holiday Inn Express & Suites Colorado Springs-First & Main

3431 Cinema Pt

Colorado Springs, CO 80922

(719) 596-6000

https://www.ihg.com/holidayinnexpress/hotels/us/en/colorado-springs/cosfm/hoteldetail


WoodSpring Suites Colorado Springs Airport

555 Airport Creek Port

Colorado SpringsCO 80916

(719) 597-2138

https://www.woodspring.com/extended-stay-hotels/locations/colorado/colorado-springs/woodspring-suites-colorado-springs-airport


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Crowd Reviews

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Stadium Info

Security Service Field

4385 Tutt Blvd

Colorado Springs, CO 80922

Colorado Springs Sky Sox website

Security Service Field website

Year Opened: 1988

Capacity: 8,500

 

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