Joliet Route 66 Stadium – Joliet Slammers
Slamming It Home in on Route 66 in Joliet
The Joliet Slammers are members of the Frontier League and play at Joliet Route 66 Stadium. The ballpark’s name had been a topic of conversation since its original name, Silver Cross Field, ceased to exist after the 2017 season when the sponsorship ended. This lead to either a public ruse or PR stunt of announcing the stadium’s name as The Cards Against Humanity Baseball Place in December 2017–both Slammers management and the card company have conflicting stories.
Last season the ballpark went by Slammers Stadium even though the Silver Cross name is still embedded above the main entrance to the facility. This year (2018), the stadium was rechristened Joliet Route 66 Field to honor the highway that shaped the country.
The stadium was built for the Joliet Jackhammers which played in the former Northern League from 2002 to 2010. In 2010 the Jackhammers changed their name to the Slammers and joined the Frontier League.
The name refers to the famous prisons of Joliet and Will County (Joliet Correctional Center and Stateville Correctional Center) as well as a common baseball term for a grand slam. The team even employed a logo of a jailbird donning prison stripes as its mascot.
In 2018 the Slammers replaced the natural grass with field turf. The field is grass and the dimensions are 348 feet to left field, 400 feet to center field and 327 feet to right field.
Food & Beverage 5
The food stands have names based upon Joliet and baseball: Crossroads Grill, Sweet Spot and Steel City Grill. There is the usual ballpark fare of nachos, hot dogs, brats, burgers, chicken sandwiches, pizza, ice cream, soft pretzels and funnel cake.
However, there are other options like the bratwich (a brat in the shape of a hamburger), giardiniera nachos (nachos topped with thin slices of beef, white cheese, and giardiniera), pesto chicken sandwich, and fried pork tenderloin sandwiches. The finger foods include pork cheese fries, fried cheese curds, and barbecue pork nachos. For your sweet tooth, the concessions include chocolate caramel pretzels, bread pudding, and rolled cheesecake wrapped in a waffle cone.
The food items are reasonably priced, nothing exceeding more than $8. The giardiniera and barbecue pork nachos are highly recommended and tasty. The lines at the food concessions move quickly. The condiment selection here is the basic: ketchup, mustard, onions, and relish. One thing nice is that when you buy a souvenir cup of soda for $9, refills are $3.
There are many varieties of tap beer: Corona, Shock top, Labatt’s blue, Michelob Ultra and Coors. A 20-ounce draft beer is $6 (domestic) or $8 (premium), 16-ounce cans are $6, and 24-ounce beer cans are $9.
There is a main bar behind home plate that provides excellent views from behind the backstop and friendly wait staff. The area is home to at least 12 different canned craft beers and during the last weekend of the season around Labor Day could sell for around $2-$3 a can. In addition, there is Jim Beam based cocktails for $8 and wine for $7.
Entering the ballpark, fans must walk up a flight of stairs to get to the concourse which overlooks the field. The stadium has two levels: the main concourse and a level of skyboxes above. The stadium features a 360-degree concourse that links to a very large play area behind center field. The main seating area runs from first to third base and there are approximately 20 rows of seating.
In addition, there are two lawn areas down the right and left field lines. There are no permanent outfield seats, but there are a few chairs and a chair rail along the left field wall. There is a concession building in the left field with rooftop seating that is open to everyone on most games but occasionally will be rented out for parties. The rooftop area is a great place to watch the game for a while. Lastly, in right field, there is a standing area complete with a rail for beverages and/or food.
The Slammers have two mascots Spike (a dog) and J.L. Bird (a crow in a prison outfit). Both are found throughout the stadium and on the field during the game. J.L. Bird was even featured on ESPN during his first season with the club.
The team store cleverly called the “Clink,” is large, but lacks a healthy selection of team products (shirts, hats, etc). However, it is still good though for a souvenir from the game.
The between inning entertainment is the usual minor league stuff–throwing t-shirts, high low, a few kid races. One interesting promotion is throwing bread from a local bakery (Milano) out in the stands.
The ballpark is located in downtown Joliet. Several businesses are located to the north and west of the park, along with a high school to the east of the park. There is some residential housing to the south of the park.
There are a lot of small independent restaurants and bars within the vicinity, The Chevere Latin Café and the Blue Taco are excellent places with really good food. Also, the Chicago Street Pub has the best Reuben in town and juicy burgers. The Shoebox is piled with BBQ ham, American cheese, tomato and red onion on a Milano bun.
In addition, Harrah’s Casino and the historic Rialto Theater are within a couple of blocks of downtown. The Rialto books mid-level acts, plays, and various musicals during the season.
Right outside the right field side of the park, there is a gay bar Maneuvers, which some straight people go and MyGrain Brewing Company. On Saturday and Sunday, Chicago Street Pinball, a couple of blocks away, is open and you can play any machine for 3 hours for only $15.
The fans in attendance are very friendly. The Slammers attendance is anywhere between 1,600 to 2,000 per game, but the mix of fans is the same as any other ballpark, lots of families, people who are really into baseball and people who just like to hang out and catch up.
The park is located in downtown Joliet. It is not hard to get to since it is about one mile north of I-80. There are many ways to get to the ballpark. The Joliet Transportation Center, serving two Metra lines, is right outside the stadium. There are also bus lines near the stadium.
There is plenty of parking surrounding the stadium and it is free. It is not recommended to park on the adjoining street on the south side of the stadium because there are many foul balls hit into car windows.
Return on Investment 5
The price of a regular ticket ranges $8 for lawn seats to $12 to $14 for regular seating. On Tuesdays, there are tickets available for $2. There is a “Beam Balcony / Cell Block Patio Party” section which includes food and beer/liquor/soda for $40. The Left Field Rooftop for a pre-game picnic can be rented out for $26.50 which includes some food and soda for 90 minutes after the first pitch. The suites can be rented for $41.50 which includes food and soda.
There is a firehouse across the street in left field which has 560’ painted on it. Yes, if a home run hits the firehouse it would have traveled 560’.
Also, there is a small field for physically challenged people. Occasionally, I have seen kids using the field.
There is a guy who dresses in a tuxedo who entertains the crowd by juggling and interacting with the fans at most games. In addition, he comes around with a garbage bag and picks up garbage with a pair of tongs.
In addition, the Slammers have a “first hit of the inning batter” which is if the first hitter of the inning gets a hit, beer is half off. A fun feature that has the fans in the stands really rooting for a hit, it can get really loud.
Lastly, the Slammers get another extra star for a sculpture down the right field line on the adjoining building of construction guys sitting on an I-beam eating watching the game.
Joliet Route 66 Stadium has a surprisingly lot of pros to make it one of the best ballparks in the Chicagoland area. It offers a wraparound concourse, creative food options, cheap prices, a healthy selection of craft beers, and an active surrounding neighborhood to make it well worth your while to visit.
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Latest Crowd Reviews
A very enjoyable ballpark that is very impressive in design this would be the perfect sport for an affiliated ballclub. The ticket prices are affordable, the food varied and inexpensive, and the bar behind the backstop concourse is a great place to grab a craft beer. However, sometimes the ballpark feels a bit too big and somewhat dead in the outfield concourse area.
Different and more during innings participation. They are always the same. Outsource some of it. Food has gotten better, but could use more improvement. Bathrooms are not kept clean throughout evening. Some of the staff is very good.. some people are very rude.