“The Lumber Yard,” La Crosse, WI
Home teams are now 8-6 (1 rainout) in my games
HOW I GOT THERE
Transit options in La Crosse are limited, so I used Lyft to get to and from the game.
WHERE I SAT
Section D, row 4, seat 2; almost directly behind home plate.
WHAT I ATE
A “Logger Dog.”
Loggers Field had some of the most affordable concessions of any ballpark I’ve attended. There was even a “bottle race” where three different beer bottle mascots ran around the warning track. The winning beer went on sale the following inning: $2.50 for a 16 oz pour, vs. the usual $4.
MEMORABLE GAME MOMENTS
This was another sloppy game. La Crosse committed 4 errors, while Bismarck committed 2. After falling behind 3-0 and 5-1 early, the Loggers were powered to victory by an 8-run third inning in which the Loggers bat around. They had three home runs in the inning, including a back-to-back pair. The Larks made a valiant effort to get back into the game, but ultimately fell short.
There were a lot of between-inning on-field promotions, including a pillow case race, a dental floss race, a “dizzy bat” race, etc. During the 7th Inning Stretch, after “Take Me Out To The Ballgame,” they played a bit of “Beer Barrel Polka,” and fans were polkaing in the stands.
After the game, there was a contest where fans threw marked paper airplanes out onto the field. The plane closest to home plate won $200. But cheating was rampant, and apparently encouraged. The players on the field were taking planes from kids and throwing them on their behalf, and were also picking up random planes off the ground and tossing them closer.
WHAT I LIKED ABOUT THE BALLPARK
Because the park is so small — capacity is 3,550 — there really aren’t any bad seats anywhere in the park. As mentioned above, the low-cost concessions make a Loggers game a very affordable night out with family and / or friends. Even better, the ballpark is located inside of a larger recreational area along the Black River, which means there’s plenty for families to do before games. It’s nice when a ballpark is well-integrated into green space in the community.
This is also a team that has a good record of grooming future stars. Current major-league starters Max Scherzer (Nationals), Chris Sale (Red Sox) and Eric Thames (Brewers) all spent time in La Crosse.
Since these are unpaid college players, they’re quite accessible. A couple of players leaving the game were happy to take a picture with me.
WHAT NEEDS IMPROVEMENT
The netting used to protect spectators is fairly heavy gauge and can be distracting. It also goes all the way up over the seating area, so for most spectators, there’s no real chance of getting a foul ball. The seating is also segmented, so that if you’re in a certain outfield section, you can’t walk and explore the main grandstand area, and vice versa.
Lack of transit is a big problem, so even though the ballpark is small, traffic can be pretty bad before and after games. There are buses that run near the stadium, but the schedule is so irregular as to make them impractical as a way to get to and from games. Of course, with a small town such as LaCrosse it’s not like we can expect a subway stop, but a dedicated and well-advertised shuttle can work wonders for those fans looking to get downtown and out of the way of those driving from the park.
CHS Field, St. Paul