|If only every city could be as lucky as Springfield, Missouri. When businessman John Q. Hammons built Springfield a beautiful new ballpark using only his money and then went out and procured a minor league team to play in it, the city had to feel very fortunate. While Springfield had been without minor league baseball for many years, an independent team did play in Ozark (just 20 miles to the south) from 1999-2004. Hammons Field is located in downtown Springfield, so access is not direct from any of the highways. There is a parking lot across the street, though it charges a ridiculous $7. Apparently there is plenty of free parking available if you don't mind a short walk. The ballpark features many of the amenities that have become standard at new venues : a concourse which overlooks the field, grassy berms in the outfield, a kid's play area in leftfield (including a basketball court ?), and high def video board. While the concourse does extend into the outfield, strangely it does not completely wraparound as it ends in right-center field. The seating bowl, which consists of all green fold down chairs, extends just past the bags down each line. In addition, there is a club section (called the Redbird Roost) which is located on the 3rd base side. These seats include all you can eat food. Being Cardinal country, the atmosphere is very baseball oriented, just like it is at Busch Stadium. While a few games are played between innings (car race, photo scrambler, trivia) and there are two mascots on hand (Louie and Fetch), for the most part the focus is on the game. Concessions are well varied and the quality is excellent. But the prices seem to be on the high side for a minor league park. Some of the food items available include BBQ, Philly steaks, brats, fried olives, and a tunarito (tuna wrap with Fritos). The exterior of the park is red brick and features a large plaza at the front gate. Fans have really seemed to take a liking to Hammons Field, as they haven't had many problems filling up the 8,500 seats on most nights. My only complaint with Hammons Field is that the concourses are a bit tight, especially with big crowds. This seems to be because they have created picnic areas in the front of the concourse which take up big chunks of space. I wonder if the architect just forgot to include a picnic area in the outfield or if this was part of the design. If so, it's a poor design as it limits the concourse space and also obstructs the view. Hammons Field doesn't break any new ground, but is still a great place to catch a game as the atmosphere is great and concessions tasty.