Recreation Park
Visalia, California
Year Opened
1968

Current Team
Visalia Rawhide

Affiliate
Arizona Diamondbacks

League
California League

Capacity
2468

Location Map

My Grades
Stadium B+ Atmosphere B+ Concessions B

Photos taken in 2010
Many ballparks claim to be cozy and intimate, but none may be more so than Visalia's Recreation Park. Not only does it have one of the smallest capacities in minor league baseball, but it also has a very small amount of foul territory. This combined with a unique design and new renovations make it a great place to experience a minor league ballgame. Located just off the downtown, parking is available in small lots and along the street. All parking is free - something that is becoming less and less common. The main entrance to the ballpark is now located in the right field corner, as the biggest part of the recent renovations were a new building along the third base side. These renovations included new team offices, a new grassy berm behind the right field fence, and new box seats. The park does have a bit of a choppy feel because it wasn't all built at the same time - for example the grandstand behind home plate does not directly connect to the new third base box seats. It makes the park a bit hard to navigate, but this is just a minor complaint. New fold down seats were also installed in the original grandstand, meaning that the whole park is void of bleachers. Down the first base line, there is a large covered beer garden (known as The Watering Hole) and additional picnic area. The beer garden offers misters which run occasionally to keep fans cool - something definitely needed in the hot California summers. Perhaps because of the intimate nature of the park, the team has felt it necessary to put up netting all the way down both lines, meaning there are no clean sightlines here. The grandstand behind home plate is quite steep, however, so this is probably the best place to sit. The concourse, located behind the main grandstand (out of view of the field) and above the third base seating (in view of the field), features just three concession stands offering a rather limited array of items. Burgers, hot dogs, and nachos are all available with various toppings. In addition, pulled pork sandwiches, Italian sausages, and chicken fingers are sold. The prices are reasonable, but it is a bit ridiculous that they offer no hot dog for less than $4.50. Come on - where is the kid's hot dog for a dollar or two ? After years of being known as the Oaks, the team changed names to the Rawhide in 2009. And you really have to give the team credit for carrying out the farm theme throughout the park - this can especially be seen with the barn built into the outfield wall and the team store (known as the "Rawhide General Store"). I also appreciate that there are several reminders throughout the park of past teams that have played here - this is always a nice touch. The atmosphere seems pretty laid back here as the focus is kept mostly on the game - there were a few between inning contests and there is a mascot (Tipper the cow), but nothing to distract you too much. The one problem I did have with the atmosphere may have been as a result of the Thirsty Thursday promotion. By the end of the game, there were numerous fans yelling obscenities. Honestly, I've never heard so much swearing at a sporting event as I heard here. With no ushers or security to stop them, it carried on for at least the last three innings of the game. Despite this, I really enjoyed my visit to Recreation Park. It is unique, charming, and cozy - just a great place to catch a game on a warm summer evening in the California desert.
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