Chronological Tour: Stop 367

Home of the Junior College World Series

The main entrance to the stadium complex, Aug-2013.

A look at the entire field including the new first-base tower.

The view from behind the plate.

Quick Facts: Rating: 2 baseballs
Sam Suplizio (1932-2006) was a former minor league ballplayer (he made it to Triple-A with the Ottawa Athletics) and a local baseball aficionado who lobbied for this field near Mesa Junior College to host the annual national championship of the National Junior College Athletic Association. Mr. Suplizio became the chairman of the event for over three decades, and in gratitude, the baseball field here was renamed in his honor at the 1990 tournament.

By 2010, the NJCAA was reluctant to continue holding its signature baseball event here thanks to the lack of upgrades at the facility. The tournament was saved thanks to the construction in 2012 of a new tower along the first-base line that accommodates luxury suites as well as the press box for the adjacent Stocker Stadium football field. The new construction also includes the only upgraded seats in the park. These improvements also attracted the former Casper Ghosts to relocate to their parent club’s home state, turning Suplizio Field into a professional facility. The school, which has grown into Colorado Mesa University, also uses the field, which is diagonally across from the campus.

Getting to the Game

The ballpark is not located near the freeway or the tourist hotel strips, but rather several blocks from downtown. I did not explore bus options from the outskirts into the city, although I’m sure there is some bus service. Fortunately, the parking lot is large enough to accommodate most crowds for Rockies games, and there is no fee.

Watching the Game

The upgraded seats below the new west tower are reserved, although the team was selling all seats in the park for the same price. The new seating area is often sold out, as not only are the seats more comfortable than the prevailing bleacher benches, but they are shielded from the setting sun, which can be quite intense especially down the left-field line.

The team sells a scorecard for $2 and also posts the lineups on a board near the main entrance, along with an announcement of upcoming games. The announcer is proficient. The scoreboard has a small dot-matrix display, but at the game I attended, no details of the game in progress were posted there, just a generic welcome message.

Enjoying the Game

There is very little in the way of distractions for kids at this park, although the team does run a fair number of between-innings promotions.

The “beer batter” promotion is in effect, and the announcer reminds fans that there is no cheap beer to be had if the designated batter doesn’t strike out. He also mentions that if beer sales have concluded, the promotion is ended for the evening as well.

Game # Date League Level Result
1283 Tue 27-Aug-2013 Pioneer R Helena 8, GRAND JUNCTION 4
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This page updated 25-May-2014