Arkansas

Baseball Stadiums: Dickey-Stephens Park

The second stop on the road trip from Alabama to Oklahoma was Little Rock, Ark.  I wanted to stop because I have never thoroughly written about my experience at an Arkansas Travelers game at Dickey-Stephens Park, and this trip seemed like a good opportunity to write about the park and explore a city my wife and I had not visited together.

We also got assistance from the Little Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau, and spent the night at DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Little Rock.  To see a view from the room, check out my post on Twitter (here).  The hotel recently underwent a massive renovation, sits right on the Arkansas River for some awesome views, and is 10-minute walk from a bunch of great restaurants on West Markham Street in downtown Little Rock.  Additionally, Katie and I explored Little Rock’s budding craft beer scene using the Locally Labelled Passport (more on that in a later post).

There is a lot of free street parking near the park, so when walking around to the ticket office and main gate fans get an awesome sight.

Main entrance of Dickey-Stephens Park.

Unlike many baseball stadiums that opt for a corporate sponsor, Dickey-Stephens Park is named after a quartet of local men.  In fact, the ballpark is named after two set of brothers: Bill and Skeeter Dickey and Witt and Jack Stephens.

Plaques outside the ballpark commemorating the four men whose names adorn the stadium.

Once in the stadium, we explored the concourse a bit and debated what to eat.  So while walking around, I got pictures of the game’s starting lineups and the Texas League‘s current standings on that day.

While we were walking around the concourse, the team announced that the game would not start as scheduled because of a chance of rain in the area.  So instead of continuing to walk around and debate our food options, my wife and I decided to visit the Travelers Baseball Museum.  According to a press release from 2008 when the museum opened many of the items were on the walls at the team’s former home (Ray Winder Field) and the staff decided fans would enjoy seeing the collection of the team’s history.

After our self-guided tour of the Arkansas Travelers Baseball Museum, we decided to walk around the concourse one more time to get a small bite to eat.  So let’s check out some pictures of the concession stands and review some of their food offerings.  First up is…

Close to home plate a concession stand features deep-fried peanut butter and jelly pies while the adjoining stand serves deep-fried Oreos.

Next to Batter Up Corn Dogs is the Slush Puppies stand that serves deep-fried Oreos.  We’ll have more on those later.  Further along the first base concourse is Doubleday’s Depot, which features the standard ballpark items like hot dogs, hamburgers, and more.  So nothing too exciting, but it’s difficult to pass up taking a photo of a concession stand that makes use of such a great baseball pun.

Down the first base line is Doubleday’s Depot, which serves the standard ballpark fare.

The place that really called our names was all the way down the right field line tucked is the beer garden, which features a stand called the Draft Beer Station.  Local craft beers like Flyway Brewing and Diamond Bear Brewing, which are both located in North Little Rock, are prominently features here.  However, if you prefer Bud or Michelob Ultra, you can also find those, too.

Down the right field line is a beer garden that serves a variety of local craft beer selections.

If you’re unwilling or unable to walk down to the Beer Garden, you can also find a great beer selection just up the third base line at Brewski Junction.  Like the Beer Garden, Brewski Junction serves a variety of local craft beers plus in-state brewery Ozark Beer Co., which is located in Rogers in the northwestern section of the state.  They also had Moosehead Radler, which was something neither of us expected to see.

Brewski Junction on the third base line serves local craft beers and some macrobrews.

Now if you want something besides liquid bread to eat, which I expect most of us do, there are some other concession stand options on the third base line.

Most notably the Travs has a stand called the Travelers Bacon Station, which offers your standard stadium food items but with America’s favorite item – BACON – added.

Travelers Bacon Station specializes in the eponymous food item.

Close to Travelers Bacon Station is Fielder’s Choice, which allows fans to choose what items they want on their hot dogs and nachos.  If you’re look for a truly unique hot dog, this is the spot.  The menu features four unique hot dog choices: Seattle Dog (cream cheese and grilled onions), Chicago Dog (yellow mustard, chopped onions, relish, dill pickle spear, tomato wedges, pickled sport peppers, and celery salt), Detroit Dog (chili, yellow mustard, and chopped onions), and Texas Dog (chili, cheese sauce, and jalapenos).  If you don’t like any of those options you can build your own specialty hot dog.

If you don’t want a hot dog, you can also order build-your-own nachos or build-your-own salad at Fielder’s Choice.

Fielder’s Choice concession stand features specialty hot dogs and build-your-own nachos.

Finally after scoping out all the food options, we opted to split an order of deep-fried Oreos because we’d eaten a later lunch than expected.

An order of deep-fried Oreos.

If you’ve never had deep-fried Oreos they are an excellent light treat.  The filling doesn’t melt during the frying process nor does the cookie just fall apart.  The powdered sugar topping is also a nice touch to the classic dessert item.

Eventually about 7:30 p.m., an announcement was made that the tarp would be removed shortly and that the game would begin around 8.  Finally at 8:15 p.m. the first pitch was thrown, so I was able to capture my typical opening ballgame photo.

Arkansas Travelers starting pitcher Dylan Unsworth delivers the first pitch to San Antonio Missions shortstop Luis Urias.

Maybe it was the two-hour delay with hardly a drop of rain, but I was antsy and decided to do a bit more walking around to capture a few different perspectives of the stadium.  So we wandered to the outfield and found the kids’ play area, which led me to capture a picture of the bounce house.  Admittedly, a bounce house isn’t special, unless it’s shaped like a giant opossum.

The most unique piece of the kids’ play area at Dickey-Stephens Park is the bounce house shaped like a giant opossum.

Cooler than seeing a bounce house shaped like the team’s opossum mascot Otey was the sunset view I captured moments afterward.

A colorful sunset over the stadium.

After a relatively quick walk around the stadium, we found our seats along the third base line and watched some early game action.

Sadly we never saw either of the team’s mascots, Charger or Otey.  I’m not sure whether if the two-hour weather delay that resulted in hardly any rain falling scared them away, but it was disappointed not to see them.  Katie was especially intrigued and excited about the opportunity to have our picture taken with Otey because, well, how many teams are daring enough to use an opossum as one of their mascots.

Ultimately we chose to do something I extremely dislike when attending baseball games, which was to leave early. After waiting out the two-hour delay, we were anxious to explore the nearby breweries.  I feel a bit guilt about our early departure, but after spending nearly three hours total exploring the stadium I felt like we had seen and done everything we needed to do to get the full Dickey-Stephens Park experience.

Final Score: San Antonio 0, Arkansas 6
Box Score

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