OK, last post about Iowa. I promise.
As I mentioned yesterday, I spent the weekend in Iowa attending the Iowa Corn Indy 250 with my son. Saturday evening we took in an Iowa Cubs game at Principal Park in Des Moines. The Iowa Cubs are the AAA Farm club for the insufferable Chicago Cubs. OK, that was unfair. It’s not that the Cubs themselves, or even the organization are insufferable. Mostly its the Fans of the “Cubbies”. Not the real fans, whom I have been told exist, but the ones that show up in the Wrigley bleachers to take in the “scene”. Yes, it’s a free country, and bully for the Cubs in being able to separate young frat boys and sorority girls from their parents monthly stipend, but I still find them insufferable.
Luckily, Des Moines is not overrun with trust funders, or hipsters. Buying tickets at the walk up window, the only sections sold out were the General Admission family sections. Lots and lots of families in attendance. Yes, despite the economic Armageddon we have read about in the papers and the death of middle America, and decline of the Midwest, apparently someone forgot to tell these folks. Or maybe, just maybe, the news of our demise has been greatly exaggerated. In any case, it was a nice turnout for a hot June evening with the threat of rain hanging just off to the south.
Principal Park is located in lovely downtown Des Moines. Two words I never thought I would use in the same sentence, “lovely & Des Moines”, but I do so without Irony. It really is a nice place. Lots of civic treasures nestled along the banks of the Des Moines river, like sports arena’s, museums, gardens, and a zoo. The court house district is also the home of a vibrant nightlife of bars and clubs in authentic Midwestern style. Who knew?
The park itself is right at the confluence of the Des Moines and Raccoon River. It was built in 1992 on the same site as the original Pioneer Memorial Stadium (b. 1947). Des Moines has had a series of different baseball clubs playing in the park up until 1969, when AAA ball came to Iowa. The original team was named the Oaks, but when they became the Cubs affiliate in 1981 some insecure bonehead in the Chicago organization decided that corporate branding was more important than history, and renamed them the Iowa Cubs. I think it’s very sad to see a great name like the Oaks be resigned to the dustbin in favor of more franchise-ification. But I suppose it’s been almost 30 years since the change, and I don’t even live there so I should just shut up about it already;-)
It’s a nice place to see a game. Nothing remarkable, or extraordinary about the place, which is to say I liked it. Not a bad seat in the house. The field is tiny, only 325 to the foul poles and 400 ft in straight away center field. Hence the height of the walls.
Out in right field is one of the more unique features I have seen at a ball park. A fountain for the kids to play in on a hot summer day. Nice touch, and located within sight of the bleacher seats so Mom and Dad can keep one eye on the game and one on the kids.
Oh yeah. The iCubs beat the Memphis Redbirds 4-0, and a great time was had by all.