Stadium Review: Melaleuca Field of the Idaho Falls Chukars
- Updated: February 13, 2009
Most people probably have never heard of the Idaho Falls Chukars, the class A affiliate of the Kansas City Royals, but they are thriving in the small western town. Due to their location, the team has experienced a turnover in organization affiliation and names during their existence, but that does not take away from their stadium. The Royals had a chance to not re-up their contract after the 2008 season, but signed an extension with those in Idaho Falls.
Built in 2007, the 3,400 seat capacity stadium is much roomier than most stadiums of that size. Although it certainly does not give off the vibe that is only two years old, it isn’t a terrible place to watch a game either.
Probably the most interesting part of the stadium is the hot tub located down the first base line where fans can relax during games. Sponsored by a local hot tub company, the tub can sit about four people at a time and runs almost the entirety of the game. Gimmicks such as this are usually reserved for the big league level, but that didn’t stop the Chukars from getting one of their own.
While the natural grass field is nothing special, the field is kept in decent condition throughout the season and is up to par with other fields at this level of competition.
Surrounding the outside of the stadium are banners of players who have played or managed a team in Idaho Falls since their establishment in 1940. Jose Canseco is probably the most famous of these names, but there are a few others that were household names during the prime of their careers.
The team shop is located almost exactly at the entrance to the stadium and is the same place that houses some of the offices for the front office staff of the ballpark. The store is about the size one can expect from a class A affiliate and does not really blow the patrons away with selection. They do have carry a decent amount of clothing for women, but could no doubt expand their lines if they had the room to do so.
The stadium is made mostly of brick and provides seating about three-fourths of the way down each baseline.
The team clubhouses are down the first base line and detached from the rest of the stadium. They are also made of brick, but do not look nearly as nice as the exterior of the stadium. The outdoor batting cages are located right next to the clubhouses and allow fans a chance to see their favorite players getting ready for the game in the distance.
Overall, the stadium provides a nice getaway for baseball fans who may be stuck in Idaho for one reason or another. The stadium does not exude the classic ballpark feel that some other minor league stadiums do, but it is definitely above average. Obviously there is enough fan support in this small town to keep the interest in baseball strong there over the past 60-plus years.
Minor League Stadium Grade: 3.25/5
Overall Stadium Grade: 3/5
Bill Jordan is a contributor to BaseballReflections.com. He can be reached by e-mail at BillJordaniv@yahoo.com.