Monday, July 15, 2013
Gateway Grizzlies- Sauget, Illinois
I have been very open about my admiration for the Frontier League for some time. It is a real treat getting to see any game in this well established and respected independent league.
We got a room in nearby Collinsville and spent a lot of time here and in Belleville. These are great little towns. I know they are near the East St. Louis area, but never let that scare you away from these great communities. We were there several days and had nothing but pleasant encounters with everyone. These are proud, happenin' little towns full of character.
We spent one evening at the Sky-View Drive-In, and we had coffee at The Abbey. Any town with an upscale coffee shop, a drive in theater, AND a Frontier League team near by makes it a candidate for possible relocation in the future.
I have to give a special mention to Eckert's Country store. The vibe is identical to a vibe from decades past. We had a nice lunch in their restaurant, purchased some great local foods in their grocery store, and had root beer floats at their custard shop.
We also visited the Lewis and Clark State Historic Site and the Cahokia Mounds in the area. This neck of the woods is worth a weekend trip easy!
So, we got to the ballpark in the early afternoon to pick up our tickets and scout the place out. Staff were busy getting ready for game day, but they were still helpful and eager to chat a bit, and to help us in the gift shop.
The Grizzlies have a great gift shop that doubles as a local area visitor center.
The girl working the gift shop while we were there was great, helping us get tickets and with our purchase. She told us to feel free to look around the park before we headed out until later in the evening.
One of the coolest items in the gift shop was a shirt (they also had a similar jersey) that looked very much like the old Cardinals logo use primarily in the 50s. Instead of 2 Cardinals standing on a bat with "Cardinals" written underneath, 2 young Grizzlies (Cubs, to satisfy sports fans elsewhere in Illinois) stand on the bat with "Grizzlies" written in. VERY COOL!
We did come back later in the evening. This was over the July 4th weekend and the place was packed! I was very happy to see this team drawing such a good crowd!
We brought our lawn seats in and we were very pleased with our affordable ($6 each!) tickets and free parking. I had a dog and a coke. I can't remember the exact price but we felt that this team's food prices were more reasonable than others.
The lawn seating was crowded but pleasant. Lots of families, and a family friendly vibe was observed.
Make sure you check out the Grizzlies if you are in the St. Louis area!