Tuesday, June 06, 2006

San Luis Obispo Blues

Over the weekend the wife and I took in a baseball game in San Luis Obispo between the SLO Blues and the East LA Dodgers. Earlier I mentioned how much I loved the trend of collegiate, amateur teams running their clubs like minor league teams. In SLO they have been running the Blues with more or less this philosophy for years. They don't go as far as many teams do, but they have a strong community presence and are rewarded with above average fan support that makes a game at SLO Stadium a great experience.

San Luis Obispo Stadium is a simple and well maintained ballpark at the bottom of a hill in Sinsheimer Park. The seating bowl of about 800 box seats stretching from base to base and a grassy berm behind the box seats works it's way up the hillside. The hill is topped by a the entrance gates, press box, restrooms, a spartan concessions stand, a BBQ pit and a beer garden.

The view from the ballpark is spectacular. The rolling hills of the central California coast spread out in the distance with neighborhoods and humongous homes crawling up them. Directly beyond the fences are some public batting cages, the SLO school district bus barn and, most importantly, train tracks. I love a stadium that has a train run right behind it...

The crowd wasn't huge by any means, there were probably 750-800 people there that night. But the people that were there were loud and very much into the game. And the crowd was very diverse. College students, drunk high school kids, Little Leaguers, hardcore baseball fans, player's parents, couples, local radio celebrities. They were all there and they were all devoted Blues fans.

A great view of the seating bowl and the grassy berm...

The view from the concession stand...

Not everything was perfect, some things were very amateurish. The stadium lacks a proper PA system so the Blues bring in a DJ with his own speakers to play music during the game. It worked out OK on this night, but I could see where there would be problems on other nights. Plus, I doubt they have him there all the time. And the PA announcer had great energy and was actually pretty funny, but some of the things he said weren't appropriate for a family atmosphere. I personally didn't mind, but I would understand if someone complained.

Also, the restrooms were atrocious. The men's room has the worst trough that I have ever seen. And it was obvious that nobody checks in to see if the restroom is clean and stocked. Pretty disgusting overall. Making sure the restrooms are clean is one of the easiest things to do and leaves a big impression on me.

I had no idea what to expect because I couldn't find any pictures online and the Blues website is basic and unhelpful (I don't understand why teams don't devote more time to their websites, get with the times people!), so I was pleasantly surprised to find as nice a stadium as this. The positives outweigh the negatives and overall SLO Stadium is a great place to see a baseball game. Bring a chair or a picnic blanket with you and sit on the berm and you will be hard pressed to find a more comfortable ballpark experience.

I know this is a logo blog and not a stadium blog, so I guess I should say something about the Blues logo. At first glance it is easy to dismiss it as being lame. But when I saw it in person in the window of a tavern downtown complete with a huge schedule and jerseys and caps in one of the best promotional displays I have ever seen, it made a big difference and now I quite like it.

The San Luis Obispo Blues are a great example of what a little bit of effort can do for a baseball team on a limited budget. Many teams have a nice ballpark but you still have to get out in the community and promote your games and put on a good show for the people who come. The Blues definitely do that. We had a great time and were really impressed and have become big fans because of it. Go Blues!

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At 1:20 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love SLO. I graduated from poly in 2000.

At 2:34 PM, Blogger Monte Gordon said...

I played for the blues back in 1980..Monte Gordon...we went to the semi-pro world series in Witchita after beating the Santa Maria indians...it was a great experience for me and my brother and teamates...love the site

At 12:57 PM, Anonymous arnie said...

Things are looking up at the stadium since this piece was posted. The bathrooms still stink but the PA system is adequate and the team is pretty dang good. Worth a trip to The Sheim for sure.


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