Aviators Stadium
Loves Park, Illinois
Year Opened
2006

Current Team
Rockford Riverhawks

Affiliate
None

League
Frontier League

Capacity
4,246

Location Map

My Grades
Stadium C+ Atmosphere A- Concessions B

Photos taken in 2009
While I had been enjoying some of the new Frontier League parks, they are now all becoming a bit too similar and I’m not sure that the template they are using works that well. Road Ranger Stadium, located in Loves Park (not Rockford), is built along the same lines as other FL parks in Sauget, O’Fallon, Avon, and Traverse City, but does doesn’t have any of the character that those parks possess. It is a comfortable and relaxing place to take in a game and is perfectly functional, but there is nothing that makes it memorable. Located right off of I-90 north of Rockford, the ballpark was built in an open field, with basically nothing surrounding it. The gray brick exterior with an arched entryway does make Road Ranger Stadium attractive for passerbys. Unfortunately, the inside of the park is a bit drab and could use an infusion of color. Fans enter directly onto the spacious concourse which overlooks the playing field. The concourse, however, does not ring the entire park, a feature I like to see at new parks. The main structure of the ballpark is just a single deck (no luxury boxes here) containing two concession stands, a team store, and a single set of bathrooms. The press box is a separate structure located along the concourse, just to the third base side of home plate. Seating here is all blue fold downs. There is no general admission or berm seating. An all-you-can-eat pavilion is located along the third base side along with several picnic tents. Also, behind the right field fence is a picnic / grill area which is open to the public. While I’m sure some love that all the seats are close to the field (there are just 10 rows of seats in all sections), I’m not a fan of this design. For the sections of seats that are located past the dugouts, the sightlines are lousy. It is especially true at Road Ranger Stadium where none of the sections are angled in towards the infield. So if you’re sitting in the last section (near the foul pole), your seats are pointed directly towards center field. Not ideal for watching a baseball game. Concessions here are well varied and reasonably priced. Some of the unique items they offer include pork chop sandwiches, Italian beef, and Culver’s frozen custard. The atmosphere on the whole is very laid back, making for a relaxing night at the park. The sound system is not cranked too loud and the sound effects are kept to a minimum. Also, the PA announcer is lively without being too over the top and keeps the focus on the game. Several between inning games are contested including the mascot bike race, the chicken toss, and the “Dress like a Riverhawk”. The only complaint I have with the atmosphere is the mascot, Rocko (an ugly bird-like creature). For one whole inning he teased the crowd with t-shirts. This allowed kids to scream and adults to be annoyed. There is no need for this type of behavior while the game is being played. A kid’s play area is located in the left field corner. Included is the “Riverhawks Express”, a train which takes fans on a short trip around the parking lot. This is a neat idea, though I’m not sure what the point is exactly. The one other complaint I have with this ballpark is the complete lack of covering anywhere. If it’s hot and you want shade and or it’s raining and you want cover, there is none to be found. This to me is a serious design flaw. Road Ranger Stadium is a functional ballpark, which is an improvement over its predecessor, Marinelli Field. But the lack of much character makes it a rather forgettable park.
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