Dow Diamond Review

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The BallParkGuide.com Review of Dow Diamond Rating: 5
by Malcolm MacMillan
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Highlights
  • Dow Diamond has capacity of 5,500
  • Named Baseball Digest's best new park of '07
Dow Diamond is home to the Midwest League's Great Lakes Loons, who are affiliated with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Travel far and wide and you might not find a Minor League ballpark as perfect as Dow Diamond. Sure, virtually every ballpark has a long list of charms and many are nearly perfect. But there's something extra special about the home of the Loons. Baseball Digest named Dow Diamond the best new ballpark of 2007 and a visit to this facility will quickly have you agreeing with that distinction.

On your drive to Midland, you'll pass by miles of farms and forest, and as soon as you approach Dow Diamond, you'll see the nature theme continue. There's plenty of green space around the park, and the 168 solar panels mounted to the left of the rear gate are a testament to the organization's commitment to the environment. Step through the gates of Dow Diamond and you aren't walking into a concrete bowl; there's a ton of green inside the ballpark, not just outside it.

Dow Diamond has a capacity of 5,500 for baseball, but the park's seating bowl and suites don't accommodate that many fans. Instead, there are ample grass berms -- throughout much of the outfield and down each base line -- on which fans and families can lounge while enjoying the action on the field.

The field dimensions are 332 feet to left field, 375 feet to left-center, 400 feet to center field, 373 feet to right-center and 325 feet to right field. The outfield fence ranges from nine to 13 feet, depending on its location. The park's 17-by-35-foot LED video board, located in right-center, is one of the nicest you'll find in Class-A ball.

The naming rights are owned by Dow Chemical Company, which is headquartered in Midland. In fact, the Dow facility is visible from Dow Diamond and the company's first world headquarters, which was demolished in 2006, was adjacent to the ballpark. The warning track is partly composed of crushed red brick from that building.

Other key, notable features of Dow Diamond include the two large fire pits in the outfield and the two enclosed fireplaces in the home plate concourse -- perfect for gathering around during a cool, spring evening. And if you can't live without technology, Dow Diamond has free Wi-Fi for its guests. Look for the connection on your device, connect for free and contact your friends to tell them about the great time you're having.

Dow Diamond has two parking lots. The front lot is for pass holders, while the rear is for the rest of the fans.
Although the lot is not overly large, it's clearly marked with banners to help you remember where you left your vehicle.
A well-maintained walkway winds its way through the parking lot toward the rear gate of the ballpark.
Dow Diamond is surrounded by plenty of green space, including a field behind the batter's eye perfect for playing catch or enjoying a pre-game picnic.
Make your way around Dow Diamond's exterior and you'll be impressed with how well the grounds are maintained by staff.
If you arrive at the ballpark early, take the time to enjoy the sights outside the park before you enter it.
Loons games are broadcast on the local ESPN affiliate, 100.9. Tune it after the game to hear the wrap-up show.
In addition to ample green space, Dow Diamond has a walkway that winds its way around the ballpark, well below the outfield concourse.
The home plate entry, which is adjacent to the Loon Loft team shop, is next to the pass holders' lot. You'll probably enter through the right field gate.
The right field gate is accessible via the main parking lot at the rear of Dow Diamond.
The ballpark's ticket office is located just to the right of the right field gate.
There's no questioning the organization's commitment to the environment; just look for the solar panels near the right field gate as proof.
Much of the seating as Dow Diamond is on grass berms, which are perfect for families and groups alike.
Once you enter the right field gate, you climb a set of stairs and wind up just beyond the right field fence.
One of the first sights you notice upon reaching the outfield concourse is one of two large fire pits, which add to the park's atmosphere.
Lou E's Lookout is a large, fenced-in kids' play area located down the first base concourse.
Lou E's Lookout has numerous staff members working in it to ensure the safety of your children as they play.
The seating at Dow Diamond is comprised of box seats. There are no bleachers here.
The concourse down the first base line has ideal features such as picnic tables that fans can use to enjoy their meal before returning to their seats.
Large, comfortable chairs are situated at various spots along the first base concourse.
There's no missing the Loons' affiliation with the Dodgers. It's proudly marked with a banner on the right field fence.
As you walk down the first base concourse, look for the historical plaque marking the first location of Dow world headquarters.
Pier 47, located on the first base side, is a small area reserved for groups.
The home plate concourse is covered overhead but open to the field, allowing you to keep an eye on the action.
Numerous displays along the concourse celebrate the team's history as well as highlight baseball in Midland.
Two enclosed fireplaces in the home plate concourse are perfect for gathering around on a cold, spring evening.
Midland dubs itself Dodgertown, Michigan as a tribute to the Loons' parent club.
The Loon Loft team shop is accessible via the home plate concourse and sells a variety of Loons-related items.
The top floor of the Loon Loft is full of jerseys, hats, shirts, jackets and more for men and women.
Walk downstairs in the Loon Loft and you'll see a ton of items for children.
If you look carefully between the video board and the kids' play area, you'll see the Dow Chemical Company plant in the distance.
If you don't like bleacher seating, you're in luck here. The entire seating bowl is made up of box seats.
Whatever you choose to eat, make sure to wash it down with a cup of freshly squeezed lemonade, available in several flavors.
The grass seats are perfect for families and are located throughout the outfield and down the first base line.
Twenty minutes before each game, a large group of Loons makes a point of signing in the vicinity of their first base-side bullpen.
The grass seats down the first base line are so close to the field that they're perfect for watching the action in the bullpen.
Want to catch a foul ball? The wide, open concourse on the first base side is ideal for pop-ups.
The Northern Lights Pavilion on the third base side is a huge group area with picnic tables, covered seating and its own grass berm.
If you plan to visit Dow Diamond with a large group, inquire about renting the Northern Lights Pavilion.
The Northern Lights Pavilion caters to large groups and includes several seating options as well as numerous catering choices.
Lasorda's Landing, named after legendary Dodger Tommy Lasorda, is on the end of the suite level on the third base side.
The video board at Dow Diamond uses LED technology, making it clear and easy to read.
In addition to providing scores, player stats and other information, the video board also plays video clips of the game.
The ballpark's concourse wraps it way around the entire field, including through the outfield and behind the batter's eye.
 

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