Cooley Law School Stadium Review
Review of Cooley Law School Stadium Rating: 4
by Malcolm MacMillan
- Cooley Law School Stadium is the largest in the Midwest League
- Field has a unique shape due to urban environment
On top of having the smartest ballpark name in baseball, Cooley Law School Stadium has a lot of things going for it. Its location in downtown Lansing means there are a number of things to see and do before the game and once the gates open, you’ll be impressed at what a great park this is. From the ample grass seating in the outfield to the fan-friendly atmosphere, it’s definitely worth checking out the Lugnuts if you’re in the area.
The ballpark opened in April of 1996 and has been the home of the Lugnuts ever since they relocated to Lansing. The park was called Oldsmobile Park between 1996 and 2010, and some fans still use this term. The Lugnuts share Cooley Law School Stadium with the Michigan State Spartans, and it was the latter that played the first game in the new facility, back on April 3, 1996, when they faced the Michigan Wolverines.
The playing surface at Cooley Law School Stadium is technically known as Jackson Field, after its naming rights were bought by Jackson National Life in 2010. The field is 305 feet to left field, 380 feet to left-center, 395 feet to center, 412 feet to right-center and 305 feet to right field. The unique shape of the field corresponds with the height of the outfield fence, which varies considerably. In each corner, the fence stands 23 feet but is a more standard eight feet in left-center and right-center. In straightaway center, it’s 20 feet tall. The odd heights of the fence (and shape of the field) are to allow the field to sit in its urban setting. When you visit, you’ll see how perfectly the ballpark sits in a city block, but with very little room to spare.
Cooley Law School Stadium is the biggest park in the Midwest League, thanks largely to its large lawn seating area in the outfield. The park’s main seating area gives it a capacity of 7,527, but several thousand more fans can fit on the lawn. The Lugnuts are proud of the ballpark’s accessibility, and it’s noted on plaques in different locations. The team calls Cooley Law School Stadium the most accessible park in the Minor Leagues.