Team: Springfield Cardinals
Location: 955 E. Trafficway St. in Springfield, Missouri
★ History: Completed in 2004 by late Springfield hotel magnate John Q. Hammons, Hammons Field is a downtown landmark. The stadium was built before a minor-league baseball team was secured; eventually, Hammons persuaded the St. Louis Cardinals to purchase a Texas-based baseball franchise to call the field home. The franchise became the Springfield Cardinals, a team that has been delighting local minor-league fans ever since. Since forming in 2005, the Springfield Cardinals – affectionately known as “Baby Birds” by some St. Louis Cardinals fans – have drawn high attendance numbers and claimed an AA Texas League championship in 2012.
★ Must-Try Eats: Fans know to have dessert first at Hammons: Specifically, the from-scratch funnel cakes and waffle cones at Cardinals Creamery. Cones and cakes can both be topped with local Hiland Dairy ice cream – in flavors like chocolate, vanilla and mint chip – in addition to whipped cream and chocolate syrup. Fans seeking savory fare should head to the Redbird Roost on the stadium’s upper level for a heaping all-you-can-eat portion of loaded nachos topped with fresh pico de gallo, jalapeños and nacho cheese sauce. Feeling adventurous? Try the new Flamin’ Hot Cheetos Dog at The Dog House, located near the first-base concourse. The hot dog features a juicy quarter-pound frank smothered in spicy nacho cheese and topped with Flamin’ Hot Cheetos.
★ Must-Try Drinks: Springfield’s robust craft-brewery scene is well represented at Hammons Field; guests can choose from local favorites such as White River Brewing Co.’s C-Street Pale Ale, Springfield Brewing Co.’s hoppy Greene Ghost IPA or Lost Signal Brewing Co.’s Smoked Pecan Porter. (Photo by Brandon Alms)