For many, when you think of Las Vegas, you most likely don’t think of baseball. Sin City will always be better known for the casinos and night life than it will be for home runs and pitch counts. But I wouldn’t be writing this review of Cashman Field if baseball wasn’t a part of Las Vegas between April and September every year.
Cashman Field will not grab your eyeballs and make your jaw drop. It is old, up front with its intent, but more than adequate for its purpose. Located just a few minutes from both Freemont Street and the new Strip, the stadium is nestled on the back side of the Cashman Center, which is a convention center.
The field is not necessarily unique and if you like Green Monsters, outfield pools, Ray tanks, or apples that pop out of a hat, you’ll be very disappointed in Cashman Field. But if you like straight forward baseball, played on some of the nicest grass in Vegas, and want a breath of fresh air in the desert or a break from the casinos, then you should check out the Las Vegas 51s.
The 51s have been playing at Cashman Field since 1983. Originally the team was called the Stars while they were the AAA affiliate of the San Diego Padres (1983-2000). They became the 51s when the Dodgers became their Big League partners. The 2009 season marked another change as new owners took over and a new affiliation, this time with the Toronto Blue Jays, began. There was a plan to change the team name once again but that seems to have been put on hold. So, for now, the 51s remain at Cashman Field and baseball is alive, if not well, in Sin City.
Cashman Field (regular game capacity between 9 & 10K, but their attendance record is 15,025) has some features that any fan of baseball will like right away. First, there are no obstructed views of the field. That’s key for people who like to walk around and see the game from different angles. The concourse can be traversed, left or right, while keeping one eye on the game and one eye on the refreshments, of which there is a good deal to choose from in the ballpark. You’ll find the usual fare: hot dogs, fries, beer (of all types, including microbrews from Gordon Biersch). And you can also get fresh squeezed lemonade, root beer floats, and of course, the ice cream of the future, Dippin’ Dots (by the way, if Dippin’ Dots has been the ice cream of the future for the past 20 years shouldn’t it just be called ice cream?). The team also promotes $1.00 Menu Mondays and $1.00 Beer Thursdays.
One of the best amenities available to any 51s ticket holder is access to the Club Level Restaurant. Located at the top of the ramp, the restaurant is a nice place to enjoy some food ($8.00 got me rice, chicken, pork chops, a cut of prime rib and a salad) and see the game from the equivalent of a suite. Since there are no sky boxes at Cashman Field, season ticket holders can reserve tables along the glass for a great view from the highest vantage point in the ballpark. The restaurant area also has portions that can be rented out for parties and the staff is friendly and knowledgeable. The one downside to the restaurant is that I found it by accident. If it is mentioned on the 51s website then it is cleverly hidden. It is one of the park’s best attributes and should be made better known.
After you have had your fill of food and your attention is back on the game, you’ll notice some things that more and more parks are going to these days. Beyond the left field wall is the Bud Light Party Deck, an area with a full service bar and seating for up to 100 people in padded chairs. In foul territory, but on the field, is the Bank of America Patio picnic area. Hugging the left field line, it can hold up to 150 people. Both the deck and patio are reserved for groups, with a minimum size of 50 required for Sunday through Thursday games while 100 people are needed to book Friday and Saturday games.
You will also notice that there is a lot of room in foul territory along the right field line from home plate all the way to the wall. For the game I attended, there were at least five pop-ups in that area that would have been outs in most ballparks but there was too much ground to be covered by the players on this field, the dimensions of which are straight forward, if not long. From home plate, the right and left field foul poles are 328' away, the power alleys 364', and dead center a whopping 433'.
There are no whacky angles like what can be found at a myriad of other parks now but the field is open and manageable with a lot of room to roam. Plus there is a 20 foot wall around the entire outfield. I don’t know how many home runs are hit here annually, but I can’t imagine there being record numbers (though in 1996 the Oakland A’s played their first six games here while waiting on renovations to their park to be completed and more home runs were hit here in the first four games than at any other "new" stadium until Yankee Stadium II opened in 2009).
The seats are fairly close to the action, if you don’t count all that foul room. There's a berm in right field where any ticket holder can throw down a blanket and take in the game from the hill, but for my eyes the game is hard to see from out there.
Another oddity, for me, and definitely not directly related to my enjoyment of the game, was the pronounced lack of Vegas Casino advertisements. I would have thought that the team would partner with all the big casinos to help push out-of-towners to their venues. Yet only the Golden Nugget had a big billboard on the left field fence, and the only other big Vegas promoter was Only Vegas (the official website for Las Vegas).
I have two official knocks on the park from a fan’s perspective. One is the sun. Later in the summer it becomes very hard to see the game for the first 10-20 minutes from the first base to right field seats as the sun sets in your line of sight. Coupled with the fouls balls, it can become perilous on that side of the stadium. The other negative is the big scoreboard. It is informative, but there is no place there, or anywhere else, that tells what is going on in other games. I have become spoiled in this information age and I wish that Cashman Field had scores from around the league and the Majors available.
Cashman Field will not win you over with state of the art bits and bobbles, but the pleasantries of baseball are just as evident. From beer and snack vendors trolling the aisles to weekend firework displays after the games, a Skyy Bar with plenty of drinks to choose from and a small Kids Zone along the third base line behind the seating area, there are lots of reasons to check out a game at this Pacific Coast League stadium.
Location and Parking
Cashman Field is located on Las Vegas Boulevard, which is also home to The Strip of casinos for which the city is famous (or infamous) for. But what everyone refers to as the Las Vegas Strip is actually three miles south of the stadium, which is much closer to old school downtown Las Vegas. The stadium is just a quarter mile from US 95. McCarran International Airport is about 15 minutes away.
A large sloping parking lot runs parallel to the stadium's first base side.