Review by Mike
First of all, don't trust your GPS when trying to find "Badlands Big Sticks" in Dickinson, ND. Both Google Maps and your GPS will take you to a strip of tired-looking motels just off the interstate. Finding myself adrift in a sea a cracked asphalt, I was able to locate the ballpark by using the satellite image on Maps to spot the field, then navigate myself there. You have been warned.
Once located, I discovered a very nice little ballpark nestled into the middle of a residential neighborhood. The Badlands Big Sticks of the collegiate summer Independence League have a very nice home field. Although I wasn't able to stay for the game being played that evening, the very friendly staff allowed me to walk around for a few minutes to take these pictures.
The grandstand is small, just the right size for the level of baseball, with some fixed seats behind the plate and along the 3rd base side and a bleacher section by first base. There are a couple of standing areas at the top of the grandstand, each with a small roof and high tables, as well as a number of spots where one can stand by a wide railing, perfect for supporting a beverage cup. I may be misreading the intent, but it appears that much of the stadium is design to allow for comfortable consumption of potent potables, which is probably a good thing considering the searing heat of the day I visited.
The lighting fixtures are supported by lovely wooden poles that must have come from somewhere very far away, as the North Dakota landscape, which features mile after mile of flat emptiness and agricultural fields, seems unlikely to have produced any trees of sufficient grandeur for the purpose.
The infield is made of artificial field turf while the outfield is natural grass. I know that this is becoming more common, but it still looks a little odd to me, but it is well done here as the two blend nicely. There is a little team store on one side and a small concession stand on the other and the place gives the overall sense of a well-maintained, happy place to see a ballgame. Perhaps I will get a chance to stop in for a game the next time I happen to be passing through North Dakota...