Lewis & Clark Park
Sioux City, IA
Review by Gary
Located on the banks of the Missouri River separating Nebraska from Iowa, the Sioux City Explorers are a member of the American Association of Independent Baseball. From their inception in 1993, the Explorers have played their home games south of Sioux City at Lewis and Clark Park. This quaint ballpark opened in 1993 and holds 3,631 fans that travel from far and wide as the states of Minnesota and South Dakota are also within a short drive of this ballpark in northwest Iowa.
One of the smallest pro ballparks I have ever visited, Lewis and Clark has a modest grandstand that runs from 1st to 3rd base with a press box above the seats. A picnic area down the 3rd base line brings fans right up to the foul line to see the cleverly named Explorers (or X’s as the locals call them). This wooden field-level section is perilously close to the field, bringing with it the threat of a line drive to the back of the head if you turn your back to the action. This BBQ section has no protection and is actually behind the bullpen, which IS protected with an 8-foot fence to keep the warming battery shielded.
There are two General Admission sections of bleachers down each foul line, but no seating beyond the outfield fence. I’m not sure how hot it ever gets in Sioux City, but there is absolutely no cover at Lewis & Clark Park and there is no view of the field from the concession stands on the concourse. Fans must climb up stairs from behind the stands to a walkway, which then takes you either up or down to the reserved seats.
I liked the fact that the dugouts were actually dug out of the earth requiring the players to step down to get to the bench. This may not sound like much, but it seems as if most dugouts these days are at field level, taking away from the tradition and literal meaning of the name. The view beyond the outfield is a not-too-inspiring stretch of Interstate 29, but one may wonder between innings how the famous explorers actually blazed that path along the Missouri River over 200 years ago through this wilderness. Perhaps they stopped in for a game? A mere 2 1/2 drive from the must-see tourist stop that is The Great Corn Palace, Lewis & Clark Park provides a nice break if you’re on a cross-country road trip.