Idaho Falls, ID
Review by Mike
Melaleuca Field is the home of the Idaho Falls Chukars of the Pioneer League. To use one of Gary's favorite adjectives, this is a very quaint little ballpark in a nice town in Idaho. It sits in a residential neighborhood with a public park right next door, complete with a stream. It's all very pleasant.
The stadium itself is minimalist for a relatively new structure, and pretty much a modern rebuild of the previous ballpark that stood on the site, McDermott Field, which I never got to see in person. An attractive brick and steel structure behind home plate houses the press box, luxury boxes and concession stands, while a long aluminum grandstand wraps from line to line in front of it, extending farther down the 3rd base side than the 1st. Fixed seats are available between the dugouts while metal bleachers fill out the rest of the seating.
There are a few fun quirks, like the hot tub near the bullpen on the 1st base side, which I imagine could be quite a distraction to some of the relief pitchers trying to stay focused on the game, depending on who is getting in and out of the tub...
The picnic area down the left field line has an interesting feature that I'd not seen before. At the back of the area, right by the foul pole, is a small stand-alone grandstand with fixed seats so that picnickers can actually SEE the game if they want to. I have always wondered about the practicality of picnic areas because only the people right by the line can actually see the field. This would appear to be a novel solution, however, no one was sitting there and no one at any of the picnic tables appeared to have any interest in the action on the field.
I enjoyed the wall display behind home plate describing the history of baseball in Idaho Falls along with photos of McDermott Field. Melaleuca Field, despite having an unpronounceable name that I cannot remember how to spell, is a nice local stadium, just the right size for independent baseball, and seemingly well supported by the community, as attested to by the nice crowd late in the season. I enjoyed my visit, the pleasant surroundings and the lovely sunset.