Colorado Springs, CO
Review by Mike
UCHealth Park, formerly Security Service Field, is the home of the Rocky Mountain Vibes of the Pioneer League, but when these photos were taken it was the home of the AAA Colorado Springs Sky Sox. So, when the AAA franchise moved to San Antonio and the Short Season Class A franchise moved in from Helena, MT, they went from having one of the great minor league team names to, well... Sky Sox was really a great name, considering that the ballpark is the highest professional stadium in North America at 6,531 feet above sea level.
The ballpark is east of the city, set among a residential and shopping neighborhood, which makes for easy access, but takes away from what might be a good downtown vibe, as it were. There is a nice view of the nearby front range of the Rocky Mountains beyond the 1st base stands and Pikes Peak is ever present, just to the west.
The ballpark itself is rather pedestrian, from the "find a hill, carve out a semi-circular bowl, pour some concrete and bolt in some seats and benches" school of ballpark construction that was popular in the 1980s, when this stadium was built. There is a boxy luxury/press box structure above the concourse wrapping from 1st base to 3rd and the view beyond the outfield is of a growing housing community.
There is a grass berm down the 3rd base line where kids wait to chase down foul balls. The PA plays the sounds of seagulls crying "Mine! Mine!" from "Finding Nemo" as the pre-pubescent swarms stumble and tumble down the hill trying to secure their souvenir. Hey, at least they're watching the game!
Down the right field line is a terraced picnic area with a stand-alone clubhouse that looks a little odd and is generally off-limits to the public, reserved as it is for private parties. Strangely, when there is no party, they still don't let anyone onto the nice terrace to sit at the tables and eat. They actually pay someone to stand there and keep people from being comfortable in an empty section of the ballpark.
This ballpark was well out-of-date for AAA baseball, surpassed by most of it's peers, and attendance was generally poor in April and May when Colorado Springs can be a bit frosty, so I understand the franchise moving to Texas. The altitude also makes it tough to evaluate top end prospects just one step from the majors.
Still, the park is a bit oversized for short-season Class A, and now the independent Frontier League, plus it's quite a long bus ride from the rest of the Pioneer League, so it will be interesting to see if the new team is still singing "Good Vibrations" in a couple of years. I hope they succeed, as Colorado Springs is a nice town that deserves minor league baseball and UCHealth Park is a comfortable, if not spectacular, place to watch a ballgame.
The Colorado Springs Sky Sox AAA franchise moved to San Antonio, Texas at the end of the 2018 season. Their last game was played on September 3, 2018, a loss to Oklahoma City that eliminated the Sky Sox from playoff contention. The photo above is the last pitch in Sky Sox history.