Kindrick Field is a classic Montana stadium, with a wooden covered grandstand the focal point of the stadium. It’s a fairly compact facility, so you’re never too far away from the action. And with the city and a nearby mountain serving as the backdrop past the outfield fence, you could argue that Kindrick Field is also a rather scenic place to take in a game.
Year Built: 1939
Dimensions: 335L, 400C, 325R
League: Pioneer League (rookie)
Parent: Milwaukee Brewers
Ticket Prices (2009): TBA
Parking: There’s free, abundant parking adjacent to the stadium.
Address/Directions: 1300 N. Ewing St., Helena. From the I-15 freeway, take the Cedar Street exit and proceed westward. Cedar Street turns into Main Street. After a few miles, look to your left at Memorial Park. You can also head north on Ewing Steet from Lyndale.
The design of the stadium is pretty basic. Most of the seating is in the main grandstand, which is partially covered and features theater-style seats and drink holders throughout. Down the first-base line there is a set of bleachers, while down the third-base line there’s a party deck above the dugout, a hot tub, and more bleachers. Before the Brewers committed to move to Helena in 2004, the city agreed to make some changes to the ballpark, and most of them fell under the general “sprucing up the park” category: Concrete was laid down the first-base and part of the third-base side; siding was placed over the reserved seats over the home dugout as well as on the exterior portion of the bleachers on the third- and first-base sides; the whole ballpark was repainted; the home and visiting clubhouses were recarpeted, and the shower areas on both clubhouses were redone; a new clubhouse was constructed for the Legion program; new seats were installed; and the main walkway in the grandstand was re-surfaced. More upgrades were performed in 2008, and more are scheduled for 2009.
The improvements certainly improved the look of Kindick Field, which was looking fairly run down when the previous Brewers left town. All in all, Kindrick Field is a comfortable place to view a game — nothing too outstanding, but certainly more comfortable than many fields its size throughout the minors.
The concessions are basic. Behind the grandstand is the main concession facility, where you can find hot dogs ($2), brats ($3.50), popcorn ($2), nachos ($2.75), peanuts ($2.75), various candies, expensive pop ($2.50/$3.75) and a rather expensive bottled water ($2.75). A grille behind the first-base bleachers features burgers ($3.25), cheeseburgers ($3.50), teriyaki-chicken sandwiches ($3.75) and footlongs ($4). Separate stands behind the grandstand offer snow-cones ($2.50), while three stands behind the grandstand offer beer — Lite and local microbrews Brewers Homerun Lager or Miners Gold from Sleeping Giant Brewing. Finally, between the grandstand and the bleachers on the first-base side is a Papa John’s pizza booth.
WHERE TO STAY
There are no hotels within walking distance of the ballpark, so you’ll need to drive no matter what. Most of the hotels in town are near I-15, including the Wingate Inn, Comfort Inn, Hampton Inn, Days Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Fairfield Inn or the Jorgenson Inn. The ballpark is also close to downtown Helena, where you can find the Holiday Inn Helena, the Red Lion Colonial Inn and the Great Northern Best Western Hotel, which features a carousel.
FOR THE KIDS
During our visit entertainment was provided by a visiting mascot from the University of Montana. The regular Brewers mascots are Lewis the Lion and Clark the Cougar, who spend quite a bit of time in the stands. There’s not a dedicated play area for kids, but there is a playground right outside the stadium.
BEFORE/AFTER THE GAME
History is the name of the game in Helena. Yes, Helena is Montana’s state capital, but much of what’s interesting in the city had to do with its raucous past.
Downtown Helena is also known as Last Glance Gulch, A must visit is The Parrot, a Montana candy store dating back to 1922 that featuring a old-fashioned soda fountain and homemade ice cream.
Located just north of Last Glance Gulch is Reeder’s Alley, which dates back to the 1870s. The area is significant because it was built of stone and brick at a time when most Montana buildings were constructed of wood. Stone-mason Lewis Reeder built 23 units, and they were used as miner’s cabins. Today most of these buildings are used for offices, specialty shops and residential, and also located within the area are the Pioneer Cabin (212 S. Park Av.), which dates back to 1864 and is open as a museum.
The Montana Historical Society (Sixth and Roberts, east of the Capitol building) is a great place to get the entire history of the state and the city in one fell swoop. There are permanent exhibits explaining Montana’s American Indian roots and takes us through World War II, but the best exhibit is a temporary one (which runs through 2006), Treasure State Treasures, a sampling (some historically significant, some just interesting) of the society’s holdings. There’s a small admission fee, but it’s worth it. If you want a good overview of Helena history, take the Last Chance Tour Train, which leaves hourly from the Historical Society. It’s not really a train, but rather a truck that looks like a train, but the kids will love the descriptions of Helena’s colorful past.
If you’re looking for good food, be warned that Helena is not a very good restaurant town, unless you want to spend most of your time eating in chain restaurants like Applebee’s. Still, if you do some looking you can find some good food. If you’re traveling with kids, drop by the MacKenzie River Pizza Company (1110 Road Runner Dr.; 406/443-0033). Mackenzie River has several locations in Montana, and it’s well-known for its gourmet sourdough-crust pizzas. The kids will appreciate their own custom pizzas, while adults can sample from an extensive list of Montana and Idaho microbrews. In fact, Helena is a center of microbrewing in Montana, with the Lewis & Clark Brewery, Harvest Moon Brewing (in nearby Belt) and Blackfoot River Brewery all supplying handcrafted beers and ales to local restaurants. Those interested in beer will also want to visit the Brewhouse Pub and Grille (939 Getchell), Helena’s only brewpub.
A good breakfast spot is the Wheat Montana Bakery & Deli (2049 N. Main), where strong coffee and flaky pastries rule the day.