In April 1995 what has come to be known as Neuroscience Group Field at Fox Cities Stadium first opened for business. At its onset, the Grand Chute, Wisconsin (the mailing address is Appleton, but the stadium is actually located in Grand Chute) stadium was known as Fox Cities Stadium. In 2007 it became Time Warner Cable Field at Fox Cities Stadium. The stadium then took on its present name in 2014. For brevity’s sake, we’re going to refer to it as Neuroscience Group Field or Neuroscience Field for short. The stadium seats 5,900 fans and is found right off of I-41.
Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (1995-2019, Midwest League; 2021-present, High-A Central)
May 8th, 2021
Beloit Snappers 3 vs Wisconsin Timber Rattlers 4
Neuroscience Field has pretty much everything you want for a minor league ballpark. Coming into the park there is convenient and reasonably priced parking, space for tailgating, and the park is easily navigable. Tickets are inexpensive and we had good seats on the first base line behind the dugout. There is a decent selection of food and drink options, and a variety of activities throughout the game to add to the entertainment.
A few things that make the Timber Rattlers experience stand out are the little things that are unique to the team. The Timber Rattlers have not one, but two mascots who can be seen in the stands throughout the game and participating in fan-driven activities. Fang is their primary mascot, and then they have Whiffer, who is possibly my favorite baseball mascot. Whiffer is brightly colored and has a long nose with a baseball at the end. Neuroscience Field is also home to the Bratzooka, which gets driven along the warning track and launches foil-wrapped bratwurst at the fans. Neuroscience Field does a lot of giveaways throughout the game, and the regular fans clearly love it.
There are also a couple of things about the stadium that are a bit of a miss. The food, while not as expensive as MLB stadium food, is largely not worth the cost. They do have a variety of choices, but many of them are better in theory than execution and lack in flavor. The stadium itself is also designed in such a way that there is very limited space with protection from the elements. When the weather is nice, it’s perfect, but the weather is certainly a variable that can totally change your experience there. The quality of baseball is sometimes not great, but it is a good change of pace to watch younger players developing skills.
Overall, Neuroscience Field offers a fun, family-friendly experience that I think would be a great introductory baseball experience for young fans.
In actuality, this was our second trip to Neuroscience Field. This one was much better than the first, mainly due to the weather. Neuroscience Field is a stadium where the quality of your experience very much depends on where you are sitting and the time of day you’re at the game. Last time it was a mid-afternoon game where the sun was beating down on us the whole time. It was still fun, but kind of exhausting because of how overbearingly hot it was all game long. This time the sun was out, but it was in the 60s. The end result was a very pleasant day at the ballpark.
As is always the case in Wisconsin, there’s plenty of room in the parking lot to tailgate or have a game of catch before the game. Once inside the stadium is both cozy and spacious. Basically, it’s the exact size you’re looking for in a minor league stadium. No matter where you sit you feel like you are right on top of the action. When you go to get concessions you don’t miss a second of the game nor does it feel like there are a ton of people to push through while trying to get said concessions.
Speaking of concessions, this is one area that is tough to judge. The traditional concessions offered are good and right up my alley. They do offer plenty of more exotic options, but I often find those to be more of a swing and miss than anything else. They’re trying for something different, but as was the case with the grilled cheeseburger that doesn’t always equate to good food.
A big problem, with this visit, in particular, was the lack of coordination between the Timber Rattlers’ website and what was actually available in the stadium. The information about concessions, giveaways, rosters, and more was not the same on the website as what was found in the stadium. Not the biggest deal, but I do believe that a big part of good customer service is having your ballpark offerings match what you list on your team website.
The quality of play is hit or miss. I know that’s an empty statement, but it’s true. Minor League Baseball isn’t engineered, any longer at least, for the competitive experience. The in-game action is more about players getting their reps in than actually trying to win. That’s not to say you don’t become invested in the game. However, a game at Neuroscience Field is definitely one where it’s more about the experience for your group than the result of the game.
Overall, I like Neuroscience Field. That’s not lukewarm praise, it is a fun day at the ballpark. It’s not reinventing the ballpark experience or anything like that, but it doesn’t need to. On the whole, a day at Neuroscience Field is a day well spent, just remember to always check the weather before deciding to go to a game.
Lead photo courtesy of Emilie Thompson