Take the family out to the ballpark
Affordable, family entertainment,” Justin Cole, Northwest Arkansas Naturals General Manager said.
In early 2007, ground broke at the corner of Gene George Blvd. and Watkins Ave. to be the new home of the Kansas City Royals’ Double-A affiliate (AA).
The next spring into summer, the Northwest Arkansas Naturals played their very first season at Arvest Ballpark, a fabulous baseball facility. The stadium has a little bit of everything; and it continues to evolve.
With a seating capacity of 6,500 within the stadium as well as an option of watching from just beyond the outfield fence in the grass berm or standing along the rails. Arvest Ballpark is a tremendous place for these young men to play each day, and a great place for families to spend the day together.
“We are always looking for things to have fun with the entire family,” Cole said. “We have the ‘Kids Zone’ with many inflatables, we have the Arvest Ballpark train that does laps around the concourse and we are always trying to be innovative with our food offerings.”
The Naturals play 70 home games from April to September, and a vast majority of those games have promotions. Whether it is a Saturday Night Giveaway, Buck Night, Fireworks Friday, KIDS EAT FREE Family Sunday, the Naturals are always finding ways to give back to their fans.
Kids can hang out with the Northwest Arkansas Naturals mascot, Strike the Sasquatch, and eat delicious Dippin’ Dots while cheering on the Double-A team.
Northwest Arkansas is home to many upcoming, young baseball players who are getting very close to reaching their lifelong dream of becoming a Major League Baseball player.
The Naturals fans have been very blessed to have tremendous players who have played in front of them in their late teens and early-twenties before they became All-Stars and MVPs.
Players such as Salvador Perez, a Natural in 2011, has gone on to become a 5-time MLB All-Star, World Series MVP and 4-time Gold Glove Winner. Eric Hosmer, a Natural in 2010, has become a 3-time Gold Glove winner, 2-time All-Star and World Series hero. And so many more players that are now Kansas City Royals’; Alex Gordon, Mike Moustakas, Danny Duffy and the late Yordano Ventura. As well as players who were traded to other big league clubs who have made an impact. All-Star Wil Myers and Mike Montgomery who was the pitcher last year when the Chicago Cubs beat the curse and won their first World Series since 1908.
Cole has noticed in the recent years, that Arvest Ballpark has been a popular destination for fans from Kansas City who are interested in seeing the Royals’ future players.
In the 10 years as a part of the Royals farm system, the Naturals have not only seen the players on the field grow, but the Northwest Arkansas community grow as well.
“I know, there was progress before we got here, but just the growth in Springdale, Fayetteville, Bentonville and Rogers, has been very cool to see and be a part of,” Cole said. “We are really excited to see where this area is going and excited to be a part of it.”
“The support from the community toward the young players has been there since opening night in 2008,” which Cole still remembers very well.
“Looking back to the first game and what it took to get there, the community supporting the building of the stadium, the team coming here for that opening day and sitting here today in the middle of our tenth season; I always look back at that day as such a great moment,” Cole said.
That moment led to so many huge successes including the growth in Springdale along with Northwest Arkansas as a whole. The Northwest Arkansas Naturals ballgames are a great place to take the whole family to see a successful Minor League team that brought the Texas League Championship to Northwest Arkansas in 2010.
THE GROUND BREAKING
CEREMONY in Springdale for the beginning of construction to build Arvest Ballpark, home of the Northwest Arkansas Naturals. (From left to right) Perry Webb (Springdale Chamber President), Danny Dotson, David Glass (Owner of the Kansas City Royals), Bob Rich, Jr. (Northwest Arkansas Naturals Owner), Jerre Van Hoose (former Springdale Mayor), Eric Edelstein (former Northwest Arkansas Naturals General Manager), Chris Crossland, Ivan Crossland, and Mike McFarland.
Aerial shot of night game at Arvest Ballpark, during the inaugural season for the Northwest Arkansas Naturals
THE NORTHWEST ARKANSAS NATURALS lineup for the National Anthem during the 2008 season.