The Fox Cities Stadium is, among other things, home to the minor league baseball team the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers. According to the 2001 Midwest League Media Guide and Record Book, the total number of people walking through the turnstiles in 1994 for the Appleton Foxes baseball club was 76,281. In 1995, it ballooned to an incredible 209,159. Two things happened in that time period. The team changed their name from the Appleton Foxes to the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, and the beautiful Fox Cities Stadium was built. Popular opinion states that the stadium had more to do with the increase in attendance than the choice of the name "Timber Rattlers".
Appleton, WI has been home to professional baseball for more than 100 years. Yankee great Alex Rodriguez got his professional start in 1994 as a member of the Foxes. Although America's pastime has remained popular in the Appleton area, it was in that pivotal year of 1994 that management and the board of the directors for the Appleton Foxes determined a new stadium had to be built or they would risk losing professional baseball in the Fox Valley. Goodland Field, built in 1940, needed a million dollars in repairs and updates to bring it up to the expected national standards of Minor League Baseball. There was still no guarantee that sagging attendance figures would rebound, but the gamble paid off. The Fox Cities Stadium was built and the fans responded to the new stadium in its better location and the new logo and team name in record numbers.
It is not surprising to local baseball fans that the 5500 seat Fox Cities Stadium has become a good draw. It is clean and modern looking, and has a nice, if somewhat ordinary design. Like many parks built in this era, it features a concourse which is on top of the main seating area rather than below so that a fan waiting in line for a hot dog and a brew can keep an eye on the game by simply turning around. The press boxes and luxury suite areas have been kept to a minimum.
For a single-A ballpark, there is no shortage of amenities at the Fox Cities Stadium. There is a very nice store to purchase Timber Rattler merchandise and souvenirs. There are picnic areas actually in the stands halfway down each line, as well as a large picnic pavilion which fits underneath the concourse roof just behind the right field stands. There is also a bar and restaurant situated in the concourse that features comfortable air conditioning for the dog days of summer.
There are a few interesting quirks at the Fox Cities Stadium. For example, the light standards are actually mounted in the stadium at the back of the seating area, and the bullpens are just a few steps from the dugouts, wedged into what would normally be seating areas in most ballparks. Despite these modest oddities, the Fox Cities Stadium doesn't possess many features that make it stand apart from the numerous minor league ballparks constructed in the late 80's to middle 90's. The stadium is owned by the Fox Cities Sports Authority, a private nonprofit corporation that governs the facility and also provides funds and scholarships for community-oriented projects.
Although the stadium is primarily used for high school, college and minor league baseball games, it also is no stranger to high profile entertainment acts. The Moody Blues drew more than 8,000 fans to the Fox Cities Stadium as part of a summer festival. The Allman Brothers band and the classic rock outfit Chicago have also performed in concert at the Fox Cities Stadium.
Nestled alongside U.S. 41 just north of the Fox River Mall, the stadium has become a centerpiece to an area that has blossomed into a thriving commercial district that includes numerous hotels, restaurants and shopping outlets. The Fox Cities Stadium has evolved into one of the area's crown jewels when it comes to local tourism and drawing entertainment events.
Fox Cities Stadium
2400 N. Casaloma Drive
Grand Chute, WI 54913