O'Brien Field

O'Brien Field is a baseball field located in downtown Peoria, Illinois. It is the home of the Peoria Chiefs, the Class A affiliate of the Chicago Cubs; the Chiefs previously played at Meinen Field. The college baseball team of Bradley University also uses the field. The first game scheduled for the stadium was May 24, 2002, Chiefs vs. Kane County Cougars. O'Brien Auto Team has the naming rights to the facility.

Official groundbreaking ceremonies for the $23 million multi-purpose stadium took place on August 16, 2001. The new stadium includes a Trans-Lux video screen in right field, a state-of-the-art sound system, 300 Internet stations and the latest in telecom equipment. The stadium is built to hold 6000 people. About $1 million had been invested in audiovisual equipment, versus $10,000 worth at the old Meinen Field.

The field's official website calls the ballpark "Central Illinois' largest outdoor sports & entertainment facility."

The Chiefs have been experimenting with selling the naming rights to businesses. As they have been unable to find a permanent sponsor, the club has worked out a plan to sell naming rights for a game or set of games that include signage on top of each dugout, mentions in the Chiefs radio broadcasts and over the park's public address system, a 30-second commercial on the video board, 50 tickets to that night's game and the opportunity to distribute promotional material to fans.

In 2011, O'Brien Field played host to the IHSA Class 1A and 2A baseball state finals. This was the first year the games were played at O'Brien.

The field

O'Brien Field's sod has an eight-inch (203 mm) deep root zone of 90% sand and 10% Dakota peat for nutrition. The high concentration of sand naturally relieves soil compaction.

Beneath the sand and peat mix are six inches (152 mm) of gravel. Running through the gravel are drainage tiles that run from home plate to center field. A huge sump pump beyond center field then drains into the city sewer system.

The makeup of the pitcher's mound and batter's boxes are almost 100% clay because it packs better and holds moisture well. The rest of the infield skin area is around 80% clay and 20% sand.

The field will hold up to five inches (127 mm) of rain an hour, another advantage of O’Brien Field. The only way a game could be rained out would be due to a torrential downpour during a game.

The field is mowed every day during homestands, trimmed to 1–1¼ inches high. It takes less than an hour to cut the outfield grass with a 72-inch (1,800 mm) cut mower. A walk-behind mower is used for the infield.

The price tag for the field itself was around $450,000.

Luxury suites

O'Brien Field accommodates 20 luxury suites. Examples include:

  • Peoria attorney Jay Janssen’s suite — "A large, ornate Oriental rug covers most of the green-carpeted suite, which includes six candelabra wall sconces, a chandelier in the center, cherry wood cabinetry and chair rail, decorative border print, a green marble-topped table, a rose-colored granite pedestal bar overlooking the field and burgundy leather stools and chairs. In the kitchenette, a full-sized refrigerator is accompanied by a full-size oven and a sink with a gold-plated faucet." according to the Peoria Journal Star
  • Caterpillar, Inc. owns a double suite that is primarily used to entertain the customers and VIP guests the company hosts in the community.

Other than the five fixed concession stands there are about 40 mobile carts around the park. The Chiefs' concessionaire is Sportservice from Buffalo, New York. Other stadiums the company services include Busch Stadium in St. Louis and U.S. Cellular Field and Soldier Field in Chicago.

Aside from the usual fare of hot dogs, cheeseburgers, nachos, and pizza, specialty foods such as Vienna Beef Chicago-style hot dogs, Dippin' Dots, and Wisconsin cheeses are also available.

Building Activity

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