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UCHealth Park (formerly known as Sky Sox Stadium from its opening until 2005 and as Security Service Field from then until 2019) is a professional baseball stadium on the eastern edge of Colorado Springs, Colorado. The stadium was the home of the Colorado Springs Sky Sox, a Triple-A Minor League Baseball team of the Pacific Coast League from 1988 to 2018. Beginning in 2019, it hosts the Rocky Mountain Vibes of the Pioneer League.

UCHealth Park
2009 Security Service Field.jpgSecurity Service Field satellite view.png
Former namesSky Sox Stadium (1988-2005)
Security Service Field (2005-2019)
Location4385 Tutt Boulevard
Colorado Springs, Colorado, US
Coordinates38°53′39.02″N 104°42′37.12″W / 38.8941722°N 104.7103111°W / 38.8941722; -104.7103111Coordinates: 38°53′39.02″N 104°42′37.12″W / 38.8941722°N 104.7103111°W / 38.8941722; -104.7103111
OwnerElmore Sports Group
OperatorElmore Sports Group
Capacity8,500[1]
Field sizeLeft Field: 350 feet (107 m)
Left-Center Field: 385 feet (117 m)
Center Field: 410 feet (125 m)
Right-Center Field: 385 feet (117 m)
Right Field: 350 feet (107 m)
SurfaceGrass
Construction
Broke groundJanuary 10, 1988[citation needed]
OpenedJune 18, 1988[2]
Construction costUS$3.4 million[2]
($7.84 million in 2018 dollars[3])
ArchitectHNTB[2]
General contractorBassett Construction Company[4]
Tenants
Colorado Springs Sky Sox (PCL) 1988–2018
Rocky Mountain Vibes (PL) from 2019

HistoryEdit

Before the completion of Sky Sox Stadium, the Sky Sox played at Spurgeon Stadium, a public field at Memorial Park in downtown Colorado Springs which had hosted the original Sky Sox. Sky Sox Stadium opened late for the 1988 season at a cost of $3.4 million[2] and remained the home of the Sky Sox until their 2018 departure.[5]

The Sky Sox won Pacific Coast League championships in 1992 and 1995, and attendance was generally good; however, at the end of the 2004 season, facing declining turnout and an assortment of problems that showed the ballpark's age (capped by the center-field scoreboard, on which the ball, strike, and out indicators were non-functional), team executives decided to renovate the ballpark.[6][7] Changes included an improved sound system, a more modern scoreboard with video screen,[8] a new walkway leading to the gates, a banquet facility at the end of the right field concourse, and a readout in the right field wall displaying the speed of each pitch.

Along with these changes, the park's naming rights were sold to Security Service Federal Credit Union.[9] The naming rights deal expired after the 2018 season,[5] and on May 8, 2019, it was announced that UCHealth, as part of a sponsorship deal with the Vibes, had purchased the naming rights to the field, giving it its current UCHealth Park name.[10]

The current attendance record was set on July 4, 2004 when the Sky Sox lost to the Omaha Royals 6-5 in front of 9,505 fans.[11]

TriviaEdit

The names of some of the great players in Sky Sox history ring the upper deck. Known as the members of the Sky Sox Hall of Fame, they are Luis Medina (played 1988–1991), Sam Hairston (played 1950–1956), Charlie Manuel (managed 1990–1992), Alan Cockrell (played 1990, 1992, 1994–1996), Norm "Bulldog" Coleman (non-player who helped the Sky Sox succeed financially, inducted 1996), Ryan Hawblitzel (played 1993–1996), Trenidad Hubbard (played 1993–1996), and Brad Mills (managed 1993–1996). All historical players have their jerseys retired and statistics shown in the Hall of Fame Bar & Grill located within UCHealth Park.

UCHealth Park is 6,531 feet above sea level, making it the highest professional baseball park in North America.[12] The stadium faces east, toward the plains and the Springs Ranch housing development, meaning that fans cannot see the Rocky Mountains to the west. This is due to the fact the sun sets over the mountains and would be a distraction to batters if the stadium faced west.

Covering most of the first base line is the Coors VIP Picnic Terrace. It holds nearly a thousand people and is the site of many weddings and other special occasions.[13] At the end of the right field foul line, there is an 8-person hot tub that is recognized as "The Highest Hot Tub in Professional Sports". Guests are served champagne and acknowledged on the main display.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Colorado Springs Sky Sox". 2017 Pacific Coast League Sketch & Record Book. Minor League Baseball. 2017. p. 13.
  2. ^ a b c d Knight, Graham (August 9, 2009). "Security Service Field – Colorado Springs Sky Sox". Baseball Pilgrimages. Retrieved September 22, 2011.
  3. ^ Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. "Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–". Retrieved January 2, 2019.
  4. ^ "Bassett Construction Company Facts Sheet" (PDF). Bassett Construction Company. Retrieved September 22, 2011.
  5. ^ a b Spedden, Zach (April 17, 2019). "Security Service Field to be Renamed". Ballpark Digest. August Publications. Retrieved April 19, 2019.
  6. ^ Summers, Danny (June 6, 2004). "Sky Sox Attendance Grows, but That Still Isn't Saying Much". The Gazette (Colorado Springs). Archived from the original on June 29, 2014. Retrieved May 16, 2014. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  7. ^ "Sky Sox Announce New Park Name, Renovation Plan". The Gazette (Colorado Springs). February 17, 2005. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved May 16, 2014.
  8. ^ "Sky Sox to Install Brand New Scoreboard". Our Sports Central. March 14, 2007. Retrieved February 20, 2014.
  9. ^ Summers, Danny (February 18, 2005). "Sky Sox Sell Stadium Name—Now It's Security Service Field". The Gazette (Colorado Springs). Archived from the original on March 10, 2014. Retrieved March 9, 2014.
  10. ^ Summers, Danny (May 8, 2019). "Rocky Mountain Vibes announce UCHealth Park name for northern Colorado Springs stadium". The Gazette. Retrieved May 8, 2019.
  11. ^ Summers, Danny (July 5, 2004). "Sky Sox Strand 13, Lose in Front of Record Crowd". The Gazette (Colorado Springs). Archived from the original on June 11, 2014. Retrieved May 23, 2012. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  12. ^ Fox, Dan (July 11, 2006). "Security Service Field: Context Matters". skysox.com. Minor League Baseball. Archived from the original on March 2, 2014. Retrieved February 20, 2014.
  13. ^ "Coors VIP Picnic Terrace". skysox.com. Minor League Baseball. February 15, 2010. Retrieved May 16, 2014.

External linksEdit

Events and tenants
Preceded by
Spurgeon Stadium
Home of the
Colorado Springs Sky Sox

1988 – 2018
Succeeded by
(defunct)