SoCal Families | Inland Empire 66ers Baseball

By: Megan McClain

Baseball is as American as apple pie and hot dogs—which, coincidentally, are a sweet deal on 50-cent Fridays at San Manuel Stadium.

 

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The Inland Empire 66ers are a Class A minor baseball team in San Bernardino affiliated with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. The 66ers, formerly the San Bernardino Spirit of my youth and later the San Bernardino Stampede, have changed up their Route 66-themed team with a new wrench-wielding mascot to pair with the gregarious hootin’ Bernie.

 

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My family has been going to San Manuel Stadium to catch games for years. It is the perfect way to take the family out for a game of baseball and afford both the peanuts and the Cracker Jacks without breaking the bank.

 

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Tickets start at just $10 for games, and there are regular specials like Thirsty Thursdays ($2, $4 pints and $1 sodas) and 50-cent Fridays, where hot dogs and bread sticks are 50 cents, and lawn admission is just $2.50. Be on the lookout for days with free entry for you or a canine friend as well.

If you’re an Angels fan, you’re also in luck. Since the 66ers are affiliated with the Angels, they have giveaways of special merchandise, offers for free Angels game tickets and the opportunity to see a player rise to stardom in front of your eyes.

 

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I’ve been going to San Manuel Stadium for a while—my kids had their first hot dogs there, and they love taking off their hats for "The Star-Spangled Banner" and chanting “Hey, batter-batter-batter,”  while hinting for cotton candy the next time around. The crowd is always social and friendly—most people love to see kids enjoying the game.

The ballpark is awesome for kids and families, with baseball buddies taking the field with the players before games, and kids (and fun-loving adults) take part in wacky games throughout the game. To try for some on-field fun, sign up for the Kids Club, or check out the booth right inside the park (get there early), and sign up for a chance to race Bernie or another fun game. There are family restrooms all over the park.

 

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The park is small enough you can, in theory, catch a ball anywhere, and small troops of boys can be seen wandering glove in hand for the chance to catch a pop fly—however, the best places for balls seem to be the executive seats past the dugouts (watch out for foul line drives) and the club seats.

 

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If you have energetic kids like mine, you may end up wandering the park a lot with them. I easily spend half the game out of my seat. The stadium is small enough that I can keep an eye on the game while chasing around the little fan. If up walking around, you can find one of the mascots as they walk around the stadium for a high five, or take a pictures with the dance team, who always love the little ones.

Need more ideas to keep them entertained? Last time we got balloon animals and checked out face painting. Check out the Fun Zone inflatables area—a trip through one costs $1 or play all night for $5.

 

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Alex, finally being old enough, was amazingly chosen to play a game on the field. Getting to hang out for an inning in the dugout blew his mind, as did the generosity and attention of the 66ers staff we interacted with.

There’s more than hot dogs and beer at San Manuel Stadium. This last trip, I tried out a bacon-wrapped corn dog from Bacon Me Crazy inside the park and refused to share with either pair of begging eyes. The park also sells Hangar 24 beer, funnel cakes, nachos and Hebrew National hot dogs.

 

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Parking at San Manuel Stadium is $5 cash. Outside food and drink are not permitted. Games run through Sept 7, so there’s still time check out a few games or start saving up for a season pass next year. Got a birthday party, work event or celebration coming up? The team can host large parties for dinner at tents overlooking the field, and they honor celebrants during the game, as well as a serviceperson every game.

You can listen to games online, check out the schedule for links. Want to see more? Check out the team through the #soundthehorn hashtag, their Twitters (which includes game update while they’re playing) @66ersbaseball and @66ersDanceTeam and Instagram @66ersBaseball.

 

Inland Empire 66ers Baseball's home games are located at San Manuel Stadium at 280 South "E" Street in San Bernardino. Call (909) 888-9922 or visit their website at IE66ers.com for more information.

 

Full Dislosure: The Inland Empire 66ers provided us with complimentary entry to the game, however all opinions expressed are 100% our own.