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Ballparks around the world: The Epicenter

The Epicenter or Loanmart Field as it is called today, is the home of the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes (A Advanced California League). The ballpark is built on a fault line so the construction must be strong enough to withstand an earth quake.

The stadium opened its doors in 1993 when the Quakes moved to Rancho Cucamonga from San Bernadino, where they played under the moniker Spirit. The history of the Quakes dates back to 1946 when the team saw the light in Visalia as the Cubs. After sixteen years in Visalia, the team moved to Salinas where they stayed only three seasons before moving to Lodi.

The Epicenter has one of the best backdrops in baseball: the San Gabriel Mountains. Since the area is bother by smog, the backdrop cannot always be seen very well. (I was lucky enough to see it just fine during my stay at the ballpark back in 2012).

At the time, the construction cost over $20 million. For those days it was a whopping amount for a minor league ballpark, especially because most minor league ballparks of that era were nothing more than a bunch of aluminum bleachers.
Because of the new design, the opening game of the 1993 season was a sell out even though it was raining.

Because of the large crowds that visited the stadium, extra bleachers were built next to the foul poles. In their first five years they averaged 400,000 fans per year that passed the turnstiles, beating many AAA ballclubs when it comes to attendance.

Even though the ballpark is already twenty-three years old it is still in a pristene condition. The ballpark is wel maintained and always clean.

The ballpark was named the Epicenter for years until 2013 when financing company Loanmart signed a ten-year naming right deal with the Quakes. From that moment on the ballpark is named Loanmart Field.

Through the years the ballpark has been home to three different affiliations. The Quakes started as an affiliate of the Padres (1993-2000) and turned to the Angels in 2001. In 2011 the Dodgers traded places with the Angels. The Angels went to the former Dodgers affiliate Inland Empire 66ers.

The ballpark is part of a bigger sports facility, run by the city of Rancho Cucamonga. It is surrounded by three softball fields. On the other side of the facility there are two soccer fields and a baseball field.

The Quakes still sport the original scoreboard in left field but also added a newer scoreboard in right field.

   

The concession stands are at the ground level underneath the stands but also in left and right field. The souvenir shop is located indoors under the stands as well.

This is such a nice ballpark that, despite its age, it does not need any bells and whistles.
The ballpark itself is nice enough to watch a game. Just like other minor league clubs, there is plenty of between inning entertainment. The two mascots, Tremor and Aftershock spend time between the fans during the game. Next to them, entertainer Crazy Jake is also attracting attention of the fans.

Crazy J
Tremor

Through the years there have been some alterations to the ballpark. Between the 2008 and 2009 seasons, the existing seats were replaced, with the old seats recycled, sealing all the cracks and holes in the concrete around the entire stadium, and installing the new and improved seats into place.
Prior to the 2012 season, the stadium’s home and away clubhouses underwent major renovations to meet Minor League Baseball standards. The home clubhouse was renamed the Tommy Lasorda Clubhouse on March 28, 2013, before the start of a special exhibition game between the Quakes and the Los Angeles Dodgers.

During the  2012/2013 offseason, the stadium’s left field bleachers were removed in favor of the Batting Cage Terrace, where fans can watch players take batting practice in an open batting cage adjacent to the home bullpen. During the games, fans can  have short batting practice rotations.

Here are a few more impressions of this beautiful ballpark.

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