The Sonoma Stompers Professional Baseball Club is in its second year and already a valuable asset to this small community. Sonoma, CA is known for it’s world class wineries and wine tasting, but the Stompers introduces a whole new activity for kids, families, and sports fans. I don’t happen to be a sports fan, but when the new owner Eric Gullotta invited me to attend a game to check out the wheelchair accessibility I said “yes”!
Sonoma Stompers at Arnold Field
180 1st Street West
to buy tickets:
The team plays at Arnold Field, conveniently located just a 5 minute walk/roll from the historic Sonoma Plaza. With Sonoma’s idyllic summer temperatures and vistas of the surrounding hills this is a great way to spend a few hours and take a break from wine tasting.
For those driving to a game, there is plenty of parking with 4 accessible spaces right at the box office and ball park entrance and 4 more close by in the same lot, with 3 of the 8 being van accessible.
The Accessible Seating area is located next to the grandstand with an unobstructed view of the field. In fact, it’s such a great view that they have to keep watch to make sure that those without accessibility issues aren’t using it. The plastic chairs are available for companion seating, transfers, or those using mobility devices.
We were soon joined by the Stompers new owner Eric Gullotta, and a faithful Stompers fan, Jeff Stuhr. Eric has a special interest in accessibility and serves as a board member at Becoming Independent, a non-profit that helps people with disabilities lead meaningful and productive lives. He was very interested to know if the Stompers experience was accessible. Jeff is somewhat of a disability advocate in Sonoma, but this was our first meeting. I had heard about the guy that took the Sonoma City Council on a wheelchair tour a few years back and finally I was meeting him. Here’s what he was able to accomplish http://sonomasun.com/2007/02/01/pub-a-406/
The concession stand was close-by, and though there wasn’t a lowered counter it was easy enough to buy a hot dog. Likewise at the Dugout Store it was easy to purchase a t-shirt. The Beer Garden was a bit more challenging because it wasn’t close-by, but back by the bleachers. If you’re using mobility equipment that you can go distances it’s not a problem, but if it tires you out to walk distances you may want to send someone else on the beer run.
“Rawhide”, the Stompers official mascot, was working the crowd before the game, and I had the privilege of a photo shot with him.
Always an important consideration, the restrooms were accessible. Though they won’t win any interior design awards they were functional, and a little bit comical with that sawed off toilet seat cover.
Though this just looks like a concrete pad, it is photo worthy, as it’s a new ADA upgrade, replacing the uneven terrain that was not wheelchair friendly. These are the kind of simple changes that can make the experience so much better for people with limited mobility.
The 2015 season runs through the end of August. Come see the Sonoma Stompers play against the San Rafael Pacifics, the Vallejo Admirals, or the Pittsburg Mettle, and have a great accessible day of family fun!
- accessible parking- 8 total with 3 van accessible
- accessible box office with low table
- all surfaces paved or hard packed
- wide walkways
- accessible seating section with unobstructed view of ballgame
- movable chairs in accessible seating section for companion seating and transfers
- accessible snack bar, beer garden, and gift shop, though without a low counter
- accessible men’s and women’s restrooms:
- close to accessible seating section
- each has 1 wheelchair accessible stall with grab bars at rear and side
- industrial size toilet paper holders not obstructing grab bar
- roll-under sink
- viewable mirror from wheelchair
- there is not space for sideways positioning of a scooter at the sink
- faucet has prong handles rather than lever handles