People come to Las Vegas for many reasons. Whether it’s the gambling, the shows, the debauchery, or the food, it’s unquestionable that the city is one of America’s most popular tourist destinations. On my current trip to Vegas, however, I decided to drive ten minutes north of the bright lights of the Strip and check out some Las Vegas 51s baseball.
What follows is a recap of my experience at the 51s game on Tuesday night, in the hopes that it will help Mets fans decide whether it’s worth spending a night of their Vegas vacation watching some Mets minor league ball.
The Las Vegas 51s have been the Mets’ Triple-A affiliate since 2013. They play their games at Cashman Field, which is tucked away near downtown Vegas, across the street from the Neon Museum, in a sketchy part of Las Vegas. Cashman is on its own campus though, and feels very safe when you’re on the well-manicured grounds.
Getting to Cashman Field
The drive is a relatively quick one, even when fighting Vegas rush hour traffic. It took me about 15 minutes to get to the park from my hotel, the Wynn. The park is easy to find, too. You could take Las Vegas Blvd. all the way if you felt like it, but it’s a bit quicker to hop on the freeway.
Driving is about the only way to get to Cashman field other than by taxi or Uber. Las Vegas doesn’t have much in the way of public transportation, and the monorail doesn’t get that far north. Parking, however, is a value at $5, and the parking lots are large. After the game, there was no trouble exiting.
Tickets and the Ballpark
There’s a small ticketing area outside the gates, and on the day I went the lines were short. Tickets are cheap, with the vast majority going for between $10-20. In the interest of full disclosure, the 51s provided me with a free ticket for the game, though I paid for all of my own concessions.
Fans can choose to sit in bleacher-style seats along the outfield, traditional stadium seating, dugout seats, a party zone, grass berms in the outfield, and you can also watch the game from a restaurant on the club level.
I sat in plaza seats, in section nine, about ten rows up from the field. The view was fantastic. The 51s have installed misting fans that hang down above the infield seats to help keep fans cool despite sometimes blistering heat. It was still around 100 degrees when the game started at 7:00 PM.
There’s a nice view of the mountains from the stands, and they’ve done a good job landscaping around the outfield to make the field seem more pretty. The sightlines in the park are also great. I’m not sure there’s a bad seat in the place.
Concessions at Cashman
Cashman Field’s concessions were probably the weakest part of the ballpark experience. There’s a small team store that carries both 51s and Mets merchandise. I was impressed by the wide variety of 51s caps that were available. The employees were friendly and helpful as well.
The food was another story. It was the most generic of Aramark fare—hot dogs, popcorn, pizza slices, cheeseburgers. There were a few small dessert carts serving things like Dippin’ Dots and shaved ices, but little in the way of the more creative options that have become popular at ballparks in recent years. No BBQ, no garlic fries, no brats or sausages, at least that I could find.
The quality of the food they had available was also somewhat suspect. They ran out of Pepperoni Pizza before the game began, despite the park being (generously) a quarter full that night. The cheese slice I got instead came out lukewarm, and looked rather woebegone. Thankfully, it tasted better than it looked, though that wasn’t saying much.
The vast majority of employees I came in contact with were extremely nice. They went out of their way to be helpful. Some of them took the time to actually ask how my day was going, where I was visiting from, etc. I came away with the impression that whoever was hiring people was doing a good job.
The Product on the Field
The 51s were a ton of fun to watch. They’re a talented team with a lot of familiar faces playing. On Tuesday night the lineup included Michael Conforto, Kevin Plawecki, Ty Kelly, Eric Campbell, and Gavin Cecchini, among others.
It probably helped that they put an epic beating on the Salt Lake Bees, scoring 10 runs. The crowd was oddly split between 51s and Bees fans. The Bees are an affiliate of the Los Angeles Angels, a team many Vegas residents support in the majors, so their fans were out in force.
The 51s fans were well-represented, though, and it was easy to spot some of the local characters. One older fan had a host of different instruments, from a triangle to a tambourine, that he’d pull out to cheer on the team. One confused woman in front of me, upon seeing the man pull out his tambourine, told her boyfriend, “Look honey, a bugle!”
Between innings, the 51s’ mascot Cosmo, along with some promotions staffers, led silly activities like a race around the bases between a kid and Cosmo, an air-guitar jam, and a 51s trivia challenge.
Cosmo, it should be noted, doesn’t look anything like the 51s’ alien logo, but bears an odd resemblance to Star Wars’ Jar Jar Binks. The activities were very family friendly, and the team made sure Cosmo was available to take photos with any kids who wanted to interact with him.
There were also more adult giveaways, including a slot machine (it’s Vegas) game that every fan could participate in upon entering the park. I won a free voucher for a show at the V Theater in Planet Hollywood.
The team seems to be pretty strict about autographs. Signs along the side of the field warned “no autographs.” So if you’re looking to get a ball signed by a Mets prospect, you’ll probably have to get one outside the stadium.
Should you pay a visit to Cashman Field?
I had a great night out at Cashman. Even if I’d paid the $16 face value for my ticket, I would have been spending a fraction of the price of a Mets ticket to see some of the team’s top prospects from amazing seats. For $30 I could have sat in the front row behind home plate.
The staff was friendly, the ballpark was clean, well maintained, and easy to get to. While the food left something to be desired, the rest of the experience more than made up for it.
If you’re a Mets fan and you’ve got the time, it’s well worth making the 10-minute drive (or cab ride) to Cashman for a game. I know I didn’t regret it.