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“Dog days” is redefined at newest Chicago-area ballpark

When it comes to baseball, the lion’s share of attention usually goes to the major league teams. But there’s also a large network of independent minor league teams that bring professional baseball to smaller markets across the United States. Among the newest of these is the Chicago Dogs, based in the Chicago suburb of Rosemont, Ill. The team’s new ballpark, Impact Field, is already drawing crowds thanks to its fan-friendly design.

In just its first two years of operation, the $63 million Impact Field has twice been voted the nation’s best independent ballpark by the readers of Ballpark Digest. Architects with AECOM and Snow Kreilich likely drew the stadium’s red-centric color scheme from team’s namesake, the classic Chicago-style hot dog. Some 25,000 sq. ft. of PAC-CLAD composite panels from Petersen in a custom Brite Red finish run throughout the interior and exterior of the facility to establish this theme, with an additional 15,000 sq. ft. of the panels in custom Deep Black creating a strong visual contrast. The panels feature .020-gauge face and back skins thermobonded to a fire-retardant core and are manufactured to ensure tight tolerances and accurate panel dimensions.

The Chicago Dogs organization takes baseball seriously, but the team also enjoys emphasizing the silliness of its hot dog-based moniker on a regular basis. For its 2019 home opener, the team handed out hot dog costumes to all 6,300 attendees in an effort to set the record for the world’s largest gathering of people dressed like wieners. And an outpost of a local Chicago institution, the Wiener’s Circle, a North Side hot dog stand that serves its dogs with a side of sass, has become the park’s anchor amenity. There you can get your Chicago-made Vienna Beef hot dog topped with mustard, onions, relish, pickles and peppers, among other options. A word to the wise, though, for non-native visitors to the new ballpark – don’t ask for ketchup, unless it’s for your side of fries.