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  • Writer's pictureMeg Minard

Herr-Baker Field – Fond du Lac Dock Spiders

Photos by Meg Minard, Stadium Journey

Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.14

Herr-Baker Field 980 E Division St Fond du Lac, WI 54935 Map It

Year Opened: 2013 Capacity: 2,000


Fond du Lac Baseball

Herr-Baker Field, located in Marian University in Fond du Lac, WI hosts the Northwoods League baseball team Dock Spiders, Marion D3 baseball team, and St. Mary’s Springs Academy baseball.

When the Dock Spiders announced they’d be playing at Herr-Baker Field, the organization spent close to $1.5 million in upgrades to the facility which included a new building to host the team store and concessions, and a new press box area. The renovations also included expanding the capacity by adding group seating zones and picnic decks.

The Dock Spiders joined the Northwoods League in 2017 and won the NWL championship in 2018 and 2020. The Dock Spiders are the sister team of the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, a Minor League Baseball team located 40 miles north of Fond du Lac in Appleton, WI.

The ballpark is named after former coach Ron Herr and the Baker family. Ron Herr led the St Mary’s Sabres to its first tournament berth. The Baker family are longtime benefactors of St. Mary’s Springs High School.

Food & Beverage 3

The stadium offers a decent amount of food choices. The concession stand on the third base side offers a greater variety of ‘main meal’ items. The one on the first base side offers mostly snack items.

Hungry Dock Spider fans can purchase fries, cheese curds, pretzels, bbq sandwiches, hot dogs, cheeseburgers, brats, walking tacos, and more! A fan favorite is a helmet of nachos. Kona shaved ice is a best seller on those hot and sticky days and evenings.

FDL Main Concession Stand, Photo by Marc Viquez, Stadium Journey

Pepsi products are the soft drinks on offer. Domestic and craft beer are for sale ranging $7 – $8. A craft beer cart is at the entry to the first base seating area. Stop here if you’re just looking for a brew.

The concession stands move slowly so practice your inner patience when in line.

Atmosphere 3

Unusual for baseball venues, the box seats are above the home plate AND the dugouts, while bleacher seating is between the two. The box seats above the dugouts are pleasantly net-free. The seating does not have cup holders nor does the stadium offer covered seating.

Down the baselines closest to the field are patio tables and chairs with umbrellas. This area looks like a fantastic place to watch the game. All the way down the third base concourse is a party area and full service bar with yard games, like corn hole, which is open to all fans. Picnic decks occupy the second level of the third base side.

Left field has a video board that shows the batter’s name, photo, and stats. To the right of that (closer to center field) is the traditional scoreboard which shows the line score by inning and strikes, balls, outs, etc. The field consists of real grass and dirt.

Strangely, the team only posts the starting lineup for the Dock Spiders on a whiteboard; not the visiting team players.

The music volume is perfect though the person in charge of music plays it between every pitch. Activities include staff throwing t-shirts into the stands and other harmless between inning contests.

All very well executed.

Neighborhood 3

The ballpark is on the campus of Marian University, a few miles from downtown Fond du Lac. Downtown offers a collection of restaurants and bars that should strike the fancy of visitors before or after the game.

We suggest stopping by BackYard Grill & Bar for a casual bite less than a mile from the ballpark. Other recommended restaurants include Joe’s Fox Hut (pizza), Fat Joe’s Burgers and Brew (burgers) and Cellar District (uses local Wisconsin ingredients).

The Children’s Museum of Fond Du Lac and the Historic Galloway House and Village are two museums worth checking out while in town. If you have some additional time and the weather cooperates, visit Lakeside Park located along Lake Winnebago. It has a variety of activities for visitors of all ages. The park includes a walk-up lighthouse, playground, zip line, petting zoo, boat docks, kayaking, and pedal boat rentals.

FDL Lakeside Park, Photo by Marc Viquez, Stadium Journey

Most traditional chain hotels are within three to six miles of the ballpark. Fond du Lac is a vacation destination in the summer therefore, lodging prices increase. Consider checking out an Airbnb or VRBO as well.

Other Northwoods League teams to see in the area (less than 60 miles) are the Green Bay Rockers and the Lakeshore Chinooks. The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, High A affiliate of the Brewers, are 45 mins up on the north side of Lake Winnebago. And, there’s the MLB Milwaukee Brewers, a little over an hour south.

Fans 3

Fans seem to know one another. There is a huge family presence. Lots and lots of kids spend a great deal of time in the Kid Zone and play area behind the first base seating.

For the 2022 season, the average attendance per game was 942 putting them over 30,000 per season for the fourth time. It places them in the mid-lower level of the Northwest League for the 2022 season.

You’ll see many decked out in their Dock Spiders t-shirts and caps.

Access 3

The stadium is on the campus of Marian University near the south end of Lake Winnebago. It’s about 70 miles north of Milwaukee. The closest commercial airport is Appleton International Airport, about a 45-min drive; the Milwaukee Airport (MKE) is over an hour away. Fond du Lac does have a bus system, but no routes go to the ballpark. So driving is the best option.

Parking is on the streets surrounding the ballfield and hiking across a lawn to get to the stadium. A small parking lot is in front of Lenz Field House next door. A staff member rides a golf cart and offers rides to and from the stadium if parking here. That lot fills up fast.

Getting through security is painless, and the organization does not have bag rules. The stadium has ramps up to several sections of the seating area. Be sure to ask for the best place to sit if a ramp is needed.

Several sets of restrooms are behind home plate and under the third base seating.

Return on Investment 4

Ticket prices run $10 for bleacher seats and $12 for box seats. The Dock Spiders offer all kinds of specials like Bang For Your Buck on Tuesdays and Wednesdays where hot dogs, pizza, soda, and domestic beer is $2. Craft brews and brats are $3 on Thursday games. Every Friday, the Dock Spiders entertain the crowd with a delightful fireworks display after the game.

Giveaways during the season include bobbleheads, pint glasses, hats, socks, and more. The schedule includes specific appreciation nights where tickets for teachers and/or first responders are $1. Parking is free, so no added expense there.

It’s well worth your sports dollar entertainment.

Extras 3

Not everyone will agree with this… being able to watch net-free baseball these days is a welcome experience, so I consider it something worth noting.

An additional item worthy of note is the number of promotions the Dock Spiders offer throughout the season.

And finally, having a staff member in a golf cart available to transport individuals unable to walk far is a highly deserved merit.

Final Thoughts

Herr-Baker Field is a perfectly sized venue for a Northwoods League club and the Dock Spiders offer a brand of baseball that is well suited for residents and visitors of Fond du Lac. The concession prices are nicely priced, promotional nights are numerous, and the game day staff are friendly.


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