Chukars to host Melaleuca Night
The Idaho Falls Chukars are excited to host 1,500 friends from Melaleuca for Monday night’s contest against the Billings Mustangs at Melaleuca Field.
“Melaleuca Night” has become an annual tradition and a highlight of the Chukars’ home schedule. A longtime supporter of the Chukars organization, Melaleuca stepped up to the plate in 2004 when Minor League Baseball in Idaho Falls was in serious jeopardy.
An aging McDermott Field needed to be replaced in order to preserve the town’s affiliation with Major League Baseball. To finance the construction of a new stadium, community businesses and individuals mounted a tremendous fundraising campaign, which unfortunately came up short. That’s when Melaleuca came to the rescue.
Recognizing baseball’s positive impact in the community, Melaleuca CEO Frank VanderSlootdonated $600,000-more than enough to ensure a new ballpark would be built. At the conclusion of the 2006 season, McDermott Field was torn down, and a beautiful new facility-Melaleuca Field-was erected in its place.
“Minor league baseball is an affordable family activity, and it’s a part of the American fabric,” VanderSloot said. “For fans young and old, there’s something magical about attending a local baseball game and cheering for your hometown team. We wanted to preserve that experience here in Idaho Falls.”
Today, Melaleuca Field is a centerpiece of the Idaho Falls community, and since its grand opening in 2007, it has remained one of the premiere baseball stadiums in the country. In 2008, Ballpark Digest selected Melaleuca Field as America’s Best Ballpark Renovation of 2007. And this June, Baseball Digest crowned Melaleuca Field as the “Best Rookie League Ballpark” following a competition voted on by fans.