One of the many incredible things about baseball is that while each field is exactly the same-90 feet between bases, 60 feet 6 inches from the mound to the dish-every ballpark is decidedly unique. Every stadium has its own nooks and crannies that make it special; its own features that give it a distinct personality and make it instantly recognizable to fans of the game. Fenway has the Big Green Monster, Wrigley has walls of ivy, and Southwest University Park…well Southwest University Park has the Big Dog House.
Over the past four years, since the Chihuahuas first came to town, the Big Dog House has become as iconic as any building in all of El Paso. Towering out in right field, it serves as the segue between the field below and the El Paso skyline behind. Whether it's your first stop upon entering the park before finding your seats or where you meet up with friends as your last stop before heading downtown after a game, no trip to Southwest University Park seems complete without visiting at least one of the levels the Big Dog House has to offer.
On the ground level, right when entering the ballpark from the Santa Fe side of the stadium, you'll find one of two team stores located within the park. The Santa Fe Team Shop is a great place to pick up some fresh Chihuahuas gear and check out what new apparel is in stock this season. Whether you're looking for a San Diego Padres hat, a Pacific Coast League Champions shirt or just some cool new Chihuahuas gear, the Santa Fe store has you covered.
Above the Santa Fe shop on the second level of the Big Dog House is the City Hall Grill. For those of you who didn't know, the name of this fine establishment is a nod to El Paso's old City Hall which, prior to the construction of the ballpark, stood near where the Big Dog House is now located. Just as the old City Hall stood as an emblem of El Paso for many years, the Big Dog House is now emblematic of the city in its own right. Any individual with a reserved seat has access to the City Hall Grill - a full service restaurant and bar. It's a great place to catch part of the game from some of the ballpark's best seats, to come try the new specials that are added to the menu every home stand, and to soak up some of El Paso's history.
On the third floor of the Big Dog House, above the City Hall Grill, sits the Sun Kings Saloon. The Sun Kings Saloon is also full of rich history, with a unique design giving guests a look into El Paso's baseball past. Although the Chihuahuas have only been in town for a couple of seasons now, baseball is nothing new to El Paso. The Sun Kings played baseball here throughout the 60s and the Diablos played ball at the Dudley Dome here in the 70s and 80s and then at Cohen Stadium in the 90s and 2000s. El Paso has a long and proud tradition of celebrating the national pastime, and the Sun Kings Saloon fervently upholds that tradition every game night. Aside from offering a rich tapestry of El Paso's baseball history with various photos and memorabilia, the Sun Kings Saloon includes a full service restaurant and bar, and is open to individual ticket buyers if it has not been sold as a hospitality area for the night.
The very top floor of the Big Dog House is none other than the Wooftop Deck, an open-air patio offering some of the best views in the entire ballpark. Edison string lighting gives the patio a homey feel, and the large hospitality area is big enough to accommodate a private bar and personalized buffet. The proverbial penthouse of Southwest University Park, it's the perfect spot to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, company parties, and everything in between, all while taking in breathtaking views of the ballpark and the surrounding landscape.
Southwest University Park is undeniably one of the best ballparks that Minor League Baseball has to offer, and the Big Dog House is an integral characteristic in making this ballpark as unique and special as it is. A cornerstone of the park, the Big Dog House celebrates the city of El Paso and its storied history while simultaneously standing as a monument to all the baseball teams that have played here over the years. It blends the past with the present, just as it serves to blend the ballpark seamlessly with the surrounding downtown community. If you haven't yet visited any or all levels of the Big Dog House, we highly encourage you to do so on your next visit to the park. If you've already visited the Big Dog House, we look forward to welcoming you back again soon.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.