Note: This is part of Matt Nelson’s “Ballparks of the Midwest” series.
Opened in 1992 as Sec Taylor Stadium, the ballpark changed names in 2004, but the playing surface is still known as Sec Taylor Field. Home plate of this park actually sits in the exact same spot as its predecessor ballpark, Sec Taylor Stadium, which was bulldozed to make room for the newer park along the banks of the Des Moines and Raccoon rivers.
Through the years the ballpark has seen some changes. Most notably, the seats were entirely replaced a few years back, and bleacher seating was added beyond the right field wall with new scoreboards, including one that is manually operated. A fountain was also added in the right field corner. One other addition in recent years is that the Iowa High School State Baseball Tournament has been hosted at Principal Park since 2005. The state champion schools of the most recent state tourney have their names installed on the right field wall.
Principal Park does offer plenty of entertainment for kids, it is located with concessions on the concourse. That area does not offer a view of the field, as the stadium was built just before open concourses became the latest, greatest, trend in ballpark building.
Although the nearby rivers aren’t visible from within the ballpark, there are nice views from the seating bowl. Beyond center field is the Iowa State Capitol, and beyond left field the Des Moines skyline stands out.
Des Moines does have baseball history. It was home to the first professional night baseball game played under permanent lighting on May 2, 1930, at Western League Park in Des Moines. Minor league teams have been in town for many years, and the current one has been affiliated with the Chicago Cubs since 1981.
Principal Park is now in its twentieth season. Certainly it is no longer new, but it’s been well kept up and remains a really nice place to watch a baseball game.