Bowen Field
Bluefield, West Virginia
Year Opened
1939

Current Team
Bluefield Blue Jays

Affiliate
Toronto Blue Jays

League
Appalachian League

Capacity
3,000

Location Map

My Grades
Stadium B Atmosphere B+ Concessions B-

Photos taken in 2008
Bowen Field, like most other ballparks in the Appalachian League, is a charming facility that represents what minor league baseball should be all about. In an era when more and more minor league teams are relocating to large suburban areas, it is reassuring to know that professional baseball can still be found in small town America, which is what Bluefield represents. Maybe everything isn't glossy and perfect at Bowen Field, but if you're a baseball fan, who cares ? It offers a very inexpensive, fun night at the ballpark. Located just over the Virginia border, Bowen Field is actually maintained by the Bluefield, West Virginia Parks Division. Its location is one of the most bucolic you'll find in all of the minors. The view behind the outfield fence is exclusively of trees which rise up quite high, meaning all you see when you look out is green. While the original Bowen Field was constructed in 1939, it had to be rebuilt in 1975 after a fire destroyed the original structure. So the concrete structure that exists today dates exclusively to 1975. However, the orange box seats (which all sell as general admission) actually weren't installed until the late 1990's. These seats were recycled from the Anaheim Stadium renovation. While the seats are better than sitting on concrete, they sit too low to the ground and are rather uncomfortable to sit in. There are also box seats located above the dugouts and behind home plates which consist of plastic stackable chairs. However, these seats are only available to season ticket holders. A group picnic area along the first base line completes the seating. While all the seats are close to the action, all sightline are obscured by netting. One unique aspect of the playing field is the small grassy hill located behind home plate. Not sure what the purpose of this incline is, but it adds a little more charm to this ballpark. Concessions are available in the concourse area which is located along the third base line, just after you enter the ballpark. Only basic ballpark fare is offered - hot dogs, burgers, BBQ, Dippin Dots, etc. Although a nice variety of toppings is available for the dogs - chili, slaw, onions, and cheese. Prices are very cheap compared to most minor league ballparks - just $2 for hot dogs and sodas. If you're looking for beer, beware. There is no alcohol sold at Bowen Field. The atmosphere here is quite laid back, at least in terms of what the team provides. Only a minimal amount of music and no sound effects are played. Unfotunately, the team sells orange and brown blow horns which seems to be a popular item. When fans (boths kids and adults) get restless, they resort to blowing them for no apparent reason. This can be very annoying. The team does a few between inning promotions - dizzy bat race, potato sack race, egg toss, the newlywed game, and a few dances (YMCA, chicken dance, Cha-Cha Slide, The Macarena). A female intern plays the job of onfield DJ - while she is not slick or polished, that's not always needed. The team also has a mascot, baby Bird, which was quite active throughout the game. Parking is both plentiful and free. There is very little not to like about Bowen Field if you are a baseball fan. It's just unfortunate that minor league baseball has not been able to endure in many small towns across America.
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All Photos Copyright Brian Merzbach
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