Monongalia County Ballpark
Granville, West Virginia
Year Opened
2015

Current Team
West Virginia Black Bears

Affiliate
Pittsburgh Pirates

League
New York-Penn League

Capacity
3500

Location Map

My Grades
Stadium C+
Atmosphere B
Concessions B+

Photos taken in 2015
I'm not a big fan of college ballparks being used for professional baseball. Monongalia County Ballpark is a prime example of why - in many instances their design is poor and they seemed to have been built on the cheap. This ballpark, opened in 2015, is home to the West Virginia Black Bears of the New York-Penn League. Since it is just short-season A ball, this ballpark is sufficient, but certainly not one of my favorites in the league. MCB was a ballpark several years in the making as it took time for West Virginia University to get the funding in order. Finally, in 2014 it was announced that the new ballpark would be ready for the '15 season. And at the end of the 2014 minor league season, it was revealed (to nobody's surprise) that the Jamestown Jammers would be moving here. While the ballpark is an upgrade for the players and fans, it always saddens me a bit to see a small town with an old ballpark lose their team.

Hits
  • The location of the park offers a nice view of the West Virginia University campus and the mountains in the distant.
  • The steepness of the seating bowl is perfect for viewing the game. You won't have to worry about someone in front of you blocking your view.
  • Parking is available for $3 in lots located behind the outfield. There is also free parking available in the nearby Walmart lot if you don't mind a short walk (beware that it is a large hill you will need to climb after the game.
  • Ushers are helpful but not overbearing like at some newer parks.
  • The team has a decent size souvenir store on the third base side.
  • The scoreboard in left-center field features a small video board and white LED lights (which is something I have never seen before.
Misses
  • Too much netting. The entire seating bowl is protected by netting, meaning there are no real seats that are unobstructed. The standing room areas down the first base side do provide better views of the action.
  • The concourse along the left field line is obstructed by a tall wrought iron fence. Frankly I don't understand the point of this. It gives the ballpark a very restricted feel. Not sure why a smaller fence (like they have down the right field line) could not have been installed here as well.
  • Someone screwed up and made the grassy berms too steep. So for the 2015 season, they were off limits to fans. Supposedly they may try to tier these berms in the future to allow for additional seating. I don't understand how the architect or builder could have made such a massive error - simply inexcusable.
  • The seats are not the typical fold down chairs you would expect at a ballpark. Instead they are cheap plastic seats which have been bolted onto bleachers. It will be interesting to see how long they last as they feel very cheap. The seats originally didn't have armrests, but some were added midway through the inaugural season. These too feel rather flimsy.
  • The concourse above the seating bowl is rather narrow. With big crowds, there is not enough room for the concession lines to fit without having to snake in different directions. This is also why there are "No standing" signs along the concourse since people watching the game would make it even more congested.
  • Because of the ballpark being built into a hill, there is no home plate entrance. All entrances are located in the outfield. While not really a problem, it just gives the park a rather odd feel.
  • No kids area at all. While space is somewhat limited, this is a very strange omission.
  • The field is entirely artificial turf except for the pitcher's mound. This is always a negative in my book. The fake colored dirt is especially ugly as it is a darker shade of brown.
Eats
  • Overall, the prices are much higher than what you would expect at most minor league ballparks, especially considering Morgantown is not really a big city. I suspect the team feels they can get away with higher prices because fans in the area are already used to paying them at WVU football games. Some examples of the high prices are: Hot dogs are $4, bottled water is $4, popcorn is $4.50, "regular" sized sodas are $4.50.
  • The team does have a signature food item that is local to the area - the pepperoni roll. It costs $5 or $6 loaded (with chili and nacho cheese). I sampled a loaded one, which was quite good. It is not the same thing as a calzone, though, so don't be fooled!
  • Along the right field concourse, there are a row of carts setup selling craft beer - there are about a half dozen to choose from.
  • There are concession stands located on each side of the park. Other food options include the West Virginia Dog (topped with cole slaw and chili), burger, chicken tenders, and grilled chicken sandwiches.
I know at least one fellow ballpark review named Monongalia County Ballpark his "Ballpark of the Year", but I cannot give it the same level of accolades - there are just too many design flaws. Other than the good view beyond the outfield fence, there is little to like about this ballpark. The restrictive feel combined with the ugly artificial turf and cramped concourses make this a below average ballpark in my book. Here's hoping some improvements can be made in future seasons because as it is right now, this is not a ballpark I can recommend going out of your way to see.
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