This stadium is old (and looks it) and is not necessarily historic (except to locals). The game day experience at an Amarillo Sox game is, however, absolutely fantastic.
The Amarillo Sox of the American Association League play at Amarillo National Bank Sox Stadium - a part of the Tri-County Fairgrounds. The stadium opened in 1949 as Potter County Stadium and has served baseball in Amarillo in a variety of different teams and leagues including, but not limited to, the Golden Sox, Dilla Villas of the now defunct United League Baseball and are now an affiliate of the American Association League.
I wasn’t expecting to enjoy my visit this Memorial Day weekend, 2012 at this facility. I checked out the facility before the game. The outside is corrugated metal with rust prevailing in many areas and a dirt parking lot.
However, I totally enjoyed my game day experience and even chose to attend the next game at this facility vs. traveling home.
A perfect example of “You can’t judge a book by its cover.”
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Prices are better than other stadiums and there are tremendous beer specials. The variety on both food and beer options are average; nothing out of the norm. There is a bar/lounge called Hall of Fame Lounge that had tables in the shade and in the sun depending on your preference. It also offers other alcoholic beverage choices.
Food prices: Hot dogs $2.75; Chicken Strips $4.00; Hamburger $3.75; Philly Cheese Steak $4.50; Bratwurst $3.75; Basket Meal $7
Beer prices: Draft beer - Sam Adams ($4); Draft Bud/Bud Light ($3); pre and post game cans of beer - Bud/ Bud Light, Coors, etc. (2 for $3)
For the most part music level was perfect and the selection was fine. The organization did shut off the music when the PA announcer was talking. Why all organizations don't do that is beyond me.
There were many local promotions. Every time a batter fouls a ball, "That's an Aqua One Foul Ball" was announced. It got quite annoying after a while.
Most seats are behind the net except on the second level, last sections of the 1st and 3rd baseline. I'd recommend sitting there if a net distorts your efforts of watching a game. If you do choose to sit there (and I'd recommend that - 1st base side is my preference at this park), do bring a wet rag or wet paper towel as birds leave their calling card on many of the seats in that section and you may want to wipe off the seat before getting comfortable.
There is a Darcy's Party Deck up behind home plate just below the officials/radio booth (it is an additional $5 to sit plus get food/beverage service).
There is a church bell rung after every Sox home run which I have not witnessed before.
At one game, the team collected $1 after each home run for a cancer for kids' charity organization. After rounding the bases, each player pulled his helmet off and walked the net allowing fans to place a $1 bill in the helmet for this charity. Nicely done.
There was a very patriotic presence this weekend; the Sox did a good job of remembering fallen veterans/heroes from the Texas Pan Handle extremely well this 2012 Memorial Day Weekend. There was also a patriotic float outside the stadium, mini flags were handed out to all fans, and American flag buntings were placed along the outside entrance.
Even though this stadium is over 60 years old, there are little historic references to any of the teams and leagues that played here.
This stadium is on the edge of the Tri-County Fairgrounds. The area surrounding the fairgrounds is very industrial. It's a rundown looking neighborhood. I'd recommend driving; not walking to the ballpark.
There are two restaurants within a mile or two of the stadium: Taco Garcia's (delicious Mexican and a good margarita!) and Coyote Bluff Cafe. I, personally, didn't particularly like Coyote Bluff Café but there was a line waiting to get in when I left and the locals just rant and rave about it. It's a local favorite hole in the wall known for being on the Man vs. Food TV show.
The fans are fabulous. They are vocal, courteous to fellow fans, and are there for the game. Although lots of folks appeared to know each other, I did not perceive this was a social event. Folks went to enjoy the game. That's it.
They gave both the umps a hard time when they disagreed with a call and gave select opposing players a hard time the entire game.
One fan I interacted with expressed his pleasure the Sox are now affiliated with the American Association League because more players can get acquired by MLB teams vs. the former ULB team.
On this weekend in 2012, there was lots of road construction near the stadium. There were no signs indicating in which direction to go to stadium.
Once maneuvering through construction was figured out, access was easy. It is a direct line just a mile or so from I-40.
One set of men's and women's restrooms are available. The women's room is clean and very operational even after the game.
$7 for first row seats for first game; $1 seat for second game - honoring Memorial Day.
Food and beer prices are far less expensive at this stadium than any I've been to recently.
There is plenty of free parking.
A tip: I was looking for the starting lineup to be posted on the concourse but couldn't find it. I asked about that at the souvenir shop and the attendant pulled out a roster sheet listing both teams' players and handed it to me. It appears they don't offer that voluntarily but one can get it when asked. A roster sheet is even better than the starting lineup (in this author's opinion).
I saw an in-the-park home run; two bench clearing brawls after hit by pitch events at each of the games I attended; the church bell that was rung after each home run; and cheap beer.
And credits go, most of all, to the Amarillo Sox organization for making a visit to an old, run down ballpark a wonderful game day experience.
If you're visiting from out of town, my recommendation is to stay (get your hotel) on west side of town and drive to stadium.
One fan I spoke with mentioned there's talk of building a new stadium in downtown Amarillo.
I did very much enjoy my visit here. The 'old structure' did not hamper any of the enjoyment I had during my visit and I would encourage any fan travelling through Amarillo, TX to check out a game here.
Opened in 1949 as Potter County Stadium, the Amarillo National Bank Dilla Villa has been a staple for baseball in Amarillo for many years. The team changed the stadium name in 2001 as part of a corporate sponsorship.
The stadium however is one of the few classic stadiums left from the older baseball era and unfortunately is dealing with its share of difficulties. The park is definitely starting to show its age with many seats that are broken or starting to show major wear.
There are several features of the Amarillo National Bank Dilla Villa that are architecturally unique. The stadium houses one of the few non-major league stadiums in the country to have an upper and lower level concourse. The lower level concourse is the major one, leading to the main grandstand. It also houses 5 concession stands, 2 bars, and a souvenir booth. There have been rumors of the Dillas getting a new stadium for years but these rumors have yet to be confirmed.
7701 E Interstate 40
Amarillo, TX 79118
2417 S Grand St
Amarillo, TX 79103
Amarillo, TX 79117