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Official Review by Jason Bullock, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
American Legion Field is home to the Advanced Rookie League Danville Braves. The ‘D-Braves’ play in the Eastern Division of the 10 team Appalachian League. The stadium has been home to the Braves since 1993 and seats approximately 2,600 fans. Sections located behind home plate are considered Reserved and are covered, while aluminum bench seating running up the 1st and 3rd base sides are General Admission.
After relocating from Pulaski, VA in 1993, the D-Braves have won 2 Appalachian League championships (2006, 2009). Rookie league seasons are shorter than the typical minor league with play starting in mid-June and running through the end of August. Current major league stars that started their journey to the major leagues in Danville include Jason Heyward, Adam Wainwright, Adam LaRoche, Andruw Jones and Jeff Francoeur.
The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:
Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
To sum it up, the best part of my meal was getting a souvenir cup. The concessions are located behind home plate along the outer wall of the stadium. There are two stands available, however only one was open at the game I attended, creating an extremely long line that caused me to miss an inning of the game.
The stand offers your standard fare - hamburgers, hot dogs, nachos, popcorn - along with Chick-fil-A sandwiches, Pizza Hut pizza and 'bologna burgers'. As I approached the window during the 5th inning, I was notified they were all out of the last 3 items. I settled for the chicken tenders, which were dry and consisted of mostly breading. The french fries that came with them were lukewarm at best. Ballpark food is an important part of the experience to me as a fan and I felt these offerings did not live up to my expectations.
Pepsi products are served in 22 oz souvenir cups ($2.50) and 32 oz large ($3.50). Miller Lite, Bud/Bud Light, Michelob Ultra, Coors Light and Yuengling are all on tap - the 20 oz is the best value here at $4, only 50 cents more than the 14 oz. Various craft beers are also available for 75 cents more - Blue Moon was the feature at the game I attended.
Dessert options are available and include Funnel Cake ($4) and Sno-Cones ($3). The concession stand also offered various candy and ice cream treats ranging from $1.25-$3.
Ballpark food is an important part of the experience for many fans, and while the offerings were not overpriced, availability and quality were sub-par and lessened the experience at American Legion Field.
Even if baseball doesn't excite you, how can a crowd not sing along to the chorus of 'Sweet Caroline'? That's the best way I can summarize the atmosphere at American Legion Field. Overall, there was very little excitement or energy inside the stadium. While the crowd was watching the game and cheering at the correct times, there just wasn't that buzz that you feel at games when the fans are really into it.
Besides bingo, I did not note any in-between inning activities to excite the crowd and keep them involved. While I have seen it overdone in some stadiums, it would have been nice to have seen some creativity from the team with this one. On the team website there is mention of a mascot, Blooper, but he was not in attendance during my most recent visit.
American Legion Field is located in Dan Daniel Memorial Park. If you're bringing your family to the game, it appears to be a great place to come early and picnic and let the kids burn off some energy before going to the game. There are soccer fields, walking and biking trails and a skate park - a little something for everybody.
Being located right off of the expressway, there is not much else close by. If you are looking for a quick bite to eat before or after the game, multiple fast food restaurants (McDonald's, Burger King, Subway, Hardee's to name a few) are located about 2 miles away on Rt. 360.
As mentioned earlier, fans cheered at the right times during the game and appreciated the players for their hustle and good play. I was seated in the General Admission section and about half of the fans were really into the game while the other were into conversations other than baseball. Many of the kids that were sitting in this section were more concerned with harassing the players for balls than watching the game, which was an annoyance at times.
Located on the southeast side of Danville, the stadium is located right off of the Danville Expressway and was easy to get to. Parking is free and plentiful and is an easy walk to the stadium.
Women's restrooms are located on the 1st and 3rd base sides of the stadium and the men's are to the left and right of the concession stand. This made it a little confusing, as I found the women's first and there was not any directional signage leading me to the men's. The restrooms are fairly small, so I imagine a game with a large crowd could see some lines at the restroom.
Ticket prices of $7 for Reserved and $5 for General Admission ($4 for Seniors and Youths) combined with the free parking are a great value. Unfortunately, the lack of quality and service at concessions left me with a feeling that I didn't get what I paid for. To get better value for your dollar, I would recommend bringing a picnic lunch and eating in the park before the game.
There was nothing extra of note that made an impression on me as a fan - it was simply a baseball game.
For a family night out or if you want to check out future stars of the game, it's not a bad option for an evening's entertainment. If you're looking for a full day of fun - come early, bring your own food and make use of the amenities in the park surrounding the stadium.
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