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Official Review by Andy Mantsch, Stadium Journey Special Correspondent
A part of the small town atmosphere of Salisbury on Maryland’s eastern shore just south of Delaware, Arthur W. Perdue Stadium is the hub of a proud tradition of eastern shore baseball. On the first floor of the stadium is a unique Eastern Shore Hall Of Fame that will tell you all about the history of lower level or “sandlot” baseball (as the ex-baseball player Kirkland Hall and Hall Of Fame board member will tell you) in Delaware and eastern Maryland. Although baseball went dormant in the area for a long time, it returned to the area in 1996, as Perdue Stadium opened its gates with a Single-A affiliate of the Montreal Expos. Just one year later the Shorebirds, or ‘Birds, became the Orioles' Single-A team and started their own tradition of Maryland baseball, with two South Atlantic League titles and boasting notable MLB alumni like Nick Markakis, Brian Roberts and Javier Vazquez.
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Prices for food and drink are very reasonable, with a choice of the standard snacks starting in the $3.50 range up to the unique Maryland- themed items topping out at around $7.25 (unless you want to sink your teeth into the Mac & Cheeze Burger at $10). They also offer Family Packs of hot dogs and chicken tenders that include sides and drinks to feed a family of 4 for $23 and $28, respectively. Also on the menu are some Maryland classics, including a Jumbo Crab Pretzel or Tater Dog. Drinks are Pepsi products and cost between $3.50 and $4.75 (souvenir cup). Beer will run $6.75 for a large or $5.75 for a regular, so still reasonable as ballparks go. Sadly, the true Orioles taste of Natural Bohemian (or Natty Boh as O's fans affectionately know it) does not appear on the menu.
The feel of Perdue Stadium is pretty standard for a Single-A club, but if you dig a bit, there is a distinct and unique feel to the eastern shore tradition and Maryland pride. From the Orioles' tradition of yelling "O" during the national anthem to the top of the line Hall Of Fame downstairs, there's a sense of nostalgic pride around the park. Down the left field line, you'll find a kids area complete with carousel, bouncy castle and basketball court, and on the right, you'll find a tiered picnic area with tables. The concourse offers excellent views of the field, and there's definitely not a bad seat in the house.
Directly around the stadium, there isn't really anything within walking distance but parking, so if you're planning on grabbing some food or a beer before the game, you'll want to plan accordingly. Right down Route 50 is downtown Salisbury, where you'll find some excellent options for food and drinks. The most popular restaurant option seems to be the Market Street Inn in downtown Salisbury, but if you're looking for a quick happy hour stop pre-game, Brew River boasts a dock bar on the Wicomico River.
There's a strong sense of Maryland pride among the fans at Perdue Stadium, and that's in no small part due to the affiliation with the Orioles organization across the Chesapeake Bay. Not every minor league ballpark is so readily identifiable with their MLB affiliate, but there's no mistaking the O's footprint on the Shorebirds fans. The Orioles signature "O" can be seen on caps and shirts all around the park. The "O" can be heard during the national anthem and during conversation with the more baseball savvy fans around the park. The stadium isn't always packed, but those in attendance seem happy to cheer on the 'Birds and know the players' names.
Conveniently located at the intersection of Route 13 and Route 50, the park is incredibly easy to get to, and traffic flows in and out with no problem at all. However, there's really only one way in or out, so in the event of a larger crowd, there may be a bottleneck in the parking lot. If you're coming from Maryland or Virginia for a game, be mindful of the potential impacts of the bridges and tunnels on your time, as well as the Ocean City beach traffic on weekends. There isn't an interstate, so going can get slow through some of the towns on the eastern shore.
Parking at the stadium is very reasonable ($3), and because of the area, is pretty much only in the large lot in front of the main entrance. The main gate is up a series of stairs, but there is also access via the lower Hall Of Fame entrance, with an elevator up to the concourse. There are two main concourses for a smaller park with concessions on both levels, so walking the stadium is easy and crowd-free. Restrooms are easily accessible and never have any lines.
I would largely call the experience at Perdue Stadium "reasonable". $3 parking isn't anything to be upset about, even though it's often free at a Single-A level. Food and drink prices are definitely in the right range, with some solid value plan options for families. Tickets run from a very acceptable $7 for General Admission up to $13 for Luxury Level or Field Box. Overall, the experience is well-priced and makes for a very cost-effective experience for the whole family.
I would be remiss to not really spend some time talking about the Eastern Shore Hall Of Fame in this category. If you're heading to Delmarva and have even the smallest interest in baseball history and tradition, come early and spend 30 minutes to an hour in the best Hall of Fame I've seen in Minor League Baseball. The downstairs area is full of memorabilia, including old jerseys, photographs and equipment from Eastern Shore Baseball history. There is also a Hall of Fame wall displaying all of the major leaguers from the area and a lot of information on the region's Negro League roots. The host, Kirkland Hall, spoke passionately about the archives on my visit, and was even an ex-player. He pointed out his name on the wall and his face in a few of the pictures. He knew the history of the exhibit and was incredibly friendly to anyone lucky enough to walk through the door. Huge points to Delmarva for this wonderful exhibit.
Member Review by shamus170
Baseball has a long and storied history on the Eastern Shore of the Delmarva. Small towns in Delaware, Eastern Maryland and Eastern Virginia played in minor leagues during the early part of the 20th century similar to today's Single-A level. But the professional play took a long hiatus until 1996, when the Delmarva Shorebirds were born in Salisbury, MD. Arthur W. Perdue Stadium became their home and fans have "flocked" to this ballpark ever since. The stadium is a fine place to watch a game, but it also includes a hall of fame worthy of arriving early to check out.
130 W Market St
Salisbury, MD 21801
1800 Sweetbay Dr
Salisbury, MD 21804
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