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Official Review by Aaron S. Terry, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
Bowen Field is home to the Bluefield Blue Jays of the Appalachian League, and has a capacity of 3,000. Built in 1939, the stadium is in a city park that straddles the Virginia-West Virginia state line, but the field itself is entirely on the Virginia side. Also home of the Bluefield College baseball team, Bowen Field has been home to the Blue Jays since 2011, and the Bluefield Orioles before that. The stadium has been renovated multiple times since it was built, most recently in 1990, and has the third lowest attendance in the Appalachian League.
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Bowen Field offers your typical small-time stadium fare from its single concession stand, and the prices are reasonable.
Main dishes are $3-$4, and include burgers, barbecue and chicken sandwiches, hot dogs (with or without chili), and corn dogs. Additional items include nachos, chips, pretzels, peanuts, popcorn, candy, and ice cream for about $2 each. The stand does offer one meal deal, but it only saves you a quarter, so it isn't much of a value. However, the lines move fairly quickly, and the staff is friendly. Note that there is a $5 minimum order for credit or debit cards, which is easy to accomplish.
Drinks include soda (Pepsi products), Gatorade, bottled water, coffee, and hot cocoa. There is also a beer garden called Patsy's Place near the main entrance, which offers good views of the field along the third base line.
Bowen Field has a decent atmosphere, but there are several parks in the Appalachian League that have better amenities and a more modern feel.
There are a couple of seating options available at Bowen Field, starting with the reserved seating above each dugout, and in the first two rows behind the net. Tickets in these sections have to be purchased well ahead of time, and are mostly given to season ticket holders. The seats in these areas are just basic plastic patio chairs, so they may not be the most comfortable, but at least you can move them around - everywhere else, the seats are your typical plastic bucket style fold-down type, but without cup holders.
The most interesting thing about Bowen Field are the gimmicks outside the stadium, including a giant inflatable baseball jersey, four real train cars, including a locomotive and caboose, and even a tank! You heard right, a tank - this is certainly something you don't see at just any baseball park. Be sure to check these out before the game, maybe even take a selfie with them - check out the video for a sneak peek:
Located in Bluefield, WV, Bowen Field is a little off the beaten track, and is several miles from the nearest major freeway. I-77 is the closest; you can take exit 66 coming from the Virginia side, or exit 1 on the West Virginia side. Depending on which way you come, you may cross over the state line multiple times on your way into the park.
There are obviously a few restaurants in Bluefield, but there aren't any near the stadium. In fact, I did not see a single one on the way to or from the stadium, on either the back roads or the main roads. From the east or west, you can get to the field via Highway 460, but from the north or south, you are probably looking at back roads. There are a few fast food joints, but no bar and grill type places that would make a good hangout for before or after the game, except maybe the Applebee's over near C J Stafford Highway.
The only attraction worth mentioning nearby is the Appalachian Mountains - there are a few great scenic overlooks not far from the diamond.
Bowen Field draws the third lowest attendance in the Appy League - only about 800 per game (less than one third full), with the biggest crowds on Fridays and Saturdays. Despite the relatively small crowd, however, the fans are staunch supporters of their team, with more yelling and cheering than you might expect. Also, tickets in the reserved sections are difficult to get, and those sections are pretty full, even on light attendance days - any team that can draw that many season ticket holders, and get enough support to keep minor league ball in town for over 60 years, must be doing something right.
Bowen Field is easy enough to get to, and is very easy to get around. There is not a lot of traffic to contend with in the small town of Bluefield, which is a plus, and there is more than enough room inside the stadium to accommodate the crowd size.
Parking is free right outside the park and there are plenty of spaces.
There is only one entrance into the stadium, but there are a couple of ticket windows which helps keep the lines moving. Once you get inside, you will find yourself in a large open area surrounded by the team store, bathrooms, concessions stand and beer garden, so it is easy to find what you are looking for. When you get to the seats, the aisle is very wide so there is plenty of room to move around. The only downside is the bathrooms, which are plenty big but a bit dilapidated.
Prices at Bowen Field are reasonable, but there are not a lot of amenities to add to the experience and the park is a bit dated.
Non-reserved tickets are $5 for fans 12 and up, and $2 for kids 6-11 (free for younger children). Seniors, students, and members of the military only pay $4. Parking is free, and concessions are on the low side, so you could probably manage on $10-$15 per person for the experience.
We definitely have to give one point for the tank and the other attractions outside the park.
A second point is given for the beer garden, which offers a really good view of the game for those who can't (or don't want to) buy reserved tickets.
Bowen Field is certainly not the premier park to visit in the Appalachian League, but provides an inexpensive way to take in a baseball game, and has some fun elements.
Member Review by paul on Sep 10, 2012
Winding through the hills of the border between the state line separating West Virginia from Virginia, you’ll find the little town of Bluefield. Bowen Field is located in Virginia, but is maintained by the Bluefield, West Virginia portion of the city.
The team changed affiliations from the Baltimore Orioles to the Toronto Blue Jays beginning with the 2011 season. Bluefield Blue Jays has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?
The Blue Jays are members of the Rookie level Appalachian League. Like many of the ballparks of the Appalachian League, Bowen Field is a no frills experience. The small venue has a capacity of 3,000 and was originally constructed in 1939, although much of what is seen today was part of a reconstruction completed in 1975.
504 Commerce Dr
Bluefield, VA 24605
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