With a name like "Historic Calfee Park," you'd expect the place to have been around a bit. And you'd be right in this case, as Calfee Park is on the National Register of Historic Places and stands as the ninth oldest park in use in the minor leagues, originally built in during the Depression in 1935 as a Works Progress Administration (WPA) project. During its long existence, the park has hosted eight previous team incarnations before 2015, when the Yankees moved in to make the Pulaski Yankees their advanced rookie Appalachian League affiliate. The 2,500-seat park has undergone a number of renovations in its 80-year history, and the Yankees, as befitting their reputation, came in over the 2014 off-season with a multi-million dollar renovation of their own, adding new parking lots, bullpens, scoreboard, clubhouses, luxury seating, and a new press box tower that rises over the rechristened Motor Mile Field at Calfee Park.
Calfee Park is a great historic venue that has undergone a fan renaissance with the new team. It has solid food offerings and great overall affordability that overcomes its somewhat limited environs in a tiny Virginia town.
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While there isn't a great deal of variety, the food and drink basics are covered, and at Little League prices.
The main concession stand is in a small picnic area behind home plate and the new press box stand. Three booths serve up all the same offerings. While there is not a huge selection, the prices top out at $6. The cheesesteak is $6, chicken fingers and fries, cheeseburgers, and pizza are all $5 each, chicken sandwiches are $4.75, and BBQ sandwiches are $4.50. Other selections include chili dogs at $2.50, regular fries at $2.50, and "Yankee Fries" (thin cut fries more akin to potato chips) at $3. You can feed two people for less than the cost of a beer at the parent club's stadium.
All beer is $4, for either a can or draft. Blue Moon, Coors, Coors Light, and Yuengling are on offer at the main concession booth or a separate beer stand down the third baseline. Frozen daiquiris are $5.50, and Smirnoff Ice will also cost you $4. You can argue on the selection, but you can't argue the price.
None of the items particularly stand out, but you can make it up in volume. You might as well try out some Yankee Fries ($3) and a chili dog ($2.50), and any of the beers ($4). And you still have change from a ten-spot.
Calfee Park is an ancient ballpark that has been renovated over the years to keep up with modern sensibilities. All the renovations have left the historic character of the park in tact while making it more convenient and comfortable, but traditionalists will always want more of the original preserved and modernists will always demand more conveniences.
Regular patrons have to enter through the historic gate in left field. This empties out right by the visiting bullpen and sends you down a field level walkway along left field and third base. Backless concrete bleachers run the length of third base to home, housing the smoking section and most general admission sections. There is a small stairway leading up to the reserved seats behind home plate and the grandstand seats on the first base side of home.
The brand-new T-shaped tower rises up behind home plate, shading the open-air suites and housing the VIP tower seats, as well as the press box. More open-air boxes run down the length of first base above the home dugout and out to the home clubhouse, providing the best vantage for home team signatures. The new digital scoreboard sits in left-center to keep everyone apprised of the goings-on in the game. The VIP entrance by home plate opens out to a plaza with the team store and leads to a picnic table area by the concessions booth.
On the one hand, the historic park gets you right up next to the action. You can stand literally feet away from the visiting pitchers as they warm up, and most of the seats are essentially at field level, getting you right into the action. On the other hand, the quirks of the park make for some obstructed views to the corners, even from the reserved seats, and you can't walk all around the park. Access down the first base side is cut off by the open-air boxes and the home clubhouse, so you lose a vantage point from an entire side of the park. Also, the netting is in front of all of the seats, which is a bit of a problem for anyone taking pictures. On the whole, the benefits outweigh the detriments, but it is something to be aware of.
The new team unveiled a new denimed cow mascot in 2015, Calf-e (get it?). Calf-e is joined by the Calfee Girls dance squad, the MC, and the Motor City Drumline to provide pregame and between inning entertainment. In addition to some dance routines, the standard minor league contests, giveaways, and races keep the fans engaged between breaks in the action.
Outside of the rarified air of the luxury boxes, perhaps the best seats in the house for a direct view of the game can be had in the general admission seats on the third base side (these are also the only covered seats in the park). Get there early to grab a bleacher seat at the top or by a pole so you can lean back, or one on the backed steel general admission bleachers behind home plate, and enjoy a ballgame for just $5.
Pulaski is a sleepy little southwest Virginia town right next to the south end of the Jefferson National forest.
There are only handful of options for places to eat in town, and most are around Main Street. Regional chain Tom's Drive In is right by the park, and your only non-chain options are the Steer House (family), Tha Dawg House (family), and Compadres Mexican on or off the main drag.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, there's not a ton to do in town. The Raymond F Ratcliffe Transportation Museum offers local and train lore, and the Pulaski Theatre delivers regional stagecraft. The biggest local attraction is the Gatewood Park and Reservoir to the northwest of town that provides cheap outdoor fun, including camping, picnicking, hiking, fishing, and boating.
There are three lodgings available in town: the Beijing Motel, a Budget Inn, and the 132 Guesthouse (a B&B bookable only through Airbnb). Choose your relative comfort level or budget and book accordingly.
What a difference a year makes. While the beautiful historic park was always attended by stalwarts and local backers, the bottom-scraping attendance of the 2014 Pulaski Mariners has been replaced by attendance figures that now challenge for the top of the Appalachian League.
In their first year, the Yankees are drawing big crowds every night. This may have to do with the infusion of a new franchise, the renovations to the park, or some combination thereof. It remains to be seen if the early enthusiasm will continue, but the fans filling the park seem to be entertained and are vocal and positive about the changes that the Yankees have brought.
The enthusiastic crowd is into the game as much as the between innings entertainment, and even a rain-dampened evening is lively, loud, and well attended.
Pulaski is just off I-81 and state route 11 (Lee Highway) runs right through the middle of town and next to the park. But make sure you check directions before you leave. The ballpark is off 11 just to the northeast of the city park that shares its name, and it can be easy to miss and hard to turn around once you do. Many GPS will take you to the city park and not the ballpark if you enter "Calfee Park," but "700 South Washington Ave" will hopefully be the ticket for your direction machine.
Tiny Pulaski has just an on-demand Pulaski Area Transit (PAT) for area seniors, so driving is your only choice to get to the game. The regional New River Valley Airport is to the northeast of town, but your nearest international airport is Raleigh-Durham, a touch over three hours to the southeast.
There are three parking lots on either side of the park. The one by the VIP entrance is, not surprisingly, for season ticket holders or box seat holders only. On the historic entrance side, there are two lots. The closer of the two is for older or disabled patrons, and the further one is for everyone else. All parking is free.
Calfee Park has two entrances. The entrance by home plate is season ticket holder and VIP only, and the entrance through the historic arch by left field is for regular admissions. Entering is quick and painless, so the one gate isn't really a problem.
Getting around the park can be a bit of an adventure. All the recent renovations still comply to some cramped original footprints. The historic entrance in left field leads into a plaza right behind the visiting bullpen. To get to most of the seating areas by home plate, you have to walk the length of the field past the general admission bleachers and then up and over some steps to get to the home plate plaza. All the walkways are suitably wide, but things can bunch up on the way out when going up the small stairs to get the third base walkway out of the park.
One of the big draws of minor league baseball, especially in the lowest levels, is cheap family entertainment, and the Pulaski Yankees deliver on that, with a Yankees twist.
Regular ticket prices are on three levels. Reserved seats are $7 for the three seating areas right behind home plate. Grandstand seats on the first base side behind the reserved boxes are $6, and general admission seating on the third base side (in a small area of metal bleachers by home plate and the long concrete bleachers the length of the field) are just $5.
But only the Yankees could have luxury boxes for rookie ball. VIP seats are available in the press box tower and "open air suites" below the tower and along the first base line are also available (with waitress service) starting at ten people for $1,500.
Everything to eat is $6 and under, and parking is free. You're just not going to do much better than that when it comes to minor league baseball.
Season ticket prices for General Admission seats are $102 ($3 a ticket -- half off!) and for reserved seats for $170 ($5 per game). Flex packs are $70 for 20 games ($3.50 per ticket) and 30 games for $100 ($3 per ticket) for General Admission seats. Group rates and party packs are available for groups of 10 or more. Kids 12 and under can join the free Kids Club that gives free admission to all Sunday games with free food and drink, special player autograph sessions, a t-shirt, merchandise and discounts for other games, all for free. Youth Teams can also get free admission to the park for their team.
Motor Mile Field at Calfee Park is a quirky little park dumped right in the middle of a residential area. A house just beyond right field is protected from home runs by netting, and the owners regularly come out onto their porch to watch the games. And anyone walking by on the road past right field can get a free view of the game through the chain link fence.
The historic entrance in left field is perhaps some of the only original construction left, but stands as a nice reminder of the history of the park, as are the long general admissions and smoking area bleachers that dominate the third base side of the park. Depending on whether you like historic parks or not, the score here will either go up or down one on your preference. Although the renovations have kept the park comfortable enough for modern standards, there are old park quirks that still shine through that will either delight or be despised.
The VIP entrance has a small baseball topiary by the gate, and in the picnic plaza there are dedication plaques for the park, as well as its historic landmark plaque and an information panel on the ownership and the Calfee Girls. And perhaps the smallest Yankee team store in existence (in a small shed) is also by the picnic area.
Your opinion on historic fields will influence how much you will enjoy Motor Mile Field at Calfee Park, but it offers an affordable night out at a great old ballpark in a town where there's not a lot else to do.
Calfee Park is the ninth-oldest minor league park in the country and home to the Seattle Mariners' rookie-level Appalachian League team, the Pulaski Mariners. While it's had its share of renovations for today's world, its status as a rookie-league park in a very small town allows it to maintain a lot of its original charm.
The ballpark has a lot going for it, and has been one of my favorite parks I've visited in the last 10 years. Even though it may get marks down on the FANFARE scale for not being entirely updated, it is not to be missed.
I believe that this part was build during the depression as a WPA project. It is a great place to watch a game. When I was there Calfee Park was home to the Rangers farm team. I remember that the food was good and the ticket and food prices couldn't be beat. The crowd was small but that is to be expected for an Apply League team in the middle of nowhere. I also remember that they player Homer Simpson quotes and sound effects almost non-stop. It was actually very funny and creative. I may never get back here but, if I do, I'll stop at Calfee for another game.
The home of the Seattle Mariners' rookie-level Appalachian League affiliate, the Pulaski Mariners, Calfee Park is a beautiful gem nestled away in the Blue Ridge Mountains just outside the charming town of Pulaski, Virginia. Constructed in 1935 as part of the post-depression Works Progress Administration, Calfee Park is the ninth-oldest professional ballpark in the United States, and it hasn’t changed much in the past few decades. The stadium is an ode to baseball parks of old, with a gate that looks like it belongs to a castle, not a ballpark. The setting is a beautiful fusion of old and new. This place takes you back to the glory days of baseball. I do not know how else to describe it. There is a certain feel about Calfee Park that screams baseball, and baseball only.
A nice little spot with no problems. A long rain delay challenged the staff to keep things entertaining, but they did that for the most part. Good food, open tables to eat, and cheap. Too bad the fans didn't like me wearing my Blue Jays jersey!
934 E Main St
Pulaski, VA 24301
1106 E Main St
Pulaski, VA 24301
51 Commerce St
Pulaski, VA 24301