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Official Review by Marc Viquez, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
Consol Energy Park is home to the Washington Wild Things of the independent Frontier League. The stadium opened in 2002 as Falconi Field and seats a comfortable 3,200 spectators for baseball. The facility features a synthetic turf field that was installed before the 2010 season, visual photos of menu items, grassy areas, and easy access throughout the concourse. The ballpark once housed a hot tub in the left field corner, but that is no longer a feature of the experience.
The city of Washington’s population is near 14,000, but is only 30 minutes away from Pittsburgh, PA and Wheeling, WV. Located adjacent to I-70 and near the Washington Crown Center shopping mall, the colorful ballpark offers various food options, between inning promotions, and even cookies and milk.
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".
There are plenty of wonderful food varieties ranging from typical baseball cuisine to indulgent sweets for the kids. There are your basic hot dogs, nachos, peanuts, and hamburgers. However, there is the the BBQ hot dog that is served with nacho cheese, pulled pork and barbecue sauce. Other smoked favorites are the pulled pork and barbecue sandwiches topped with a giant onion ring. You can wash them down with Miller Lite, Budweiser, or Yuengling drafts (16-24 ounce cans), or Pepsi products straight from the fountain.
The Wild Things may hit a home run with their sweet and decadent treats that are perfect during a hot summer day. Choose from deep fried Oreos, funnel cakes, cinnamon bites, soft serve ice cream, frozen candy bars, or Kona Ice (all natural syrup flavors poured over shaved ice). There is also the ice cream igloo located near the kids zone down the first base line that offers frozen bananas, ice cream floats, and ice cream cones and cups. The milk and cookies served during one inning for a buck is a tradition at the ballpark.
The concession items are also very reasonably priced with hot dogs ($2.50), nachos ($5), cheeseburgers ($5), chicken tender baskets ($8), and barbecue pork, hot dogs and pork ($6). The ballpark also serves a Wheeling, West Virginia, classic- DiCarlo's Pizza by the slice for $4. The pizza is served by the square with pepperoni.
The facility is very cozy and typical of many other Frontier League stadiums dotted around the midwest portion of the country. The ballpark is colorful and strays away from the basic colors of hunter green and brick red. Instead, the colors have been replaced by sand, salmon, royal blue, and deep red hues on the interior and exterior. The playing field is synthetic from the baselines to the pitcher's mound. Management stated that due to the area's unpredictable rainy weather during the early months of the season, the field is much easier to manage.
Consol Energy Park offers a grandiose main entrance that is visible from I-70 and includes a giant size inflatable Wild Things mascot holding a sign to motorists on game times and a statue of local entrepreneur and philanthropist Angelo Falconi, who was instrumental in bringing professional baseball to the area.
The Wild Things offer a lot of action on the field with between inning promotions and an active mascot named Wild Thing who dances on the dugout, poses for group photos, and races around the base paths. When you leave the stadium, be sure to bop the giant size bobble head near the left field entrance. The objective is fun and the organization does a great job of providing it to its patrons.
Washington is a small town, but is adjacent to a large shopping mall and various chain restaurants, hotels, service stations, and local businesses. There are three interesting local restaurants that are worth having dinner and drinks at during your time in the area.
The Union Grill has been nominated as one of the top 20 independent restaurants in Pennsylvania featuring Italian-American cuisine, local drafts, wine, and homemade soups and sandwiches.
If you're in the mood for pizza, then the Upper Crust serves brick oven pies between $9-$15 and The Big WOP- a sandwich with ham, turkey, roast beef, salami, mortadella, salami, and pepperoni.
Nunnie's Place offers smothered steak and meatloaf entrees, and also serves shrimp po-boys, roast beef, and Pittsburgh cheesesteak sandwiches topped with french fries.
The closest hotels and motels are within a mile from the ballpark and include the Ramada, Days Inn, and Comfort Inn and Suites. The George Washington is a historic hotel built in 1923 and located at 60 South Main Street in town; it is elegant, chic, and classy.
The fans attending the game enjoy the atmosphere from the food, games, and promotions. However, the game might take second place.This is common at many minor league facilities, but there are plenty of children screaming, cheering, and encouraging the home team to victory. The fans should feel fortunate that minor league baseball is in the area in such a nice venue.
The stadium is brightly visible from I-70 heading eastbound and just up the hill from the Washington Crown Centre. Unfortunately, there is no signage from the westbound portion of the interstate and some fans may pass it. The parking is free to all motorists and once inside, the bathrooms, concession stands, and portable stands are nicely spaced underneath the main stands or down the first or third base lines.
Attending a Wild Things game can be an extremely affordable night out with the family. General Admission ($5), Reserved ($10), Field Box ($12), and Premier Box ($15) should satisfy anyone's pocketbook. The parking is free and plentiful. An individual can purchase a ticket, grab a drink, and something to eat, plus a cookie, for under $20.
One extra point for the unique tradition of milk and cookies for a dollar. A nice tradition and a great way to stick out among other ballparks in the Frontier League.
One additional point for the collection of sweet treats that range from funnel cakes topped with whip cream, ice cream sundaes, and deep fried Oreo cookies. I was not sure if I was at a ballgame, the Jersey Shore, or the state fair.
I have been passing through Washington between Indiana and New Jersey since 1997 from college; I remember watching it built and stepping inside during its construction. It is a well kept, clean, fresh, and visually pleasing facility that has enough piquancy to stand out among other smaller minor league baseball stadiums in the area. If you happen to pass by this cozy and comfortable stadium, you might want to check out a game.
Member Review by collegiatestdms
Consol Energy Park, home of the Washington Wild Things was opened in 2002. It is quite the modern ballpark, having more of an amusement park feel to it. It is a nicely built park that should last for decades to come.
The field is built right along the highway, above the mall. It is also next to the offices for Pony League baseball and softball and some Pony League fields.
The team itself has been playing in Washington, PA for 10 years. They are an independent team, playing in the Frontier League.
The field is FieldTurf and really seemed a problem for the players. Pitchers were erratic and constantly kicking at the mound to try and get the feel they wanted while batters couldn't dig in like normal.
Member Review by FuriousShepherd on Jan 24, 2012
Been here twice. Both times, the crowd was small but seemed to be interesting in the game. Everything this team is doing seems to be correct and I suspect that they will build up the size of their crowds over time. No complaints at all. Of course, they have to compete with the Pirates who offer low ticket prices and a guarantee that games will never be sold out. That could limit the size of their crowds a bit but it's not the fault of the WildThings. Not exactly sure what their mascot is supposed to be.
13 1/2 E Wheeling St
Washington, PA 15301
2390 Jefferson Ave
Washington, PA 15301
201 S Main St
Washington, PA 15301
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1170 W Chestnut St
Washington, PA 15301