“Historic” Grayson Stadium, as Savannah's ball park is referred to, is a fun baseball field located in Savannah’s Daffin Park. Built in 1926, Grayson Stadium is one of the oldest ballparks in all of baseball. Originally known as Municipal Stadium, the stadium was renamed for Spanish–American War veteran General William L. Grayson who had led the effort to get money for a massive rebuild in the 1940s.
The Savannah Sand Gnats are a South Atlantic League, Single A affiliate of the New York Mets. The team has also been affiliated with the Cardinals, Braves, Indians, Nationals, Expos, Rangers, Dodgers, White Sox, Pirates, Senators, Reds and Athletics over the years.
In 2015 the team’s owners announced that the team will move to Columbia, SC and Sprint Communications Park for 2016. which leaves the future uncertain for Grayson Stadium as well as affiliated baseball in Savannah, GA.
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There is a decent variety of food options at Grayson Stadium, and you will be able to feed your family for a decent price. Hot dogs are $3.50 to $5, Sodas are $3.50 to $5, Hamburgers are $4.50, and Corn Dogs are $3.25.
The Sugar Shack stand down the right field line has some unique items such as the S'Mores Panini ($6) as well as normal baseball sweet fares such as funnel cakes ($4.50) and helmet sundaes ($4.50).
The Southern Comfort right field tiered bar is a pretty nice place for a drink while watching the game. There is also a pretty good concession snack bar at the end of that deck that is quite uncrowded.
Watch for dollar night, where hot dogs, potato chips, small sodas and even Pabst Blue Ribbon beer all go for the bargain price of $1.
The Southern Comfort right field tiered bar is a nice place to watch the game. There is also a real nice left field family area which sits right at field level. Make sure to peer into the visiting team dugout and say hi. It really is that close to the field. You should also find team mascot Gnate visiting and playing with kids in this area.
The concourse is one of those old school types where there are no field views if you want to buy food or souvenirs. A reasonably well stocked team store is on the concourse.
Baseball fans will really hate the netting that protects much more than the normal amount of stands. You will really need to go to the extreme right field and the Southern Comfort right field tiered bar to get a view without the netting.
It is an old stadium so there is plenty of really old seats or simple metal bleachers. There are no luxury boxes and fancy seating areas around Grayson Stadium.
Grayson Stadium is far south of downtown. It is doubtful that any fan will want to make the long trek to and from downtown. The stadium is instead located in a large city park called Daffin Park.
The historic downtown area, with its 22 public squares is one of the best cities to walk and sightsee in the United States. Make sure to give yourself plenty of time to walk around and enjoy this jewel of city.
River Street is the recognized party area of Savannah. If that is your type of fun, you will need to get down to the waterfront as fast as possible. Remember that Savannah has an open carry law for alcoholic beverages, just make sure it is placed in a plastic cup.
Away from River Street there are some great bars and restaurants. In Vino Veritas (102 E Liberty Street, #109) is a simple wine bar with great wines on tap. For beer fans the Crystal Beer Parlor (301 W Jones Street) and The Distillery (416 W Liberty Street) both have great food and a large beer selection.
The 17 Hundred 90 Inn & Restaurant (307 E President Street) has a fun bar, impressive dinners and is also a nice little hotel option. Sure it is touristy but the The Olde Pink House (23 Abercorn Street) offers amazing food at good prices, with spectacular southern style friendly service. I recommend the she crab soup, fried green tomatoes and whole fried chicken.
The spooky and impressive Bonaventure Cemetery is not too far from Grayson Stadium. Spend some time looking at the amazing burial plots located on a bluff overlooking the Wilmington River. The cemetery became famous when it was featured in the 1994 novel Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt, and in the movie, directed by Clint Eastwood, based on the book. The cover photograph of the book was taken by Jack Leigh, and features an evocative sculpture of a young girl, the so-called Bird Girl, that had been in the cemetery, essentially unnoticed for over 50 years. After the publication of the book, the sculpture was donated to Savannah's Telfair Museum of Art to avoid disturbances by visitors to the cemetery. In December of 2014, the statue was moved from the Telfair Museum of Art to the nearby Jepson Center for the Arts, where it is currently on public display.
The fans that sit right behind the plate are knowledgeable. Once you get out to the fringe parts of the park you may see the more casual fan. There are numerous promotion nights so expect that a fireworks night or a popular giveaway item will increase attendance.
The stadium is pretty easy to get to, although walking from downtown is not ideal. Take the local interstate I-16 towards downtown. Get off at 37th Street/Abercorn Street. Take 37th until you reach Abercorn St. Make a right on Abercorn St. Take a left on Victory Dr. The park is approximately 1.5 miles down on the right hand side in Daffin Park.
You will need to find parking scattered around Daffin Park. You should not have any real issues but I did not see any staff assisting in helping finding parking spots.
Tickets are a bargain at $8 for general admission and $10 for box seats.
With the free parking and the convenience of the stadium to access, the baseball fan will find no better value around.
Be on the lookout for Monday games where a coupon found at Kroger grocery stores will get you in for $1. There are also many other promotions so look before going to the game.
The covered grandstand is an interesting attraction of its own. The giant fans above the seats look menacing but provide a nice breeze for hot sunny days here in the south. The lights will also go on for night games and gives the atmosphere under here a bit of an interesting feel to it.
The family area in left field is very nice and still offers great field views. It is amazingly close to the visitors dugout.
It looks like affiliated baseball in Savannah is coming to an end. Grayson Stadium is the kind of stadium that should still be a part of the baseball scene, but unfortunately will probably be empty for many summers to come.
Grayson Stadium (named after Spanish-American War veteran General William L. Grayson), was built in 1926 as the home of the Savannah Indians. It went through a major rebuild in 1941 after a major hurricane decimated the structure in August 1940. A press box and other renovations were added in 1995, and a new scoreboard in 2007.
Currently, there seems to be a movement in Savannah to look at replacing Grayson Stadium with a more modern ballpark designed to spur development at the Savannah River Landing, but at this point, it appears to only be in the earliest of planning stages.
Walking the tree-lined paths of Daffin Park you’ll approach a historic Georgia home for America’s pastime. Built in 1926, Grayson Stadium is home to the Savannah Sand Gnats and one of the oldest ballparks in all of baseball. Baseball has existed on and off in Savannah since 1926 with occasional breaks with the current product being the Sand Gnats of the South Atlantic League, a Single A affiliate of the New York Mets.
News has gotten out the Sand Gnats might be on the move out of Savannah and likely to Columbia, SC as the owner does not see Grayson Stadium fit for baseball anymore and the city is lukewarm to the idea of a new ballpark.
It is a shame on both ends, because Savannah does like their baseball, but also Grayson Stadium is a decent place to take in the game as you do have that "old time" baseball vibe happening.
FOOD & BEVERAGE: Not much in the way of variety as the biggest thing they had was a cheesesteak. You do have Land Shark Landing along the first base side, but overall, the quality of the food is so/so.
ATMOSPHERE: You do have that old time feel to the park, which I enjoy. You have all the fun minor league "quirks" of the mascot, the dancing field crew, etc.
NEIGHBORHOOD: The place is set in Daffin Park, Savannah's largest and nicest park. You have a few restaurants around, but some are family restaurants and you have a small sports bar right across the street, though nobody really seemed to go to before or after the game. I guess a park on the riverfront would help in this category, but not overly necessary.
FANS: In terms of knowledgeable fans, Savannah has them. Just don't go when the Rome Braves are there because most of the fans will cheer for the Braves over the Sand Gnats for the main reason of they will still pull for future Braves players over the future Mets players.
ACCESS: It is on the main road in Savannah as you can't miss. However, parking is limited, though free. If it is a large turnout, you might have problems getting to the game. This is the main reason why the owners want a new park as there is no other way to really expand the parking.
ROI: Everything is pretty much good value here with foods mostly being under $5 and the most expensive ticket around $10.
EXTRAS: I give credit to the PA announcer who made it a little more fun with how he announced names and explained the policies before the game in the park. I like the classic feel of the park, and wish there was some way to keep baseball at this place.
I now know why the name Sand Gnats is so appropriate for this team; they are everywhere!
Food: Yes, you can't beat their prices. I would say some of the best prices in all of professional and college sports. Variety I think is pretty good for an almost 90 year-old ballpark. The one problem is that the main concession stand is on the concourse behind home plate and the lines can be long and slow. But, here is a tip, go to the small window out towards the 3rd base line which had pretty much everything except nachos and there was never a line. Or, walk out toward 1st base line and there are two portable stands serving Philly cheese steaks and another serving different types of grilled cheese sandwiches. The pimento grilled cheese with peppers, onions, and mushrooms was great! There is also a portable grill out front on main plaza that never had a line. Box Seats do come with servers offering the full menu. The beer selection was great, they let you take the unopened can, plus a full liquor bar on the concourse and another up in the Sky Bar out in right field. I have very rarely seen full liquor bars in the general areas of a minor league park, unless it was located in a club area. Of course, Savannah is known for drinking and everyone walking around with their "traveler."
Atmosphere: Yes it's an almost 90 year old stadium, well to be honest most of it was re-built in 1941, so an over 70 year old park, so the concourse is very narrow in some areas, especially where they have portable food carts, some higher up seats are obstructed with steel columns, and there are no club seats or luxury boxes. I must say I was disappointed with my box seat. I was in second row on 3rd base side, but I felt like I was a million miles away from the action. First, the seats are very high up from the field, higher than some NFL stadiums, and way far back from the base lines, compared to other parks I have been to (this park was also designed to accommodate a football field) and the ball netting extends all the way down past 1st and 3rd bases. So, I felt disconnected from the game and not part of it. Next time I will buy a general admission ticket and sit in the 1st base bleachers, which are actually closer to the action on the field. I later ended up standing in the 3rd base picnic area by the fence at field level and that was a better view than my box seat, and I felt part of the game. It's definitely a place to see a game in a real old ballpark, and not a new ballpark made to look old. The box seats were wide and comfortable, aisles were wide, and the restrooms were modern. In-game promotions were entertaining, but with the netting completely blocking the field and roofs of the dugouts from the seats, it was hard for the mascot to interact with the fans from the field. He did come through the stands and was walking around the concourse.
Neighborhood: For residents of the city and surrounding area, the park is pretty centrally located. However, for the visiting fan from out-of-town, like me, it's not as convenient as other downtown parks. Instead of driving from downtown through all the neighborhoods, drive East from downtown on East Bay or East President Streets to Harry Truman Parkway and go South on that to the exit for US 80 (East Victory Dr.) turn right and the stadium is just ahead on the left. It's an old park, so of course it was built in the middle of a neighborhood. Not much within walking distance, although go East on 80 and as soon as you pass under Truman Parkway there are chain restaurants. You are in Daffin Park, so come early and have a picnic!
Fans: The stadium size is just right for Single A ball. The night I was there the stadium was close to 3/4 full. Those in attendance cheered on the home team, the crowd was great, and there seemed to be no fan incidents. I though they were pretty loud tonight, especially when they had to win the game in the 9th. I do agree that it may be hard for these fans to connect with the Mets, when most I would assume root for the Braves at the MLB level. Too bad they can't hook-up with maybe Tampa Bay or Miami.
Access: Again, good location for the locals as it's close to the Parkway and the Interstates, but not for those wanting to hit downtown restaurants and bars before or after the game. And today's trend, except for the Atlanta Braves, is to have your baseball stadium downtown. Parking is free anywhere in the park, but you are on your own to create your space as there are no attendants directing traffic. Ticket prices I thought were reasonable, but I will buy a General Admission ticket next time and float from the bleachers, to the picnic area, to the Sky Bar.
Return on Investment: Ticket prices are good. Parking is free! If you want to experience baseball as it was in the '30's through the '50's then this is the place to go. But hurry, as that also may be the reason why this team leaves for Columbia SC and a brand new stadium in the next year or two. I understand wanting to hold onto old ball parks, and I bet there are a lot of great memories here, but the sign will say Historic Grayson Stadium along with a sign that says "We Have Moved." A stadium down on the riverfront would be great!
Extras: Maybe they had that staff customer service training as I thought the staff were friendly and courteous all night. I was impressed when the National Anthem was sung, all the staff in the stadium, even in areas where you would not expect like in the concourse, outside on the plaza, and at the gates, all staff stopped what they were doing and stood and saluted for the National Anthem. Plaza has bounce houses for the kids, and the team store was stocked pretty good. Here is one final tip, my game was an after game fireworks night. First, park along the park road behind center field scoreboard. Then leave the game around the top of the 9th inning and head back to you car. Then open your sunroof or drop the top and sit back and watch as the fireworks are almost shot right over you from behind center field. Great view and a great show.
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