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Official Review by Joshua Guiher, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
H.P. Hunnicutt Field was extensively renovated in 2000 on the same grounds as the last park, which opened in 1988. It is the home of the Princeton Rays who have played in town since 1988, first affiliated with the Reds and then the Rays. The stadium seats approximately 1,700 fans; with the chair back seats near home plate being under cover while the left and right field bleachers are uncovered.
The field is shared with the local high school team and sits tucked behind the school in an odd spot and does not have any road signage. Make sure you know where you are going ahead of time as Google maps has the location of the field marked wrong and takes you about a mile away to a Jehovah Witness church.
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".
For a small park, the food options were plentiful and extremely affordable. The hot dogs, burgers, fried bologna, etc. are all cooked to order so everything is as fresh as possible.
The concession stand was located under the grandstands behind home plate and offered a Roscoe burger (chicken sandwich, $3.50), hamburger ($3.50), cheeseburger ($4), hot dog ($1.50), hot dog with chili ($2), Philly cheese steak ($4), Barbeque pulled pork ($3.50), fried bologna sandwich ($3.50), corn dogs ($1.50), pretzel ($2), pretzel with cheese ($2.50), Little Caesars pizza ($2), Little Caesars bread bites ($1.50), mozzarella sticks ($4), nachos ($2.50), nachos with chili ($3), French fries ($2), cheese fries ($2.50), chili cheese fries ($3), chips ($1), cracker jacks ($0.50), sunflower seeds ($1), peanuts ($3), popcorn ($1.50), cotton candy ($2.50), candy bars ($1), ice cream ($1), pickles ($1).
Now, because the field is located on the grounds of and shared with the local high school, there are no beer sales. They do carry Pepsi products, with 12oz cans ($1), water ($1), Gatorade ($2), and polar shock slushies ($2).
They also offer a special of the day. The day I visited, they had a huge BBQ ribs combo with fries for $6. Then, to top it off, the chef personally came out to check and make sure I was enjoying the meal. This type of hospitality was prevalent throughout the entire event.
It was a bit hard to judge the atmosphere, as the crowd was a bit small, maybe 1,000 people. There wasn't any chant or music that really stuck out to me as unique or different. They had a few standard fan contests between innings, with the best being where a fan had to put on "drunk goggles" and try to hit a ball into the stands off of a t-ball tee.
The team did have a nice number of give-a-ways where the fans had to check for the winning number in their program. There was also a hard Chick-fil-A trivia question where you could win some free food at the local store.
There is no mascot this year due to a production issue, so I think that hurt a little in keeping the kids entertained, plus there was no play area like most other parks.
Princeton is an old town, with a fairly high level of crime and a median income below the state of West Virginia average. You just aren't going to find much to do in the town. The only decent local restaurant is called Kimono Japanese Seafood, so as you can imagine from the name, if you don't want to eat Seafood or Japanese food, you are going to have to eat at a chain restaurant. However, this is where the low prices and quality menu at the park comes in handy.
There seemed to be a large number of first time fans there the day I went, all with vouchers for free general admission seats, or you could upgrade to the covered chair back section for just $1 more.
The fans were there, and into the game, but there just were not enough of them to make the game memorable, despite the fact that it was an exciting 3-2 game with the Rays scoring once in the bottom of the 9th to tie the game, and again in the bottom of the 10th to win.
Access is a mixed bag. The town of Princeton was easy to get to. Unfortunately the park can be very hard to find as I mentioned in the opening. There are no signs anywhere that let you know how to get to the park and Google maps was no help. Just be sure to read the directions on the Princeton Rays website and it will be easy to find.
Parking is free and easy to access. The bathrooms were huge for the number of people the stadium sat. There wasn't much of a concourse, as it was just a paved area to walk with stairs leading to the seating areas. You could get to any section on the little walkway in front of the seats, so it didn't matter which stairs you decided to go up.
Tickets are just $4 for general admission and $5 for chair backs. There are no suites and there are only around 18 rows, so there is no such thing as a bad seat. You really can't go wrong for the price, especially with the free parking. Plus, some of the local businesses, like the Days Inn, have stacks of coupons for free general admission seats.
An extra point for the hospitality. How many parks can you say that the general manager stands at the front gate saying hi to guests and handing out bobble heads or that the chef checks up to make sure the food is good for the fans? I also enjoyed the free Wi-Fi since cell phone coverage was spotty in the area.
Hunnicutt Field is a nice park with great ticket prices and good food at stellar prices. If you want to catch a game there, I suggest you do it soon as I just don't know how long the team is going to survive in Princeton if the fans don't start showing up and supporting the team in stronger numbers.
Member Review by thecomet89 on Feb 11, 2012
I have been to many ballgames at this field. This is by far one of the best places to catch a ball game not only in Southern WV, but in the country. While small, the stadium does not have a bad seat. Some of the best food Ive ever had at a game. Special of the day as well as burgers and dogs at good prices. Only down side is not alot of fans show for games. Not sure why as admission is only $4-$5 but having another team about 10 miles away in Bluefield does not help. There are plenty of fast food places close to the stadium including a Sheetz right next to the stadium. Also a great Chinese buffet in Dragon Palace and great Mexican place a few miles down the road. There are always giveaways at the games and how many places are there where you can meet the GM in the stands? A must go to place if you love baseball.
221 Greasy Ridge Rd
Princeton, WV 24740
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