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Official Review by Aaron S. Terry, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
H.P. Hunnicutt Field is a no-frills minor league park in the Appalachian League, where the focus is on the baseball and not the amenities. Home of the Princeton Rays, Hunnicutt Field opened in 1988, and has a capacity of 1,700. The field is located behind the local high school, and is shared with the high school baseball team. The stadium was renovated in 1999, and now features covered plastic bucket-style seats behind home plate, and uncovered metal bleachers along the baselines.
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".
Hunnicutt Field offers a lot of variety at its one concession stand, but the quality and portion sizes are a little hit-or-miss. Also, most items are made to order, so it will take a few minutes to get your food.
The concession stand is located right underneath the grandstand, and offers burgers, hot dogs, barbecue, cheese steak, corn dogs, and fried bologna sandwiches. In addition, you can purchase nachos, mozzarella sticks, fries, chips, peanuts, popcorn, candy, cotton candy, ice cream, pickles, Cracker Jack, funnel cake fries, and sunflower seeds. Prices range from 50 cents for the smallest items to $6 for platters, which include fries, a drink, and a different main dish each day of the week. Mondays are Dollar Madness Days, with a few items offered for only $1. The concession stand even has a TV, so you can watch the game while you are waiting in line.
No alcohol is sold at Hunnicutt Field, but you can purchase lemonade, sweet tea, water, Gatorade, slushies, coffee, hot cocoa, Pepsi products in bottles, and even milkshakes; drinks cost $1 to $3.
The barbecue sandwich is terrific, but the pretzels are the heat-up-in-the-microwave variety, and are practically inedible. The funnel cake fries are tasty, but the portion only includes 10-12 of them, as does an order of French fries, which isn't much for $3.
Hunnicutt Field is one of the smallest stadiums in the Appalachian League, but the game day experience offers both highs and lows.
Most of the seating is slightly above the field, but there are some scattered benches and picnic tables at field level behind the netting, if you prefer to watch from there. However, the netting is very thick in some places, so it could obscure your view slightly. It is also a little difficult to move around the box seat section (behind home plate), as there are lots of railings and staircases here - check out a video of what I mean:
On the plus side, the mascot Roscoe is very active, and the fans really seem to enjoy his antics. In addition, the Rays offer the typical game day promotions during breaks in the action, such as 50/50 raffles and underwear races (three kids on each team, each team runs while sharing a gigantic pair), and they also sometimes provide giveaways, such as poseable figurines.
Besides the box seat section being hard to move around, those seats are also slightly more expensive. Some of them are also reserved for specific individuals, so you won't have your choice of seats. Unless you really need a chair back, you are better off sitting in the bleachers, where there are fewer obstructions and more room to move around.
The stadium is located in an odd part of town, close to a Sheetz gas station and several fast food restaurants, but there are some decent restaurants and several hotels about three miles away, on US Highway 460 near the I-77 interchange.
Most of the restaurants in this area are chains, such as Chili's, Applebee's, and Outback Steakhouse, which are certainly fine places to hang out before or after the game, with good selections of alcohol and a couple of TVs.
There is not a lot to do in Princeton, arguably one of the smallest cities in the country to host minor league baseball. There is a war museum and a railroad museum, but a much better bet would be to head about 30 minutes north into Beckley, which has a host of shopping and other attractions, including an exhibition coal mine.
Princeton is located off exit 9 on I-77, and there plenty of hotels near the freeway, such as Sleep Inn and Comfort Inn, which are only a few miles from Hunnicutt Field.
The Rays boast the second-lowest attendance in the Appalachian League at less than 900 per game, which is about half-full. However, even on light attendance days, the fans are very loud, almost becoming angry when their team isn't doing well.
Even though not many of the fans wear team gear -- which is sold on-site, by the way -- they do tend to stay engaged during the game, and cheer (or boo) at the appropriate times. It is worth noting that the crowd includes hardly any visiting fans, which is nice to see - at some venues, the visitors seem to outnumber the home fans.
Except for the box seats, the stadium is very easy to get around, due to the layout and the small crowd.
Parking is free right outside the sole entrance into the park, and tickets are sold from a booth located there.
The concourse is uncovered, and goes around the outside of the park. It is very wide, and there are several ramps for the physically challenged, so it is easy to get where you need to be. The bathrooms are a little dilapidated and in need of paint, but are located right next to the concessions stand, so they are easy to find.
Tickets and concessions are on the low side compared to other minor league parks, but Hunnicutt Field doesn't have much in the way of amenities. Also, there isn't much to do in Princeton, so this is probably more for local fans, not an out-of-towner's road trip bucket list.
Tickets run $5 to $7 each, but the Rays offer frequent promotions with free admission for all. They also offer food specials every day of the week, with Monday offering the best deals of all.
One point for the mascot, Roscoe. He's very animated and entertaining, and he even talks! Most mascots can only wave.
A second point for the great promotions, such as free tickets for certain games, daily food specials, and promotional giveaways. It is great to see the staff really going out of their way to appreciate the fans.
Hunnicutt Field may not be the best park in the Appalachian League, but it is worthwhile if you live nearby and want to take in a game. If you pick the right night, your visit could be free -- or at least nearly so.
Member Review by collegiatestdms
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.
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.
1150 Oakvale Rd
Princeton, WV 24740
311 Greasy Ridge Rd
Princeton, WV 24740
1500 W Main St
Princeton, WV 24740
1015 Oakvale Rd
Princeton, WV 24740