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Official Review by Tracey Mitchell, Stadium Journey Special Correspondent
Hunter Wright Stadium is named after a multi-term mayor of Kingsport who was very popular. The ballpark was built in 1995 and has a capacity of 2,500. The Kingsport Mets are part of the Appalachian League, short-A season. The team has been affiliated with the New York Mets since 1980, and they have had quite a few notable players come through Kingsport including Darryl Strawberry, Dwight Gooden, Jose Reyes, and David Wright as well as having Mookie Wilson as a coach.
In addition to the K-Mets, Gate City, Virginia High School plays their home baseball games at Hunter Wright Stadium in the spring.
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".
The concession stand food is that of the average ballpark with hot dogs, nachos, drinks, as well as sausage with pepper and onions, cheese sticks, hamburgers/cheeseburgers, and cheesesteak.
They also have a taco in a helmet that is really good and you get a souvenir in the process. A K-Mets helmet is filled with ingredients of a taco (similar to a taco salad). Pricing is average and ranges from $2-$5.50 for items.
The grill and concession area smells delicious and draws you in as you enter the ballpark through a covered area that brings you past the concessions into the field area. Beer is served on tap.
For the kids, the shaved ice cart has a steady line all game long. Clearly one of the most popular items in the park, portions are large, and flavors are strong but not overbearing.
The concession area is very clean and well-kept throughout the whole game.
The atmosphere is upbeat with the fun patrol signing people up as they enter the gates to play games in between innings. The team gives many prizes away to the winners/participants of the games from local area businesses.
The crowd is great and the seating does allow for the visiting side to sit in the shade. The home team endures the sun for an hour or so at the beginning of the game until the sun moves to set. There's a small reserved seat section behind home plate, but the majority of the seating is bleachers down each of the baselines. You can sit down the line and get out from behind the screens for a clearer view.
From the time you enter the gate, the staff is welcoming and the players greet the fans in a covered canopy that fans must walk through to get to the field. Fans can stop and take pictures and have items signed by the players. The Mets average 8-10 players in the canopy for the first 20-30 minutes that the gates are open to allow fans to get to know the team and collect autographs.
The field is located off of a main highway with signs visible on where to turn. Hunter Wright Stadium is easily accessible from Interstate 81 and Highway 26. It is close to the Virginia state line. The neighborhood is nice with many shops, restaurants, and the Holston Valley Medical Center.
Kingsport is a city with Eastman Chemical Company as a main industry. It is also a very rich cultural city with many art sculptures in their downtown area and small independent businesses. There are hotels and restaurants within 2-5 miles of the field as well as shopping.
Not too far from Hunter Wright Stadium is Biggie's Clam Bar, which seems out of place in Northeast Tennessee. It is one of three restaurants which originated from Hoboken, NJ, and they serve excellent seafood and a wonderful atmosphere. There are numerous TVs for keeping up with the day's sports, wonderful service, and a good beer selection at the bar. This is my recommendation for dinner before the game, or as a place to hang out after the game.
The fans here love to cheer. The Mets have developed a great following over the decades in Kingsport, and their fans are not afraid to let the umpires know when a bad call has been made. It's a fun atmosphere and family oriented. Although you have the very vocal fans, they are not foul-mouthed or extremely rude, they just love their team.
The field is easily accessible from the main road, located in a business district. There is plenty of parking in a well-lighted area, and it is free of charge.
They have handicap accessible bathrooms that are clean and well kept. The souvenir stand, concessions, bathrooms and field as well as the parking lot are easy to get to with no steps or obstacles.
Season tickets in the reserved section are $120, while general admission seating is $70. Single game tickets for general admission are $5 with reserved seats being sold for $7. The team offers senior and military ID discounted tickets for $4, as well as children 12 and under for $4. The pricing is average for an Appalachian League game and worth the entertainment and atmosphere. This is a great little ballpark.
Hunter Wright Stadium is located adjacent to a dog park. If you are a dog owner, you could easily walk your pet in the park and listen to the game over the PA system at the field. When spectators are sitting in the stands, they can see the people walking dogs on the trails behind the outfield fence. It would be easy to play fetch with your pet when a home run is hit.
The staff is helpful and friendly, and do a good job of making sure that fans are enjoying the experience at Hunter Wright Stadium.
Member Review by paul on Aug 23, 2012
Since 1980, the ball club in Kingsport, TN has been affiliated with the New York Mets, and since 1995 the squad has played in Hunter Wright Stadium. It’s a small venue with the main concourse stretching above the seats and down the first base line. The main entrance takes you in through a short tunnel with the lone concession stand on your right and the field straight ahead.
There’s just something about walking out of a dark tunnel with the green of the field in front of you on a sunny day. This effect is accentuated by the trees which surround the outfield walls, and right filed side of the stadium.
Like many ballparks in the Appalachian League, Hunter Wright Stadium offers a very basic game presentation, where fans will just want to sit back and watch the baseball.
Member Review by ballparkreviews on Jul 04, 2013
Took in a game here in June of 2013 and really enjoyed the experience. As with all the Appy League parks, the atmosphere does not feel scripted and the fans are not here because it is the cool place to be. They are just here to watch baseball and have a relaxing night out. It appears that the concessions have improved since the reviewer attended a game here. The pavilion along the first base side now offers several grilled sandwiches from Biggies - I tried the cheesesteak, which was quite tasty. The main concession stand also offers a taco in a helmet which looked delicious. They do also sell beer now. Overall, this is probably one of the better ballparks in the App League.
Member Review by dberger on Aug 29, 2013
Kingsport is one of the newer and more modern parks in the Appalachian League, at less than 20 years old. While still a small park, it has enough capacity to host regional tournaments, as well as college tournaments, like the NAIA World Series. Kingsport does a nice job of mixing more modern conveniences with the charm of traditional neighborhood sponsored Rookie level baseball.
Member Review by oldskoolberk on Feb 23, 2014
The one thing if you go to this park or any Appalachian League Park (that isn't Greeneville) is that you feel like you might be at a community ballpark or a ballpark that is for a high school/college. Strangely, before Hunter Wright Stadium, the Mets played their games at a high school. With that said, going to this park provides an interesting experience.
FOOD & BEVERAGE: Suprisingly, there is a variety with barbecue and Mexican, not to mention snow cones. The big "unique" item was nachos in a helmet (and not one of those Ice cream helmets, but larger). It was very tasty actually. The pulled barbecue sandwich was very tasty as well.
ATMOSPHERE: Something about this place gave it a unique feel. Maybe because it just had that "community" style that when you see the players run to the concession stands before the game to eat and even talk with the fans, just made it different.
NEIGHBORHOOD: In terms of local eats, you will need to take a drive out of the park because it is only a neighborhood (looked like a seniors community was near the park) near there and the mountains in the background. I can't really badmouth it given it provides a great scenic backdrop.
FANS: Maybe the game I went to, which was delayed an hour for rain, had dampered the fans spirits or maybe it was the Twins jumping on the Mets early, but they seemed disinterested. Some of the fans in Elizabethton made the drive over and made more noise than the Kingsport fans.
ACCESS: Easy to get to as you get off the interstate and it is right off the main highway in Kingsport. Parking is free and easy.
ROI: Everything save for souvenirs is very cheap. Most foods (except for the cheesesteak) hit at under $5 and tickets for box seats are a bargain at $6. And you have a shot at winning a game used bat for $2 among other things such as free tickets & whatnot.
EXTRAS: All you're really getting is baseball at its purest form here. Nothing wowing on the architecture, scoreboard, or any of the "quirks" a new ballpark has. But you have a group of employees who try to make your experience worthwhile and seeing players do their darndest to make it to the next level.
1229 E Stone Dr
Kingsport, TN 37660
417 W Stone Dr
Kingsport, TN 37660
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