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Official Review by Josh Oakes, Stadium Journey Special Correspondent
There is no sound quite like a baseball cracking off a wooden bat on a summer afternoon. This is just the hometown feel you will experience at Kate Collins Field in Waynesboro, Virginia. There is a homey charm to this park. Evergreen trees line the outfield from dead center to beyond the foul pole in right field. Private residences make up the rest of the backdrop, along with a public road.
The Generals have been playing at Kate Collins Field since the early '50s, and are one of the original six teams of the Valley League.
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".
Kate Collins Field and the Waynesboro Generals do not serve alcohol, but this is more than made up for by the wide variety of food options available. As you walk in from the parking lot along the first base line, the unmistakable aroma of burgers, hot dogs, and mouth-watering Carolina barbecue reach your nose and draw you to the concession stand located behind home plate. There is almost always a line, as this is the only concession stand, but the wait is worth it. Kate Collins Field boasts a menu with 15 food items, seven kinds of soda ($1), five kinds of Gatorade ($2), and water ($1).
It is a sin to visit Virginia and not sample the barbecue, and what better place to do this than at a baseball game? This is local barbecue at its finest, and you can purchase a barbecue sandwich (with slaw, of course), delicious fries, and water or a soda for $7.50. This is not your run of the mill barbecue, slaw, and fries combo; this is Virginia barbecue. Nothing beats the local barbecue in Virginia. The second-most popular dish at Kate Collins Field is the fries. Massive, golden, and crispy, these fries are a meal in and of themselves.
Waynesboro is located at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains in the gorgeous Shenandoah Valley where the phrase "limited portions" is unfamiliar to the locals.
A couple of small sets of bleachers behind home plate and a few picnic tables comprise the seating at Kate Collins Field. The rest is up to the fans to bring lawn chairs or blankets. The locals are typically friendly, and there are a few die-hards scattered amongst the crowd. This aside, this place is lacking overall excitement and enthusiasm.
It's Waynesboro; the only reason this place gets a 2 instead of a 1 is because there are a few good restaurants in the area. There is absolutely nothing at Kate Collins Field. About five minutes away (by car) is a terrific little Mexican restaurant called Mi Rancho. I have been to this place more times than I care to count. The food is plentiful, cheap, and delicious and the staff is always friendly. Mi Rancho also offers a decent selection of margaritas and tequilas in various sizes.
In the opposite direction is a charming little book/ soup café called Stone Soup Books. The building used to be a small residential home, but has been renovated and turned into a place straight out of a storybook. The prices are low, the ingredients fresh, and the atmosphere relaxing. This place is a must for anyone visiting Waynesboro, Virginia, and is one of the only places where I recommend spending any time. If you're looking for alcohol, there are two bars downtown that also serve as restaurants; the Greene Leaf Grille and the Heritage Grille.
The fans are by no means rowdy, though you can find a fanatic or two on some nights. Most of them are polite and willing to talk about their team. They do love their team and most people know all the player's names and stats.
It should also be noted that Waynesboro is the only team in the Valley League to offer live play-by-play on the radio.
This place is relatively far from the freeway, but is not too hard to find. There is plenty of parking, but there is only one entrance and one exit, which causes a bit of a mess after the games. You pay when you enter the parking lot, since there really is no front gate (or any gate for that matter).
The barbecue and fries are really the only reason I would go back here. Cheap barbecue and baseball are always fun.
Again, barbecue and fries.
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