LewisGale Field at Salem Memorial Baseball Stadium (map it)
1004 Texas St
Salem, VA 24153
Year Opened: 1995
There are no tickets available at this time.
The baseball team in Salem, Virginia has a surprisingly long history, extending back over 55 years when it began as a Pirates affiliate in 1957. After changing affiliations seven times, the Salem Red Sox now exist as the Red Sox entry in the Advanced A Carolina League.
The franchise has played at the 5,503-seat LewisGale Field at Salem Memorial Ballpark since it opened in 1995. The park started life simply as Salem Memorial Ballpark, but corporate naming rights for the field were sold to the Lewis-Gale Medical Center in 2003. The ballpark lies within the greater James E. Taliferro Sports and Entertainment Complex, which also holds the Salem Civic Center and Salem Football Stadium.
Say what you will about the Red Sox, but their minor league system is universally above-average in facilities and amenities, and LewisGale is no exception. LewisGale Field at Salem Memorial Ballpark is a great park, with excellent concessions, at a very reasonable prices, but despite that, the franchise still seems to have problems getting people to come.
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Especially for a single-A park, there are a lot of options to eat and drink at LewisGale Field, and nearly all are at reasonable prices.
Two main concession stands flank the home plate plaza, and two "Snack Shacks" sit at the end of each seating area in left and right field. "Swine Drive" is on the promenade behind first base, "Fowl Territory" sits opposite behind third base, and "Bull & Bones" is on the outer walkway just to the right of the home plate entrance.
The ballpark standards are available at the main concessions. Hot dogs ($3.50), burgers ($5), and chicken sandwiches ($5) are on sale alone, or with fries in a basket (burgers & chicken sandwiches, $8). Swine Drive serves up 10 loaded specialty dogs alone ($5) or with a fries basket ($8), as well as Italian sausages and kielbasa ($5/$8 basket).
Fowl Territory delivers generous baskets of tasty boneless chicken wings and fries ($8) with a choice of six sauces (with a helpful chart to find the right one for your palette). Bull & Bones is a Virginia Tech mainstay in nearby Blacksburg, and their stand at the park offers up various chicken, burgers, and BBQ pork selections from $8-$12, but, to be honest, the ballpark version isn't that great, and definitely not worth the premium price. Kids meals are on offer at the main concessions with hot dogs ($5) and chicken tenders ($6).
If you're planning to drink at the park, save some time and get your ID out when you come through the gates and go right to the ID kiosk in the entrance plaza to get your wristband. LewisGale Field is one of the most beer friendly parks in the minors, as each concession has a helpful sign on the outside devoted to exactly which beers they have available. Drinks are to be had at every regular concession stand, as well as a couple of beer-only stands right by home plate. Twenty ounce beers are $5.50 and specialty drafts are $6.75 across the park, with some concessions also selling $4-$8 bottles and cans. Suds choices range from basic Bud, Bud Light, Coors, Miller, PBR, and Natural Light to Yuengling, Fat Tire, Devil's Backbone, Sam Adams, Woodchuck, Bold Rock, Dos Equis, Leinenkugel, and Parkway. Once again, check the sign on your concession to see if they have what you want before you order. More discerning imbibers can also get $6 wine.
Recreate a little Beantown down South and grab a Sam Adams draft ($6.75) and a Boston Dog basket ($8) from Swine Drive and take a seat behind home plate to watch some batting practice before the game.
The facilities at LewisGale Field are well thought out and increase the enjoyment of the game.
The main entrance opens up into a spacious entrance plaza that leads out to a table seating area on the promenade behind home plate. It is great for eating while watching batting practice or the game and is an especially nice feature you don't find in many parks.
The press box and luxury boxes run above the promenade behind home plate, and the main scoreboard in right-center keeps you up-to-date on the game. Both seating areas end in picnic areas in left and right field, but outside left field is where the action is. The team store, the birthday zone, the Salem Roanoke Hall of Fame, and Mini-Fenway are all at the end of the outside walkway in left. With the exception of Bull & Bones, all the concessions are on the wide main promenade, letting you grab grub and suds while not losing track of the game. The seats are all comfortable, if not luxurious, and there aren't any obstructed view issues.
The between inning entertainment is run by the mascot, Mugsy, and the fan team. Your standard minor league amusements rule the roost here, with races, contests, birthday announcements, and the Seventh Inning Stretch to keep the younger fans interested over the course of the evening.
Plan at least a day ahead to avoid paying the extra $2 game day ticket charge. All the sight lines are good, and if you're looking to save some money, since crowds are sparse, grab general admission seats behind home plate or the home dugout at third (depending on your preference).
Salem is an independent town in western Virginia about 15 minutes west of larger Roanoke, the southern railroad hub.
Despite its size, Salem has some interesting dining options. Cuban eatery El Cubanito (right off 11) and the local-rave Blue Apron Restaurant and Red Rooster Bar (off 460) are a short drive from the field. Billy's Barn & Lounge, with its local family style cuisine, is a little north of 81 on 419. Further west on 461 yields the local-favorites Salem House family restaurant and Awful Arthur's Seafood Co. If the choices don't appeal to you, a short drive to Roanoke will yield even more dining options.
In Salem proper, there are a few diversions. Thunder Valley entertainment center can keep the kids occupied, while the small Salem Museum has a bit about the area. Just down I-81 is Dixie Caverns for some spelunking adventures. Most things of interest are a short drive down the road in Roanoke, including the Mill Mountain Zoo, the Mill Mountain Star, Link Museum, Taubman Museum of Art, and the Virginia Museum of Transportation (an absolute must for any train buffs).
Days Inn and the extended-stay Affordable Corporate Suites are just to the north of the ballpark complex north of 419. Marginally further to the south on 419 are Comfort Inn Suites and Hampton Inn. Further north at the juncture of 419 and I-81 are the Baymont Inn, La Quinta Inn, and Holiday Inn Express. There are a further half-dozen hotels to the west by 81 (and Virginia Tech) and an equal distance to the east are a dozen or so more on 581 by the Roanoke airport.
Build it, and they might still not come. While the facilities at LewisGale Field are definitely above average for the league, the team seems to have attendance issues.
The crowd was sparse at the game I attended, but that blame most likely rests with on-and-off rain all day right before a holiday weekend. However, the Salem Red Sox generally are in the middle or bottom of the pack in Carolina League attendance, so the crowd that night is not all that unusual.
As with a lot of minor league teams, the family dominated fans are there as much for the between innings entertainment as they are the baseball. Salem Red Sox fans seem to be of that stripe, but they do pay attention to the game and make some noise when appropriate.
LewisGale Field is located a short distance from I-81, and just off state road 11 and county road 419.
Roanoke Valley Metro bus line 91/2 ($1.50) will get you to the park, but you're better off driving. Greyhound has a terminal next door in Roanoke. There are two regional airports (Trussmark in Salem and Roanoke-Blacksburg to the east), but the park is three hours away from several International airports (Richmond to the east, Raleigh-Durham to the southeast, and Charlotte Douglas to the south).
Free parking for both the ballpark and the adjoining football stadium is in the large lot next to both, or at a lot up the hill from the park if an event is occupying the larger parking area.
The main entrance is split into two gates: one (with a painted red carpet) for the season ticket holders and another gate next to it for everyone else. Crowding isn't a big issue, and the line moves quickly to get in an hour before game time.
Getting around the park is a snap. The entrance plaza behind home plaza is large and wide to prevent bunching up when the gates open, and there are three ways around the park. A wide promenade at the top of the seating bowl extends the length of the seats, and a smaller path halfway down the seats splits the box seating area. An outside walkway among the stadium archways runs around the outside of the park to give another way to get around, as well as access to more concessions.
The minor leagues live and die by providing affordable family entertainment, and the Red Sox clearly know this. Tickets are quite reasonable for mid-level ball, food prices won't break the bank, and parking is even free.
Ticket prices are in three tiers: $11 premium seats (behind home plate), $9 box seats (in the lower area of the seating bowl), and $7 general admission tickets (for the second, higher section of seats). All tickets are $2 more on game day, so purchase ahead of time to save a little money.
Except for The Bull & Bones, everything (including basket meals) are $8 and under and kids meals are available. Even draft specialty beers are just $6.75. You can feed a family of four for under $30. Parking and programs are free, so there's not much more to say. A Salem Red Sox game is a very affordable night out.
Standard minor league discounts are in effect (seniors, children, and military get $1 off all seats), but other plans are definitely not standard. Kids and Seniors are beneficiaries of the outstanding Kids Club and Silver Sluggers, respectively.
The Kids Club serves up ten tickets, a t-shirt, two autograph sessions, 10% discounts at the store and baseball camps, 10 kids-eat-free Sunday games, and two free tickets to each "Family Night" for just $30 ($25 if you're renewing from the previous year).
The Silver Sluggers provides 10 dated box seats, two undated vouchers, t-shirt, 10% store discount, two club-level Silver Slugger events, and a "Meet the Team" party, also only for $30. "10th Man Flex Plans" will get you 10 undated box seats or GA tickets vouchers, and groups of 10 or more get $1 off per ticket and video board and PA announcements. Discounts and perks are available for five-game, quarter-season, half-season, and full-season ticket plans. Luxury suites start at $500.
LewisGale Field has a lot of extras to give the park experience added depth. A large veteran's memorial is just inside the entrance to the park, and a POW/MIA seat is on the home plate promenade. The dedication plaque for the park is a short distance away. Player banners line the outside walkway of the park, and team championship banners are just below the press box on the interior facade of the park.
Most notable is "Mini-Fenway" out in left field, a wiffle-ball scale Fenway Park that is open before games and for birthday parties. Right next to Mini-Fenway is the Salem-Roanoke Baseball Hall of Fame (usually open on game days), the team store, and the white picket-fence Ben & Jerry's Birthday Zone.
The free scorecard is also of note as being one of the largest and nicest scorecards for sale or give-away that I've run across. The staff is also very friendly and helpful.
LewisGale Field is an exceptional facility, especially for the Carolina League, with a fantastic overall ballpark experience. It is a shame that more people aren't there to fill it.
The Salem Red Sox, the Advanced-A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox, have called LewisGale Field at Salem Memorial Baseball Stadium home since it opened in 1995. The Red Sox play in the Southern Division of the Carolina League and hosted the All-Star game for the league in 2006. The stadium took a little less than one year to build at a cost of roughly $10 million. The stadium has a capacity of 6,300 and is also home to the Roanoke College baseball team.
The stadium is located in the Taliferro Sports and Entertainment complex, which also houses a football field, civic center and the fairgrounds. Although the stadium has only been open for 17 years, minor league baseball has been played in Salem for almost 60 years and has seen many future major-leaguers play in their town; Orlando Cepeda, Moises Alou, Dave Parker, Art Howe and Tim Wakefield are a few of the stars that honed their craft in Salem.
I like the stadium it is one of the best in the valley
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