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.
Official Review by Jason Bullock, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
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.
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Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
You can get a good variety of grub at this park. You can get all of your typical ballpark fare (burgers, dogs, and chicken tenders) along with BBQ sandwiches at the main concession stands behind home plate. On the first-base side, there is a stand that also serves cheesesteak or chicken Philly sandwiches and there is a pizza stand on the third-base side. The food is reasonably priced and I received quality food for the price paid.
Pepsi products are available at $4.50 for a 32 oz. and $3.50 for a 24 oz., while bottled water will run you $3.50. For those wanting to enjoy an adult beverage, there is a nice selection of beers available. Bud/Bud Light, Miller Lite, and Coors Light are on tap, as well as Fat Tire, Sam Adams, Yuengling, and a local beer called Roanoke Rail House Track #1. Always great to see local businesses supported! The premium beers are $6.25 for a 20 oz. draft and your basics are $5.50.
If you're looking for ice cream and funnel cake, it's easy to miss. All the way at the far end of the third-base side is your sweet goods stand. You can get ice cream in a waffle or cake cone or a helmet. Funnel cakes come with a fruit or chocolate topping. The funnel cake was tasty and big enough to share.
The two main concession stands behind home plate take credit cards, but all the others are cash only. There is an ATM located directly behind home plate in the main concourse and also one in the team gift shop.
Crowd energy was somewhat lacking during the game. It was a hot day and the ballpark had a lot of empty seats, but I didn't get a real sense of enthusiasm for the events on the field. With extreme heat that day, I figured the fans that did come out were diehards and would really be into the game - I just didn't see it.
The stadium has all the typical between-innings entertainment you would see at a game, and that seemed to pick the crowd up a tad, but then they would settle right back down in their seats and continue with their conversations or their dinner.
While being in a centrally-located complex can have its advantages, there isn't much else in the immediate neighborhood to do before or after the game. If you're looking for a bite to eat in a relaxing atmosphere before or after the game, a couple of fans recommended Mac & Bob's restaurant, which is located about 1.5 miles northwest of the stadium. It apparently has great food, a bar, and outdoor patio seating; I didn't get a chance to try them out personally, but I never argue with the local's recommendations.
Extreme heat = not many fans at the ballpark. While the fans did cheer at the right times, I didn't see that "home team passion" that you see at so many minor league ballparks. Even the fans that were in the suites located above home plate (with air conditioning) appeared to just be there like the rest of the crowd. Maybe it was bad timing, but I was hoping for more from the fans.
The stadium is located just a few miles off of Interstate 81 and easy enough to get to. However, the only issue is I didn't notice any signs on the road alerting me that I was at or near the stadium. As mentioned above, this is a huge complex, but it would have made it easier if there were signs directing you to the ballpark; since I'm from out-of-town, that's a must. Parking is plentiful and free. There are two sets of restrooms located behind first base and two located behind third - the benefits of a modern-built stadium!
Tickets range in price from $8 for general admission to $11 for box seats right behind home plate. Seniors, youths and, military personnel receive $1 off their tickets, and children under 2 are free if they don't require a seat. With free parking and a good value for your dollar in food, I believe an evening at the ballpark is money well spent. $20 a person gets you three hours of fun in the sun and a good meal.
The customer service here blew me away. Everyone I came into contact with that works at the stadium was very helpful and service oriented. I would like to recognize specifically the team that works in the ticket office. They permitted me to exchange my tickets from a previous game I was unable to attend without a problem.
Also, there is a replica of the parent club's Fenway Park on the other side of the third-base concourse that is available for children to use. Bats and balls are supplied and is available on a "first come, first serve" basis.
I really enjoyed the stadium itself; the residents of the area can be proud to call this their hometown ballpark. The fans themselves and the atmosphere at the game, however, appeared to be lacking that excitement that makes the game fun for all.
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