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Mackenzie Field

Holyoke, MA

Home of the Valley Blue Sox

3.0

N/A

Mackenzie Field (map it)
500 Beech St
Holyoke, MA 01040


Valley Blue Sox website

Mackenzie Field website

Year Opened: 1933

Capacity: 4,100

There are no tickets available at this time.

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Valley Blue

Not too many people know that the city of Holyoke, located just north of Springfield, Massachusetts is the birthplace of the sport of volleyball. Even fewer may know that in Holyoke is the home of quirky Mackenzie Field and the Valley (born Holyoke) Blue Sox of the New England Collegiate Baseball League. This unique park was once home to AA baseball before finding its niche as a home to summer collegiate baseball.

Named after Medal of Honor recipient John Mackenzie for his actions aboard the USS Remlick during World War I, Mackenzie Field served as the home of the Holyoke Millers of the Eastern League from 1977-1982. The field also hosted the Holyoke Giants of the New England Collegiate Baseball League from 2004-2007 before welcoming the Blue Sox in 2008. The Blue Sox moved to Holyoke from Concord, NH, where they operated as the Concord Quarry Dogs from their inception in 2001.

3.0

What is FANFARE?

The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:

  • Food & Beverage
  • Atmosphere
  • Neighborhood
  • Fans
  • Access
  • Return on Investment
  • Extras

Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".

Food & Beverage    4

The first thing you will notice when entering Mackenzie Field is the concessions. They are impossible to miss, as they greet you at the front gate when you purchase your tickets. The ticket booth doubles as a beer stand, selling cans of Yuengling and Yuengling Light for $5, as well as Budweiser drafts for $4. If you continue down the third base line, it's almost as if you are heading down a carnival midway. The immediate presence of a carnival cart selling cotton candy ($3.50), snow cones ($2), and popcorn ($3.25), doesn't hurt this impression.

Venture further down the concourse and you will come across a stand selling hot dogs ($2.75), hamburgers ($3.50), pizza slices ($2.75), and assorted drinks. At this stand you can also purchase bottles of Budweiser, Bud Light, and Shock Top for five dollars, as well as cans of Corona Light, Harpoon Summer, and Raz-Ber-Rita, also for five dollars.

Another stand offers higher end items, such as steak and cheese subs ($6.75), sausage and pepper subs ($6.25), nachos ($4.50), chicken fingers ($6), fried dough ($4) and fries ($3.75). You can load up your fries or nachos with cheese and meat for an extra couple of dollars.

Added to this impressive amount of concessions is a souvenir table, selling a variety of Blue Sox gear. In addition to the usual t-shirts and hats are some novelties not usually found at the smaller parks of the NECBL, such as bobbleheads, baseballs, and plastic batting helmets.

Atmosphere    3

Typically, summer league games feature a laid back, relaxed atmosphere. That is not necessarily the case at Mackenzie Field. Although the game day experience can hardly be considered in your face, it is much more energetic than your typical college summer league game. There is a great deal of activity on the concourse, as children run from stand to stand and venture over to the bouncy house. As with most other ballparks in the area, a horde of children chasing foul balls is part of the scene.

The Blue Sox provide between inning entertainment, contests, and giveaways throughout the game. It makes for an atmosphere similar to what you would find in the minor leagues. It's not an atmosphere that baseball purists may seek out, but it's a very family-friendly place to take in a game.

Neighborhood    2

Mackenzie Field is located next to Holyoke High School and Fitzpatrick Skating Rink. Holyoke is a small city of 40,000 located eight miles to the north of Springfield. Fans travelling from out of town will not find any restaurants or destinations in the immediate area. A short distance away is the Holyoke Mall, which offers several different chain restaurants and shopping opportunities.

Fans looking for other entertainment options in the area will undoubtedly want to visit the Basketball Hall of Fame in nearby Springfield or Six Flags Amusement Park in Agawam.

Fans    3

The Blue Sox generally rank amongst the leaders in the NECBL in attendance. The team averages around 1,500 fans per game, with larger crowds on the weekend.

Fans at Mackenzie Field are vocal, and involved in the flow of the game. The size of the crowd ensures that this is no "friends and family" type of crowd. The crowd here at Mackenzie Field resembles that of a minor league facility, helped out perhaps by the presence of beer sales at the ballpark, something that you will not find at other NECBL parks.

Access    3

Fans travelling from out of town to a Blue Sox game will find Mackenzie Field rather easily. Simply take exit 16 (Route 202) off of Interstate 91 and follow it for less than ˝ mile. Holyoke High School and Mackenzie Field will be on your right.

Once inside the park fans will see a bunch of small, oddly shaped metal bleachers located directly in front of them behind the home plate backstop. To the left are the concession stands, beer porch, and a small bouncy house for children looking to burn off some energy.

To your right you will find a hill where many fans bring their lawn chairs and blankets to spread out and take in the action. The presence of this hill prevented the building of any permanent stands, and gives Mackenzie Park its unique shape. Down the first base line is the main grandstand, providing seating for about 4,000 fans. It resembles a football grandstand in both shape and size, although there is no sign of football being played at Mackenzie Field. A good-sized press box is located atop the grandstand.

There is a building located beyond the grandstand which houses the restrooms. Fans requiring handicapped access will find these facilities hard to reach, as a couple of staircases must be navigated to reach them, but otherwise the park is fairly easy to navigate.

Return on Investment    3

Tickets for Blue Sox games at Mackenzie Field cost $6 for general admission seating. Seniors, children, and military get a two dollar discount. Parking is available at no charge in the high school lot next to the ballpark. Combined with food prices that are not too expensive, a night at a Blue Sox game is an inexpensive entertainment option for families in the Pioneer Valley.

Extras    3

The Blue Sox offer unique promotions and giveaways at virtually every game, including appearances by Wally the Green Monster and Pat the Patriot. Selected game nights are sponsored by local businesses, including the Basketball Hall of Fame. Giveaways not usually seen at this level of baseball, such as bobbleheads, mini bats, batting helmets, and baseballs dot the schedule. The uniqueness of the concessions and souvenirs also warrants an extra point.

Final Thoughts

Mackenzie Field is unique among its peers in the NECBL in that it is a larger facility than most, and it used to host professional baseball. This makes it similar to many ballparks in the Futures League, which has taken up residence in several abandoned minor league facilities. The game day experience here is similar to the Futures League as well, with a game day experience similar to the low minors. Holyoke has been a fixture in the NECBL for decades, and enjoys a strong following in the Pioneer Valley. It is a facility not to be missed for fans seeking out the top college summer league ballparks in the area.

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