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Official Review by Andrew Pregler, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
Russell E. Diethrick Jr. Park is the oldest ballpark in the New York Penn League. Built in 1941, the ballpark has hosted professional, collegiate and local baseball games since it was opened. Owned by the city of Jamestown, the stadium name has changed from Jamestown Municipal Stadium to College Stadium. In 1997, the name was officially changed to its current moniker in honor of Jamestown’s “Mr. Baseball” as Diethrick was involved in local baseball as a player, coach, manager and organizer.
The stadium has had two modern upgrades in the last ten years: a new scoreboard was added in 2006 and a renovated press box in 2010. Currently, the Jamestown Jammers (NY-Penn, Pirates), Jamestown Community College and Jamestown High School all call Diethrick Park home. The park itself is small with a single concourse that wraps around the grandstand. The seats down the line are bleachers that lead into the bullpens. The team locker rooms are actually in the concourse, meaning players and trainers often walk with fans during the game.
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 food operation is pretty basic. There is one main concession stand that has your basic ballpark food: hot dogs, hamburgers, cotton candy, soda, nachos, popcorn and assorted boxed candy. There is a second auxiliary stand set up next to the home dugout that has some boxed candy and cotton candy along with a small Dippin' Dots stand set up in concourse. Prices are fair, however it's probably in your best interest to find a place in the nearby area to eat pregame and snack while at the game.
One look at the Park's old brick exterior and you know that you're going into an "old school" stadium. The seats are almost all bleachers with the exception of the seats right behind the screen. The new scoreboard is a nice touch, but nothing is hiding just how barebones the stadium is. The on field host is very entertaining, delivering a lot of personality in the inning breaks which included stuffing his face with Tim Bits from Tim Hortons.
Diethrick Park is right in the downtown area of Jamestown. As you sit on the first base side of the stadium, you see the Jamestown Community College dorms sitting beyond left field and the woods backdrop of center and right fields. Residential housing is right across the street from the parking field and the downtown area has a few bars and local joints to hit for meals. The best pregame meal (according to my friend who spent a summer interning with the Jammers) is 15 minutes away in Ashville. At the Ashville General Store, there is a Buffalo Chicken Strip sandwich that is perfect pregame fare at a low cost.
Going on a Thursday night, I was impressed with the turnout, but it wasn't great. During the game, the crowd did get animated when the Jammers scored on a wild pitch but otherwise there was a lack of excitement and passion. It was more of a hangout venue than anything else. However, there was plenty of Jammers hats and sweatshirts in the crowd, which is always impressive to see at a minor league park.
Jamestown is fairly easy to get to from any direction thanks to I-86. Once in the city, the park is pretty easy to find. Just driving through the downtown will lead you to see the stadium off of the main street and signage makes it near impossible to miss. Once you arrive, there is free parking in the field next to the stadium so there are little to no problems reaching Diethrick Field.
Like most minor league ballparks, cheap admission to see professional baseball makes the return on investment well worth the ticket. With prices at $8 for behind home, $7 for grandstand (also behind home but on the bleachers) and just $6 for general admission, seeing professional baseball while being so close to the action is well worth it.
One of the coolest things about the Diethrick Field is the bathroom in the pressbox. Yes, it's not necessarily open to the public however, if you can find a way to sweet talk an employee, the bathroom has an open window so that you can watch batting practice or the game if you're adventurous enough to risk a foul ball.
Member Review by akulyk
Diethrick Park is one of those old school neighborhood ballparks. Built in 1941, it has been primarily used for high school and community college baseball events over the decades, until the Niagara Falls Rapids of the New York Penn League were relocated to this venue beginning in 1994. Renamed the Jamestown Jammers, the franchise is one of three teams owned by the Rich baseball group, the other two being the AAA Buffalo Bisons and the AA Northwest Arkansas Naturals.
Member Review by pderrick on Sep 12, 2011
Jamestown really is average at best. When I think single A ballparks this is what I think of. As demographics continue to change and the baseball market gets bigger I think these small town teams will slowly start looking for bigger and bigger markets.
Member Review by ballparkreviews on Aug 19, 2013
One of the few parks left in the NYPL that harkens back to a different era (along with Auburn and Batavia). The park definitely has a community feel to it as many of the fans seem to know one another. It is not fancy or the cool place to be, but rather a gathering spot for folks to hang out and watch a ballgame. Unfortunately, the Jammers' days in Jamestown are probably numbered as rumors have been swirling about a move to Morgantown, WV - possibly as early as 2014. For my full review, check out my website : http://ballparkreviews.com/template2.php?in_name=Russell%20Diethrick%20Park&in_city=Jamestown&in_state=New%20York
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