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Wahconah Park

Pittsfield, MA

Home of the Pittsfield Suns

3.7

3.6

Wahconah Park (map it)
105 Wahconah Rd
Pittsfield, MA 01201


Pittsfield Suns website

Wahconah Park website

Year Opened: 1919

Capacity: 4,500

There are no tickets available at this time.

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Baseball The Way It Used To Be

There are few places to enjoy America’s Pastime in the manner that can be experienced in Pittsfield as it is rare these days to enjoy a competitive game without all of the theatrics that accompany lower-level baseball. Purists can do just that at a Pittsfield Suns game with the added bonus of sitting in a stadium nearly 100 years old. Wahconah Park was built in 1919 and features one of the last wooden grandstands left in the country. Many teams of various leagues have played here through the years, however the last affiliated franchise (the Pittsfield Astros) left to Troy, NY at the end of 2001. Stints in both Independent and Summer Collegiate leagues were tried and failed until the creation of the Suns in 2012. They play in the Futures League and their success means that we may finally have a consistent team in Pittsfield for years to come.

3.7

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    3

Wahconah Park has a food selection that is better than expected for a small, summer collegiate ballpark. Traditional favorites like Hot Dogs ($3), Cheeseburgers ($5.25) and Nachos ($4.50) are all reasonably priced. Also available are Cheesesteaks ($7.50) and Chicken Strips ($5.50), however, it should be noted that recent specialties like Turkey Legs and Pulled Pork are no longer available. There is a decent variety of sweet snacks including Fried Dough, but the best surprise for the child in all of us is the array of candy machines. A mere 25 cents get you a turn of the knob and a handful of colorful sugary goodness like Skittles, Runts, Spree and Bleeps. Go ahead, you know you want to!

As for beverages, Coca-Cola provides various soft drinks for a couple dollars, while the beer is mostly comprised of national macrobrews. There is one exception and that is the Blonde Ale option from Wormtown Brewery (Worcester, MA).

Atmosphere    5

The entrance ramp to the inside of the ballpark is a dramatic introduction with the field and home plate so close. Most of the seating is in the form of an enclosed grandstand that is rare these days, especially considering the base of the structure is made of wood. The first five or six rows are made up of individual plastic seats that may look out of place in their light blue appearance, but are wide and a good option. Red bleachers with backs make up the rest of the seating and these will occasionally have a support beam in the way. While the seating is certainly uncomfortable (especially for tall people), there is an undeniable charm while watching baseball from these old time seats. Adding to the enjoyment is how the roof and back wall enclose the grandstand to resonate applause and it feels like more people are watching and cheering. The Suns have their fair share of promotions and occasionally, an inflatable kids play area is available beyond the outfield, however, there are hardly any of the usual in-between inning contests. Combine that with music that is more organ than pop, and you have an atmosphere that old-timers and purists will quite enjoy.

Two other seating areas can be found in Wahconah Park. A set of metal bleachers down the third base line is pointed towards the pitcher's mound, while on the first base side is a hangout popular with adults. With a beer stand nearby, fans can stand and watch in this area or sit at a table along the foul wall, which is protected by netting.

Wahconah Park points to the west and that means that on a clear evening, the sun will shine right at the batter and fans watching the game. This is the origin of the team nickname. A decent set of trees beyond the outfield reduce the time this is a problem and it's interesting that most note the ballpark pointed in the wrong direction because it was built without lights and games were originally always played during the day. However, many ballparks built in the 1920s, 30s and 40s did not initially have lights and they were not pointed in the "wrong" direction, so I'm not sure why Pittsfield and Bakersfield were the exceptions. The novelty of this unique aspect certainly wears off quickly for those having to stare into the sun.

Neighborhood    4

Pittsfield is a city of 44,000 in Western Massachusetts and it is the urban center of the Berkshires, a mountainous area popular with regional tourists. The Berkshires offer plenty for those visiting in the summer as the outdoor recreation options are plentiful. Other places to check out include the Norman Rockwell Museum, taking in a concert at Tanglewood or a visit to the beautiful house and grounds at The Mount. As for Pittsfield, this is a city still trying to find itself after their primary employer (GE) left town many years ago.

There are some good attractions for visitors though as the Berkshire Museum and Hancock Shaker Village are worthwhile places to spend a portion of the day. Downtown can seem somewhat muted and quiet, but there are historical elements to go along with newer restaurants worth checking out. In particular, District Kitchen & Bar is a great place for a pre-game meal, as is Trattoria Rustica. Wahconah Park is on the northern edge of downtown and though there are spots to eat right near the park, the better options are the restaurants in the heart of town along North Street.

Fans    3

Pittsfield averages nearly 1,500 fans over the course of a season and like anywhere else, the day of the week has a big impact on crowd size. There are those with kids and there are also those that come to "hang out," but I noted much of the crowd focusing on the diamond as many in attendance seem to enjoy and respect the game. They are laid back in their cheering, but the applause is amplified to much greater levels, thanks to the grandstand design.

Access    3

Interstate 90 runs through the Berkshires, but it is a good distance from Pittsfield, so anticipate using smaller two-lane roads to reach the city (like US-7 or US-20). Once in Pittsfield, it is fairly simple to find the ballpark, which is right off of Wahconah Street. The problem becomes parking as the adjacent gravel, bumpy lot does not have any marked spaces or lanes, so drivers are dependent on themselves to make parking rows (generally not a task fit for most people). This can lead to tight lanes, not to mention it is a small lot that may get filled quickly. Alternatives include street parking, or as a last resort, the parking garage at the Berkshire Medical Center. My suggestion is to get to the park early. Another reason for an early arrival is the small ticket booth. A larger than normal crowd can swell the wait to 15 minutes to get a ticket for both will call and purchasing, as it did during my visit on a Saturday night.

The old age of Wahconah Park makes for unusual access points that baseball fans typically are not accustomed to. However, there is plenty of open space behind the grandstand and on the right field side to move well around the ballpark, plus the small bathrooms are modern and adequate for the crowd in attendance. Concession stands are near the front entrance and these also can have a decent wait during peak times. Inside the grandstand, there are a couple of rows and aisles that are clear of seats, which allow fans to reach their preferred location.

Return on Investment    5

Given Wahconah Park's place in history, baseball fans should make a trip to Pittsfield. A very small number of ballparks built in the early 1900s remain hosting competitive baseball and this is a place that should be cherished. The price is right too with free parking, affordable concessions and tickets going for $6 or $10. It should be noted however, that the $10 box seat is the highest price in the Futures League.

Extras    3

It is hard not to notice the plastic owls hanging from the ceiling inside the grandstand. These unusual features are in place to keep the birds away. Not something you see everyday at a ballpark!

Before entering into the stadium, there are two plaques on the exterior wall. One is for Paul Dowd, a local humanitarian, whom the field is named after. The second is noting that Pittsfield was the location for the first College Baseball game in 1859 between Amherst College and Williams College.

Speaking of history, several signs for Wahconah Park include the year 1892. That is when historians first found record of baseball being played on this field. The ballpark structure was built decades later, but the site held games well before that.

Final Thoughts

Pittsfield's Wahconah Park is a special place for those that truly love the sport of baseball and its history. These small ballfields were the gathering spots for communities and it is easy to daydream of a different era while watching the Suns play. Taking in a game at Wahconah may not be a comfortable affair, but it is an enjoyable one.

Follow all of Sean's journeys at Stadium and Arena Visits.

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Crowd Reviews

A Little Bit of Heaven

Total Score: 3.57

  • Food & Beverage: 5
  • Atmosphere 5
  • Neighborhood: 3
  • Fans: 3
  • Access: 3
  • RoI: 3
  • Extras: 3

“Just a Little Bit of Heaven - Pittsfield’s Wahconah Park is Baseball as it Oughta Be” - Sports Illustrated, July 23, 1990.

One of the last ballparks in the country to still feature a wooden grandstand, Wahconah Park dates all the way back to 1919. Through the ballpark’s history, 201 future Major Leaguers have passed through the Berkshires. An additional 100 players with prior Major League experience played for various Pittsfield squads. Over nearly a century of use, 14 different professional teams have called Wahconah home, as well as three different summer collegiate teams. The current tenants are the Pittsfield Suns of the Futures League.

The Suns take their name from one of Wachonah Park’s unique features. Because it was built before the advent of night baseball, little thought was put into the ballpark’s orientation. Thus, it was built facing due west, which results in occasional “sun delays” as batters would otherwise be forced to look directly into the setting sun.

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Local Food & Drink

Tahiti Restaurant and Lounge  (map it!)

101 Wahconah St

Pittsfield, MA 01201

(413) 499-4711

http://thetahititakeout.com/

Trattoria Rustica  (map it!)

27 Mckay St

Pittsfield, MA 01201

(413) 499-1192

http://www.trattoria-rustica.com/

The Marketplace Cafe  (map it!)

53 North St

Pittsfield, MA 01201

(413) 358-4777

http://ourmarketplacecafe.com/

District Kitchen and Bar  (map it!)

40 West St.

Pittsfield, MA 01201

(413) 442-0303

http://district.kitchen/

Local Entertainment

Colonial Theatre  (map it!)

111 South St

Pittsfield, MA 01201

(413) 997-4444

http://www.berkshiretheatregroup.org/

Herman Melville’s Arrowhead  (map it!)

780 Holmes Rd

Pittsfield, MA 01201

(413) 442-1793

http://www.mobydick.org/

Berkshire Museum  (map it!)

39 South St

Pittsfield, MA 01201

(413) 443-7171

http://berkshiremuseum.org/

Norman Rockwell Museum  (map it!)

9 Route 183

Stockbridge, MA 01262

(413) 298-4100

http://www.nrm.org/

Hancock Shaker Village Museum  (map it!)

1843 W. Housatonic St.

Pittsfield, MA 01201

(413) 443-0188

http://hancockshakervillage.org/

Lodging

Comfort Inn Pittsfield  (map it!)

1055 South St

Pittsfield, MA 01201

(413) 443-4714

http://www.comfortinn.com/pittsfield-massachusetts-hotels

Yankee Inn  (map it!)

461 Pittsfield Rd

Lenox, MA 01240

(413) 499-3700

http://www.yankeeinn.com/

Crowne Plaza Pittsfield-Berkshire  (map it!)

1 West St

Pittsfield, MA 01201

(413) 499-2000

http://berkshirecrowne.com/

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