- Aaron S. Terry
John Sonny Allen Field – Morehead State Eagles
Photos by Aaron S. Terry, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 2.29
John Sonny Allen Field 230 Playforth Pl Morehead, KY 40351
John “Sonny” Allen Field website
Year Opened: 1973
“Sonny” Allen Special
John “Sonny” Allen Field is named after John “Sonny” Allen, who coached the MSU baseball program for 14 (non-consecutive) seasons in the 50s, 60s, and 70s, and led the team to three conference championships during that time. Allen also played basketball and served as assistant athletics director. The stadium opened in 1973 and has been renovated a couple of times since, most recently in 2005. The Eagles currently compete in the Ohio Valley Conference.
Food & Beverage 1
There is a single concession station just outside the stands – actually a mobile trailer, which stays in place during the baseball season but can be moved once the season is over. Only 5 options are offered – hot dogs for $3, water for $2, soda in cans and candy (Snickers, 3 Musketeers, Skittles, and the like) for $1, and small bags of chips for 50 cents. Due to the sparseness of these options, you may want to eat before or after the game.
John “Sonny” Allen Field boasts a capacity of 1000, although this may be slightly overstated. On a typical day you will only see a few hundred in attendance, while for marquee match-ups the venue draws six or seven hundred. That said you won’t feel a ton of energy here, but it is pretty loud due to the shouts and catcalls from the players (on both sides), and since the stadium is so small you can hear them perfectly clearly. You can also get very close to the action.
The most unique thing about John “Sonny” Allen Field is the short pitch in right field – you will notice that the fence running alongside first and second base is somewhat taller on the right than the left; this is to make it just a little harder to pop a ball up and over on the short side.
John “Sonny” Allen Field Scoreboard, Photo by Aaron S. Terry, Stadium Journey
Like many smaller schools, the athletic facilities at John “Sonny” Allen Field are co-located, including the football stadium, the softball field, the soccer field, the baseball diamond, and even the pool. In fact, during baseball games the football stadium is wide open, so kids (or even fun-loving adults) are free to wander down there and toss a ball around.
Besides the other sports venues, there are many campus buildings nearby, and further away there are numerous restaurants, including fast food, Mexican, an Italian restaurant called Melini, Yamato Sushi & Hibachi, and Buffalo Wild Wings. There are also several hotels just off I-64 on the way into town, including Red Roof Inn and Days Inn.
Depending on what you like to do, there are several different options for leisure activities in and around Morehead, including fishing, hiking, and boating, exploring the Daniel Boone National Forest, and sightseeing various local historic sites – there is even a conference center and a winery.
Most of those in attendance at Morehead State baseball games don’t wear any gear. Among those that do, about half are Eagles fans, the other half cheer for the visitors. The fans cheer when they are supposed to, and are certainly happy when their team scores or gets an out, but there just aren’t very many of them, and many leave early. There isn’t a team store here, so that partially explains the lack of gear – if you want to look the part you need to stop somewhere beforehand.
John “Sonny” Allen Field is located in Morehead, KY, which is easy to get to as it is located on 1-64. The baseball field is only a few miles off the freeway, located on campus. There is parking right next to the field, which is free, and there are bathrooms just inside the entrance, right before the stairs going up to the stands. The parking lot, probably used for football as well, has plenty of space to accommodate the much smaller baseball crowd, and while there are only two bathrooms (one for each gender), again this is plenty for the size of the crowd. The stadium was built in the 70s, so the facilities are a little dilapidated, and are not handicap accessible.
Return on Investment 3
Going to a game here is super cheap – tickets are only $5 for adults and $2 for kids 2-12, parking is free, and concessions are on the low side; $4.50 will get you a hot dog, soda, and a bag of chips, which is a lot less than other places. Since it is a small venue, it is easy to get around, you don’t have to fight any crowds, and it is a lot of fun to go hunt for balls behind the stadium. Nonetheless, the venue is a little dilapidated, and the home team is only so-so in a minor conference.
1 point for the “Sonny” Allen Special, which is the nickname given to home runs hit over the short pitch fence in right field – because the field is so much shorter on that side, the wall is slightly higher, but many home runs get popped over regardless. Fans are completely free to wander wherever they want (zero security or staff here at John “Sonny” Allen Field), and plenty of balls can be found behind that fence, which hides a creek; balls can be found on either side or sometimes in the water. Few fans bother to go back there, so if you want one you won’t have any trouble.
This is an older stadium that is home to a minor team, so you won’t find a lot of amenities here – for example, none of the seats even have armrests or cup holders (the middle section has plastic seats and chair backs, the left and right sections are just metal bleachers without chair backs). However, the prices are on the low side, and you can probably get a free souvenir, so it is a decent way to spend an afternoon.