Photo by Marc Viquez, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.43
American Legion Field 302 River Park Dr Danville, VA 24540
Year Opened: 1962 Capacity: 56,000
A Whole New Era of Baseball in Danville
When it was announced late in 2020 that Appalachian League would become a summer-collegiate baseball league, its members rebranded. The once-named Danville Braves made one of the biggest splashes becoming the Otterbots-a futuristic name and logo that pushes the boundaries of baseball logo aesthetics.
The name derives from two themes: the playfulness and symbolism of otters (many fans suggested it in different forms) and the future of STEM education and new industry across the southside. One only has to walk to the River District to notice the copious amounts of former tobacco factories being refurbished into restaurants, bars, lofts, and other businesses.
As for its ballpark, American Legion Memorial Post 35 Field opened in 1993 and was the city’s first large-scale baseball stadium since the Dan River Mills Company sold its ballpark to the City of Burlington, North Carolina, in 1960. That stadium is now Burlington Athletic Stadium and is still, in use in the Appy League, check out our review here.
American Legion Field is a basic, rudimentary V-shaped ballpark broken up into several sections. A roof was added over the main grandstand in 2006 to provide cover during the hot summer weather, and most of the seating is bleacher-style down each foul line. It seats 2,588 people for games.
Besides the Otterbots, the ballpark is the home to Post 325, George Washington High School, and Danville Community College baseball teams. You should be expected to the core basics, surrounded by a few thousand fans providing a wonderful soundtrack to the night’s proceedings.
Food & Beverage 3
The main concession area is directly behind the main grandstand which offers several windows for grub. The options include the basics, such as hot dogs, burgers, nachos, and fries. A few interesting items include the Ottertots which are tater tots covered with cheese, bacon bits, and jalapenos, and a burger with a fried piece of bologna on top–some say great with a piece of cheese.
Drink options include Coca-Cola products, macro brews, and a few regional craft beer choices. There is also food service from multiple members of the Otterbots staff that come to your seat in the main grandstand.
Despite the ballpark being somewhat vapid in design and comfort, the atmosphere is energetic for home games. Fans walk to the stadium’s lone entrance and are greeted by the team’s official mascot, Scotter the Otter. Staff members are also there to hand out information on the team and assist with any questions.
Once fans take their seats, it’s then all about the attention on the field of play. Many rarely leave their seats during the game and, even though sound effects and music are played over the intercom, the only sounds that matter are the clapping and cheering from the packed stands.
The ballpark features a painted railroad track down the third base foul line, a basic scoreboard, and a quite picturesque hill covered in trees. There are also championship plaques on the first base side honoring the former Braves championships in the league.
American Legion Field is located inside Dan Daniel Memorial Park, adjacent to the Dan River. Its location is a few miles away from downtown Danville and the up-and-coming River District. There are few options to enjoy the city before and after the game.
The AAF Tank Museum has a collection of restored tank and cavalry artifacts. The Danville Riverwalk Trail offers shady and flat trails near the review for scenic views along the Dan River. The River District is fun to explore as massive defunct tobacco factories are being restored into lofts, businesses, restaurants, and places of interest.
Ballard Brewing is located in one of these old factories and offers tasty beer, games, and couches. A few more new businesses in this area are Mucho Taqueria and Old Fork Distillery, grab a cocktail for $5. The cobblestone streets have faded signage on the buildings, and even a look at a partial canal is worth a walk if you have the time.
If there were a need for places to eat in and around downtown Danville, the best places would be Golden Leaf Bistro, Me’s Burgers and Brews, Cotton & Riverside Mill, Vintage by The Dan Bottle Shop, and Nana Karen’s on Main.
The fans have embraced the Otterbots name and wear the team colors and futuristic logo on their caps at games. The fans provided a great soundtrack to the game taking place on the field, and many stayed to the very end. Fans are out for a fun night with friends and family, but also to enjoy a little baseball game with a team that has a very unusual name.
The ballpark is off the interstate in Daniel Dan Park, and the club offers a sign making sure people don’t get lost heading to the ballpark. It’s a bit up the road. There is one entrance into the stadium and plenty of room to move around on the exterior concourse.
The seating bowl is divided by a narrow concourse between the two sections. The general admission seats are located down the foul lines and offer a series of ramps, providing almost seemingly movement throughout the stadium.
Return on Investment 3
The price of a general admission ticket is $7, and the cost in the reserve area is $10. The prices are similar to other Appy League clubs, but many others offer a little more bang for their buck in amenities. Parking is always free for games and lots of plenty. The prices for food and beer are very reasonable and even better on Thirsty Thursdays.
The ballpark earns points for a few unique food items, including the tasty Ottertots and bright red hot dogs. Scotter the Otter does a fantastic job entertaining fans on the field and hugging fans. Team members are dressed in shirts called “Botspitality” which is another play on words. There is a new spirit that should result in improvements and new areas of the ballpark soon.
There is a feeling that more will come to the ballpark experience in Danville. The new team name and branding are just the beginning, and new touches at the stadium are also improving this year. American Legion Stadium is the no-frills place at the moment, but the future looks bright with an eye on the future and foot in the past–just like the Otterbots name.