Billy Bullens Field - Westfield Starfires
Photos by Paul Baker, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 2.29
Billy Bullens Field Smith Ave Westfield, MA 01085
Year Opened: 1938 Capacity: 1,000
Billy Bullens Field
Originally named Municipal Field, Billy Bullens Field was built in 1937 as part of a larger project of ball fields, playgrounds and tennis courts constructed by the Works Progress Administration. Billy Bullens was the assistant supervisor of the facilities and oversaw maintenance of the park for many years. The field was dedicated in his honor in the early 1980s.
The Westfield Starfires play in The Futures Collegiate Baseball League, a summer wood-bat league featuring teams from throughout New England. The Starfires began play in 2019. In addition to serving as home of the Starfires, Bullens Field is the home field for Westfield High School and Westfield Technical Academy. The ballpark hosted the Babe Ruth 14-year-old World Series in 2016 and the 13-year-old World Series in 2019.
Food & Beverage 2
There is a small concession stand on the third base side of Billy Bullens Field. A limited menu is available, with hot dogs and hamburgers the main items. Some snack items are also sold here, including chips, cotton candy and the ballpark’s most popular item on a hot day, Italian ice.
Thirsty Starfire fans can select from a variety of Coca-Cola products. In addition, Budweiser, Bud Light, Bud Light Seltzer, Michelob Ultra and Corona are sold at the concession stand. Stadium Journey recommends you spend an additional dollar and try the Starfire IPA from local Amherst Brewery instead.
Stadium Journey visited Billy Bullens Field during the 2020 season with coronavirus precautions in full effect. These precautions may have had a dampening effect on the overall game day atmosphere. The presentation at a Starfires game is a bare bones one, with no between innings shenanigans going on. There is music played over the PA system between innings, but little more to distract one’s attention from the action on the field.
Baseball purists will certainly approve of the laid-back atmosphere here.
Billy Bullens Field is located about two miles away from downtown Westfield, adjacent to Westfield Technical Academy and Allen Park. Westfield State University is located two and a half miles away. There is nothing within walking distance from the ballpark to attract visiting fans, but visitors to the area should be aware that downtown Springfield, with attractions including the National Basketball Hall of Fame, is only 20 minutes to the east. Boston is located only an hour and a half to the east.
The Futures League did not announce attendance figures for its four Massachusetts-based teams for the 2020 season. Coronavirus precautions held down crowd sizes significantly for the Starfires and other teams in the circuit.
During the Starfires’ inaugural 2019 season, the team averaged just over 900 fans per game, which ranked them last in the seven-team league. Crowds consist primarily of locals. With the Futures League emphasis on local talent, the majority of the crowd on any given night has personal connections with the players on the diamond. Since the Futures League teams are locally based, you can expect a solid turnout from visiting fans as well.
Bullens Field is located in southwest Westfield, a city of just over 40,000 residents in western Massachusetts. Interstate 90, better known as the Massachusetts Turnpike, runs through the northern edge of the city, providing easy access to visiting fans. Fans driving to Bullens Field will drive a few miles from the Mass Pike through downtown Westfield to get to the ballpark.
Bullens Field is located on the campus of Westfield Technical Academy. It is used by both local high schools for baseball and football, as well as serving the Starfires and the local Babe Ruth League. Parking is available in Westfield Tech’s parking lot, which provides an overlook of the ballpark on the first base side.
Fans enter Bullens Field on the third base side. The concession stand and restrooms are located near the entrance. The seating bowl contains plastic bucket seats bolted into the concrete grandstand. There is plenty of room for fans to spread out and move around. Additional seating is located further down the third baseline. Nets, fences, dugouts and light poles obstruct views from all seating locations.
There is a scoreboard in left field which can be difficult to see during day games. Lines for concessions or rest rooms are not an issue during typical Starfire games. During Stadium Journey’s visit, we observed that the grandstand felt like it was not aligned correctly to the ball field. If sitting on the third base side, you have to crane your neck to look at the action. For optimum viewing, it is recommended that you sit high up on the first base side of the grandstand.
Return on Investment 4
Tickets to Starfire games are priced at ten dollars for general admission. Parking is free in the lot adjacent to the ballpark. Concessions are reasonably priced, topping out at six dollars for a bottle of craft beer and four dollars for a burger. Programs are available for one dollar. A night at a Starfire game is a most affordable entertainment option for western Massachusetts sports fans.
Billy Bullens Field displays Westfield’s Babe Ruth baseball success proudly, with several plaques dedicated to successful teams and important persons in the program’s history located throughout the facility.
Billy Bullens Field is somewhat of an anomaly in the Futures League, a circuit that has given new life to several abandoned professional ballparks throughout New England. Bullens Field suffers by comparison to these ballparks, but it remains a comfortable and affordable place to catch some local collegiate talent during the summer months.
Follow Paul Baker’s stadium journeys on Twitter and Instagram @PuckmanRI.