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  • Writer's pictureGregory Koch

Eagle Field at Veterans Memorial Park – Harrisonburg Turks


Photos by Gregory Koch, Stadium Journey


Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 4.43

Eagle Field at Veterans Memorial Park 270 Veterans Memorial Drive Harrisonburg, VA 22807


Year Opened: 2010

Capacity: 1,200

 

Harrisonburg Baseball Is No Turkey

With 11 teams nestled up and down Virginia’s scenic Shenandoah Valley, the Valley Baseball League is one of the oldest collegiate summer wood-bat leagues in America. The Harrisonburg Turks have been playing in the Valley League since 1950 and play their home games at Eagle Field at Veterans Memorial Park on the campus of James Madison University. Although baseball has been played here since the 1940s, the stadium was completely rebuilt and the new stadium opened in 2010. The stadium is also home to the JMU baseball team and is part of a shared complex that includes the Dukes’ softball stadium as well. The Turks’ nickname is short for “Turkeys” and alludes to the thriving poultry industry in the area.

Food & Beverage 4

There is one concession stand located on the concourse which serves a decent range of options at affordable prices. Hamburgers are $4, cheeseburgers are $5, grilled chicken sandwiches are $6, chicken strips are three for $3.50, hot dogs are $3, fries are $3, pizza (cheese or pepperoni) is $2, nachos are $4, popcorn is $2, candy is $2, and freezie pops are 25 cents each. Soda (Pepsi products) are $3, Gatorade is $3, and bottled water is $2. Cash and credit cards are both accepted.

Atmosphere 5

Unlikely most venues in the Valley League, Eagle Field at Veterans Memorial Park is quite the modern facility. Walking through the gates will put you on a spacious concourse. The restrooms will be on your left and the concession stand on your right. You will then walk up a flight of steps to the top of the seating bowl and back down to your seat. There are some chairbacks behind home plate and bleachers with backs down the lines. All seats are general admission so arrive early to sit where you want. A scoreboard in the right-centerfield shows the linescore and other basic information.

The Turks do a great job of promoting an exciting atmosphere here. In addition to the game on the field, fans can enjoy between innings contests ranging from a smoothie chugging race for a chance to win another free smoothie to a race where fans dress up as food, and whoever wins gets a free item they dressed up as from the concession stand. A couple of Valley League traditions are worth noting here. Your game ticket doubles as a raffle ticket for a chance to win various prizes throughout the game, so be sure to hold onto it. Additionally, fans are not permitted to keep foul balls but can return them to the concession stand for a free freezie pop. You will often see kids running down to the concourse every time a ball is hit out there.

Neighborhood 5

Harrisonburg is a beautiful college town nestled in the scenic Shenandoah Valley. Although it is not large, there is a lot to do here. Macado’s is a regional restaurant chain with several locations in the Valley and surrounding area, including one right here in Harrisonburg. They are known for their burgers, wings, and delicious hot sandwiches, as well as their large collection of local sports memorabilia. Kline’s Dairy bar also has several Valley locations including two in Harrisonburg and is known for its ice cream, banana splits, and delicious milkshakes. The Magpie Diner on West Gay Street is open for breakfast and lunch and is a local favorite.

Fans 5

The Turks consistently rank towards the top of the Valley League in attendance, and the stands at Eagle Field at Veterans Memorial Park can get pretty full. The fans cheer on the Turks, and it can get very loud here at times when the Turks make big plays. The fans are also not afraid to get on the umpires’ case when they feel they have made a bad call, although it will never get so outrageous as to not be family-friendly. There are a wide range of fans in attendance, including young families with small children watching in wonderment of it all and older people who have been following the team since they played in the old version of the stadium, and possibly much longer. Many students studying at JMU over the summer will also make the short trip over to the ballpark to take in a game.

Access 4

Eagle Field at Veterans Memorial Park is located a few miles off Interstate 81 via exit 247B. After exiting onto Market Street, continue a short while before turning left onto Martin Luther King, Jr. Way. Continue for about a mile and a half before the road ends at High Street. Continue through the light and you will be in the parking lot. You will need to navigate a roundabout in the middle of the parking lot to wind up in the lot nearest the stadium – other areas serve the Veterans Memorial itself or other parts of the park, although you can park there if the stadium lot fills up.

Getting around the stadium once you get inside is easy enough, although it is a bit confusing to have to walk up and back down. Foul balls regularly fly onto the concourse so be careful while you are walking down there. Someone member will normally shout “Heads up!” when a ball is heading that way but be alert yourself anyway. Restrooms are located directly to the left of the entrance and are of a sufficient size for the crowd.

When getting out of the stadium, you may have to wait at the traffic light for a few minutes as the timing of the cycle was not designed for such traffic patterns as occur postgame, but once you get out, you should not encounter any problems.

Return on Investment 5

Admission to Turks games is only $5, while senior citizens will pay only $2, college students with ID will pay $3, and children 12 and under will pay $1. There are many opportunities to pay even less than that. Church youth groups with their pastor get in free on Sundays. Fans who dress up like a turkey get in free on Turkey Tuesday. College students get in for just $1 on Mondays. Select games even have free tickets available with a coupon in the local paper.

Extras 3

There are free programs available at the entrance.

A team store is located on the concourse next to the concession stand and sells Turks gear at great prices.

Finally, there is a monument to veterans from Rockingham County located near the entrance to the stadium.

Final Thoughts

It is indisputable that Eagle Field at Veterans Memorial Park is the most modern facility in the Valley League. While the older venues certainly have their charm in their own way, the Turks manage to create the same great atmosphere there is elsewhere in the league in a more modern stadium with all the amenities that comes with. This could easily be a minor league stadium if not for the fact that the capacity is far too small. This may very well be the best stadium in the Valley League, and that’s saying something since there are a lot of gorgeous venues here. On a warm summer’s night in Harrisonburg, a Turks game at Eagle Field at Veterans Memorial Park is well worth a visit.

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