Eastwood Field – Mahoning Valley Scrappers
Photos by Jared Goodman, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 2.71
Eastwood Field 111 Eastwood Mall Blvd Niles, OH 44446
Year Opened: 1999
Baseball at the Mall
The Mahoning Valley Scrappers, class-A short-season affiliate of the nearby Cleveland Indians, play their home games at Eastwood Field. This NY-Penn League venue is located in the parking lot of the eponymous Eastwood Mall, making it perhaps the only professional baseball stadium located on the property of a shopping mall.
Food & Beverage 4
The concessions available during Scrappers games are surprisingly unique and interesting. Both Chick-fil-A and the locally famous Quaker Stake are among the offerings, in addition to the traditional ballpark food. From burgers to hot dogs to soda, everything is pretty reasonably priced. The lines never get too long, so service is typically quick and easy. Pepsi is the primary soft drink available and a wide variety of craft beers are also on tap.
Like most other minor league clubs today, the Scrappers have put on-field games, outrageous promotions, and a wacky mascot at the front and center of game-day entertainment. Nothing is too over-the-top, however, and baseball still appears to be the number one focus.
One negative thing about the experience at Eastwood is the radio broadcast by the color commentator that is constantly streamed over the stadium’s speakers throughout the game. The never-ending noise is distracting and only takes away from the game day experience. Quiet moments where the only sounds are the crack of the bat, the pop of the mitt, and the chirp of the cicadas are much needed; unfortunately, there is never a quiet moment in Mahoning Valley.
While there’s nothing wrong with the environs around the Eastwood Mall Complex, there is also nothing special or noteworthy about the area. The Mall itself is massive and contains tons of retail stores, hotels, and chain restaurants. These are all great for locals and visitors alike, but the lack of charm and uniqueness is a little disappointing. The nearest town to the ballpark is Niles, a charming little community with an impressive downtown monument to native son William McKinley.
The Scrappers are part of the tight-knit Indians minor league circuit, which includes nearby Lake County and Akron. Triple-A Columbus also plays about 3 hours away. Cleveland’s Progressive Field is approximately an hour to the northwest, while Pittsburgh’s PNC Park is about 90 minutes down the road.
The Mahoning Valley area is accessible by several interstates, including I-80, I-76, I-79, and I-77. Be aware that some of these roads and their spurs are sometimes toll roads.
The crowd at Eastwood Field isn’t exactly die-hard, but they do get loud when the Scrappers get hot. That is if there’s even much of a crowd at all. Weekends, holidays, and non-school nights are usually busy at the ballpark; outside of those times, the seating bowl looks very sparse. Thankfully the Scrappers are a short-season team, so the attendance figures aren’t skewed by low turnouts in the colder periods of April and early May.
Eastwood Field has one of the most unique parking situations in all of baseball, and not in a good way.
Although the park is located in the mammoth parking lot of the Eastwood Mall, the team has fenced off part of the asphalt for their use. Fans arriving by car are charged $3 to use this lot, while fans arriving using other methods of transport (including their own two feet) are charged $3 at the time of this writing. This seems very unnecessary – ultimately, no matter how you arrive at the ballpark, you will be charged to use your game ticket.
The venue itself is very spacious and never really gets so crowded that it’s hard to move around. From the concourse, one can only see the field of play from behind home plate since there are no other gaps or tunnels to the seating bowl. There’s one main gate and re-entry is allowed.
Return on Investment 3
Tickets are priced reasonably, anywhere from $8-$13. The concessions offered are also affordable, but the mandatory $3 parking/walking fee decimates Eastwood Field’s score here. For a family of four, a night out at the ballpark could run anywhere between $75-$100.
Ultimately, there is simply not enough substance at the ballpark to warrant many points.
Eastwood Field is about as middle-of-the-road as you can get. Everything in the Mahoning Valley is just about average. While there are a few bad things about the venue, as a whole there are enough good things to provide some balance. All that being said, don’t come expecting the unexpected.