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  • Writer's pictureJoseph Oakes

English Field at Union Park - Virginia Tech Hokies

Photos by Joseph Oakes, Stadium Journey

Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.86

English Field 200 Duck Pond Dr Blacksburg, VA 24060

Year Opened: 1989

Capacity: 4,000

A Home For The Hokies

English Field at Union Park is the home of the Virginia Tech Hokie baseball program, and first opened in 1989. In 2016, a new chapter in Hokie baseball was started as Richmond-based Union Bank & Trust announced it was committing $3.5 million to upgrade the ballpark. In recognition of this generous support English Field was renamed English Field at Union Park. After a complete overhaul of the seating areas, it is now one of the top baseball facilities (and most picturesque) in the conference. The official grand re-opening of English Field at Union Park was April 14, 2018 in front of a regular season attendance record crowd of 3,400.

Food & Beverage 4

Renovated English Field at Union Park has nice, modern concession stands with plenty to choose from. Lines move quickly, the staff working the stands are friendly, and they accept credit and debit cards. Several items are offered including BBQ sandwiches ($8), BBQ nachos ($8), turkey wraps ($7), and hot dogs ($4). Other side items available include soft pretzels ($3), nachos ($4), popcorn ($4), and peanuts ($3). Fountain Coke products are offered in two different sizes. English Field also offers a variety of domestic beers, one thing that you don’t see at many college baseball stadiums.

Atmosphere 4

English Field at Union Park meshes well with the other campus buildings as it is constructed predominantly with “Hokie Stone.” It is nice to see this renovated park carry the theme of the other buildings on campus.

The ballpark layout of an upper concourse with the seating bowl below, and the suites and press areas above give it a modern feel that many of the newer ballparks have. With a relatively small capacity, all seats are close to the field and offer a great view of the action. The main seating bowl is all chair back and runs from dugout to dugout. Extending from the end of the seating bowl down to the foul pole on the third base side is a large terraced area. This area is different from the traditional berms seen at many parks in that it features a series of steps and seating areas constructed with block like walls and grassy sod-type seating areas similar to an outdoor amphitheater. This is a great area for families with children to spread out on blankets and enjoy the game.

Down the right field line is a club level above the first base dugout and a social picnic area further down the line. All seating at the new ballpark is general admission, so you are free to sit wherever you choose (or move around, as I like to!). None of the seating areas are covered, but the concourse provides shade and will keep you dry if a shower pops up. A brand new video board was added with the renovations, and only adds to the ballpark experience.

Neighborhood 4

Since it is in the middle of campus there is not much to do within walking distance of the ballpark before or after a game. However, Virginia Tech’s campus is gorgeous with the rolling hills, sidewalks, and Hokie stone. If it is your first time on the campus, try to spend some time walking around campus.

Be sure to stop by the April 16th memorial dedicated to the victim of the Virginia Tech shooting. If you take a stroll down Main Street Blacksburg, you will find several food options including local eateries as well as chain restaurants such as Mellow Mushroom, Five Guys, and Jimmy Johns.

If you like the outdoors, this is the place for you as there are many activities in the surrounding mountain like hiking and canoeing. The Inn at Virginia Tech is a great place to stay if you are in town overnight. There are also several other hotels around Blacksburg and Virginia Tech.

Fans 3

Virginia Tech fans are a passionate bunch, and while they consistently sell out Lane Stadium for football, unfortunately the same cannot be said for baseball. While the Hokies have not had much success on the diamond in recent years, the lack of attendance when we attended was disappointing, especially since it was a warm 70 degree day. In fact, Tech’s opponent when we attended, NC State, nearly had as many fans as Virginia Tech did. Hopefully, the newly renovated ballpark will increase fan support and interest in the future.

Access 5

Virginia Tech’s campus is easily accessible from I-81, about 10 miles away on US 460. Take the new Southgate Dr. Exit off of US 460 and it will take you right to English Field at Union Park. Free parking is available across Duck Pond Dr. from the ballpark in the Cage Parking Lot. The main gate and ticket office is located near the new archway entrance under the press and suite tower. Be aware that a clear bag policy is in place; though it was not well enforced when we visited. Once inside, the concourse is wide and spacious. The restroom and concession areas are all very clean, and easily accessible on the concourse. Since there is a large upper concourse, the ballpark has several areas for those who are handicapped or require wheel chair assistance.

Return on Investment 4

Your return on investment will depend on when you attend a game at English Field at Union Park. Midweek games are free (!), while weekend ACC series are $10. That is still not a bad price for a general admission ticket to let you sit anywhere you choose. Throw in free parking and respectable concession prices, and the cost to attend a Hokie baseball game is right on par with the majority of ACC programs.

Extras 3

One point for the terraced seating area down the left field line. This is a great place to watch the game from, and is much better than a traditional berm that is seen at many ballparks.

One extra point for the Hokie Stone that is incorporated into the new ballpark.

Finally, one more extra point for free admission for non-conference weekday games!

Final Thoughts

While Virginia Tech is not one of the traditional ACC powers, the newly renovated English Field at Union Park makes the trip to see Hokie baseball a must for the college baseball fan. English Field at Union Park is a truly unique baseball stadium, and even the Yankees have played here. The seating is unique and varied, and the field itself has several unique features. Definitely a top college baseball stadium, and because it is in the ACC you will see some great match-ups here. It’s a must see if you can make it happen.

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