Virginia Credit Union Stadium – Fredericksburg Nationals
Photos by Joseph Oakes, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 4.29
Virginia Credit Union Stadium
42 Jackie Robinson Way
Fredericksburg, VA 22401
Year Opened: 2021
A New Home For The FredNats
After years of playing in the decrepit Pfitzner Stadium in Woodbridge, VA, the Potomac Nationals were set to move 30 miles south to Fredericksburg and become the Fredericksburg Nationals in 2020. Since the 2020 season was canceled due to COVID-19, the move to the new ballpark was delayed by a year.
The sparkling new Fredericksburg Nationals Ballpark officially opened for minor league baseball on May 11, 2021, with a 7-5 loss to the Delmarva Shorebirds in front of a crowd of 2,065, since Virginia was still under COVID capacity restrictions. The FredNats began their inaugural season in Fredericksburg with 15 straight losses, and the first win at the new ballpark did not come until a 2-1 win over the Salem Red Sox on May 21, 2021. Despite their woeful start to the season, the new ballpark is state of the art and does not disappoint.
Editors Note: The ballpark was renamed Virginia Credit Union Stadium in March 2022.
Food & Beverage 5
The food at FredNats ballpark is worth the visit in itself. While the food quality at many ballparks seems to have waned in recent years, Fredericksburg is an exception to this. Caroline Street Grill has two locations in the ballpark and serves up traditional ballpark favorites such as Chicken Tenders, Cheeseburger, Hot Dogs, Chili Cheese Nachos, Ballpark Nachos, Jumbo Pretzels, Cracker Jacks, Popcorn, etc. They even offer a plant-based Beyond Burger. Burgertopia Hamburger Paradise prepares made-to-order burgers and offers a Beer Cheeseburger, BBQ Bacon Burger, and a Wrecked Burger that includes Sloppy Joe and Cheese Sauce.
Other stands scattered around the ballpark include Chick-fil-A and Freddie’s Frozen Custard. There is also a large tent in right field that has a liquor bar, popcorn, and Dippin’ Dots. There are two grab-n-go areas through the park, where fans can purchase bottled drinks and snacks self-serve, and use self-checkout to pay. The ballpark serves Pepsi products. There are several local brew options including the team’s own Sluggin’ Gus named for George Washington’s father and the team mascot. Prices tend to be a little high, but are on par with what you would expect at most ballparks.
FredNats is designed similarly to many minor league ballparks these days, with the concourse above the single seating bowl. Except for the areas behind home plate, there is a 360-degree concourse all around the ballpark. This is since the club level is directly on the concourse level, not a story above as in most ballparks. Therefore, to get from the first base to the third-base side (or vice-versa), you have to walk completely around the backside of the club.
There is no view of the action and it feels like you are completely leaving the ballpark. Other than that, the concourse gives you a great view of the action all around the ballpark. All seats in the ballpark are chairback and run just beyond the dugout on each side. In both the right and left-field corners are terrace boxes with tables and bar stools. There are several group areas in the outfield including a scoreboard suite with a manual scoreboard operated by the fans, a field suite next to the home bullpen in left field, and several bullpen party decks adjacent to the visiting bullpen in right field.
On the backside of the batter’s eye in center field is a large mural showing the “History of Baseball in Fredericksburg”. There is a large kid’s play area on artificial turf beyond the right field foul pole. There are two ribbon boards – one above the bullpen in left field and one on the suite level overhang – and one large video board in right field.
The playing surface at FredNats Ballpark is a state-of-the-art synthetic grass from Shaw Sports Turf similar to what is used by the Arizona Diamondbacks and Texas Rangers. It is the first minor league ball to use such a surface. This allows the FredNats to host several events such as concerts and youth sports without the extra cost of maintaining a natural grass surface. The team store is just adjacent to the main gate on the first base concourse.
FredNats Ballpark is located just off of I-95 in an area known as Celebrate Virginia that consists of several stores and restaurants Target, Wal-Mart, Barnes & Noble, Cracker Barrell, Chick-fil-A, Carrabba’s, Outback Steakhouse, Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, etc. Immediately surrounding FredNats Ballpark is a Wegmans Grocery Store, a Hilton Garden Inn, and the Fredericksburg Expo and Conference Center.
The Ballpark is located at the end of Carl D. Silver Parkway, which can create some traffic issues as there is only one way in and out. While the address is 42 Jackie Robinson Way, this is a new road so it may not show up on your GPS. Instead, point your GPS to the Fredericksburg Expo and Conference Center. Parking is available here or at the lots surrounding the ballpark for $5. While there are many restaurants and shops within a couple of miles, there is not much within walking distance.
In the first year at their new ballpark, the fans have shown up in full force. Twenty-eight of the first thirty-five games were sellouts. One can expect a nearly full crowd for most games, especially on the weekends. Crowds average around 3,000+ during the week and 4,000-5,000 on the weekend. Despite not having a lot to cheer about due to the performance of the team, the fans are still involved and into the game. Being so close to their parent team in DC, there are many fans in Washington Nationals gear at FredNats Ballpark.
With only one way to and from the ballpark, plan a little extra time when going to a game. Also, there is not much parking surrounding the new ballpark yet (and the team has acknowledged this), so that is another good reason to arrive early. Interstate 95 is generally a parking lot from Fredericksburg to Washington, D.C., so if you are traveling via I-95, plan accordingly.
Gate entry and security are pretty relaxed. Of course, you can save time by purchasing tickets ahead of time. With the size of the crowds, this is not a bad idea anyway to ensure yourself a seat!
Once inside the ballpark access is a breeze on the 360-degree concourse, except the hiccup behind the club level.
Return on Investment 3
This is one of the few areas where FredNats Ballpark received low marks. Ticket prices range from $13.78 to $21.20 in the seats and are $10.60 for standing room only. While this is a brand-new state-of-the-art ballpark, this is a little steep for Low-A ball. Prices like this may wear off as the newness of the ballpark fades, especially if the team stays Low-A. As previously mentioned parking is $5 in the lots surrounding the ballpark. If you are looking to cut costs, be sure to attend on Tuesdays as $2 tickets are offered in sections 1, 22, & 23, which are beyond the dugouts. There are also $2 tacos on Tuesdays.
The new ballpark receives several extra points for the following:
Several group areas including the scoreboard suite, bullpen party decks, terrace boxes, etc.
The large kids play area in right field
Several standing areas along the concourse with food and drink rails
After enduring several years of playing a “dump” in Woodbridge, the FredNats organization now has a beautiful, brand-new ballpark it can call its own and be proud of. A night out at the new FredNats Ballpark will be a great experience for many years to come!