Joe Wolfe Field - North Adams Steeplecats
Photos by Paul Baker, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 2.43
Joe Wolfe Stadium
310 State St.
North Adams, MA 01247
North Adams Steeplecats website
Year Opened: 1986
In the Valley of the Steeples
Joe Wolfe Field, built in 1986 and named after North Adams native, semi-pro baseball player, local sports promoter and Little League coach Joe Wolfe, has hosted the North Adams SteepleCats since their inception in 2002. Mr. Wolfe was a driving force behind the repair and renovations of old Noel Field, and passed away shortly before the project’s completion. The field was renamed posthumously in his honor.
The team’s name is a reference to the numerous steeples located throughout town, several of which are visible from the ballpark. Joe Wolfe Field holds the record for the largest crowd at an NECBL game, with 6,714 in attendance on July 4, 2006.
Food & Beverage 2
There is a large, new concession building on the third base side of the ballpark. There are four windows in this building, one for an ice cream stand, two for concessions, and one for a souvenir stand.
The concession stand offers the basics, such as hamburgers ($3.00), hot dogs ($2.00), pizza slices ($2.50), and nachos ($3.00). Assorted snacks are available here, including popcorn ($1.50), cracker jacks, candy bars, sunflower seeds, and potato chips, all for a dollar. Coca-Cola products are sold for $2.50. Ice cream from local business Lickety Splits is sold here as well in several flavors.
The atmosphere at Joe Wolfe Field is exactly what you would expect from a baseball team located in a sleepy mountain town like North Adams. The fans are laid-back and friendly, and everyone seems to know everyone. The Steeplecats staff provide some entertainment to fill in the gaps between innings with some games and contests for the kids. There is also a mascot here, a furry orange cat named Slider, who roams the concourse shaking hands and posing for pictures. As is the case with most smaller parks, watching kids chase foul balls around is part of the fun. The kids in North Adams don’t disappoint, and are pretty entertaining to watch themselves.
North Adams, with its population of just over 13,000, is the smallest incorporated city in Massachusetts. Named in honor of former president and Massachusetts native John Adams, North Adams was a mill city for much of its history. When the mills closed, local leaders converted the old mill spaces to museums, as they could display large items that would not fit in traditional museums in the large, empty buildings. Today, the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (Mass MoCA) is the largest such museum in the nation. North Adams has become in recent years a center for tourism, culture, and recreation.
Joe Wolfe Field is located just a couple of miles from downtown North Adams. The downtown area can be described as a typical small-town Main Street. There are several small businesses and a few hotels. Despite the influx of summer tourists, this downtown area cannot be described as “bustling”. Many visitors to the area come for the fantastic nature trails and scenery, and will not usually be found wandering around town. Still, it’s a pleasant, laid-back place to spend a nice summer day.
North Adams has averaged between 700-900 fans per game over the past several years, finishing in the upper half of the NECBL in attendance. It seems like everyone here at Joe Wolfe Field knows each other, and the atmosphere is a very friendly and laid back one. Even an out of towner can feel welcome and like one of the locals while taking in a Steeplecats game.
Joe Wolfe Field is located on Route 8, which is the major north-south artery through town. Just a few minutes from downtown, the ballpark is about a half mile from Route 2, which is the major route to the northwestern corner of the state. Route 2 is also known as the Mohawk Trail, considered one of the most scenic drives in Massachusetts. Located along this road are several gift shops, roadside attractions, and scenic viewpoints. The famous hairpin turn on Route 2 is located in North Adams, about 5 miles from Joe Wolfe Field.
There are two free parking lots adjacent to Joe Wolfe Field. Be wary of taking advantage of the closest of spots here, as this is prime foul ball territory. Do yourself a favor and park a little farther away. You will get some exercise, and save your windshield at the same time.
The ballpark itself consists of a small covered grandstand made up of aluminum bleachers without seat backs. Some of the seats offer unobstructed views of the action on the field and the incredible mountain scenery beyond. The grandstand is fairly new, and was built to current ADA specifications, and is easily navigated.
There is plenty of room on both sides of the field to spread out if you decide that the grandstand is not for you.
The first base line features shade trees, benches, and a nicely manicured area to spread out with lawn chairs or blankets. The concession stands are located on the third base line, and there is plenty of room for fans to spread out here as well. There are restrooms located behind the grandstand, which are clean and large enough for a SteepleCats crowd.
Return on Investment 3
Tickets for SteepleCats game cost $5 for adults, $3 for seniors and students, $1 for youths 6-12, and admission is free for children under 6. Family tickets can be purchased for $12, which allow for admission for 2 adults and up to 3 children. It’s a great deal if you are taking the whole family to Wolfe Field. Parking is free in either of two lots adjacent to the ball field. Be warned, these lots are really close to the field, and are in prime foul ball territory. If you choose to park close to the field, you are in real danger of going home with a shattered windshield.
Concessions at Joe Wolfe Field are also quite affordable, making a night at a SteepleCats game an affordable night out for the entire family.
Like most summer collegiate teams, the SteepleCats hold a 50/50 raffle at every game. For those who have never participated, the winner of a 50/50 raffle takes home half of all the money collected that night. The other half goes towards operating costs. At this level, these funds are crucial for covering costs such as travel to away games and stipends for host families.
A surprise find at Joe Wolfe Field is the memorial for baseball Hall of Famer John Chesbro, a native of North Adams. Chesbro played with Pittsburgh, New York, and Boston around the turn of the 20th century, and led both leagues in winning percentage. There is a small granite marker behind the grandstand in his honor.
North Adams is one of the last spots you would expect to find a nice little ballpark like Joe Wolfe Field, but it fits in seamlessly with the rustic surroundings. The ballpark itself may not be the fanciest you will ever come across, but the setting alone is worth a look. Former Major League Commissioner Faye Vincent once commented after witnessing a sunset over the mountains in left field during a SteepleCats game, “it doesn’t get any better than this”.
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