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  • Writer's pictureDavid Welch

Carilion Clinic Field at Salem Memorial Ballpark - Salem Red Sox

Photos by David Welch, Stadium Journey

Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.14

Carilion Clinic Field 1008 Texas St Salem, VA 24153

Year Opened: 1995 Capacity: 6,300


Carilion Clinic Field at Salem Memorial Ballpark – Salem Red Sox

Tucked in the Blue Ridge Mountains of southwestern Virginia, the city of Salem has hosted minor league baseball since the 1930s. Though much of that minor league baseball was hosted just down the street at Kiwanis Park, the Salem Red Sox have been one of three affiliated minor league teams to call Carilion Clinic Field home since it opened in 1995.

Food & Beverage 4

With several concession stands around the stadium, the Salem Red Sox serves up an extensive menu. Along with all the typical stadium food, several stands have their themes.

The Bigs, located on the secondary concourse along the first baseline, serves specialty hot dogs, burgers, and sandwiches. This stand has the feel that each menu item is its food challenge – no other menu option displays this more than the “Fat Sandwich”, consisting of chicken tenders, mozzarella cheese sticks, fries, and marinara Sauce.

Alternatively, Buckets on the third base side has many fried options, including chicken wings, cheese curds, mini corn dogs, and even a bucket of fried veggies for those looking for a…healthy…option.

In addition, tucked away under the first base bleachers, The Cantina might have the most culinarily advanced choices with their street tacos and quesadillas.

Carilion Clinic Field also serves a wide array of alcoholic beverages; local breweries Ole Salem Brewing Company and Big Lick Brewing are two of the featured local beers served. Seltzers, wine, and premixed drinks are also served. There are also a handful of non-alcoholic brews, along with a full variety of Pepsi beverages and sports drinks for non-beer drinkers.

Atmosphere 3

As fans initially enter Carilion Clinic Field, they are greeted by a wide-opening view of the field-level seating bowl, as well as the mountainous backdrop. A large bar sits just steps from the front gates to greet fans and quench their thirst as they initially survey the stadium.

The seating bowl is broken into two general areas, and there is no overhang or roof to the seating bowl providing shelter from the elements. The stadium has the feel of one large concrete edifice – it is somewhat reminiscent of PNC Field, home of the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Rail Riders, before its renovations in 2013.

When it comes to the in-game presentation, on-field contests, and scoreboard games are like those found at many stadiums around the county, although there does not appear to be much that is regionally unique or a new take on an old favorite. Fans seem to only have a passing interest in most of the contests or games; even the Red Sox’s tradition of Sweet Caroline played in the middle of the 8th inning garners minimal involvement.

Coming out of the 2021 reorganization of minor league baseball, Salem saw their Red Sox affiliation move to Class-A from their previous High-A status. With a capacity of 6,300 fans, Carilion Clinic Field is the third largest in the Carolina League, though the size of the stadium for the classification just makes the stadium seem too large given the typical attendance.

For those who enjoy the serenity of simply being at a ballpark with breathtaking views while taking in the game, Carilion Clinic Field will suffice, but a bit is missing when it comes to the overall entertainment value of the experience.

Neighborhood 3

Salem sits just east of the Appalachian Mountains that run up the eastern shore board, and they are prominently visible behind the first base side of the stadium.

Carilion Clinic Field itself is just about a mile from the cozy downtown of Salem, Virginia, and the campus of Roanoke College. The baseball stadium is part of the City of Salem’s athletic facilities, sandwiched between Salem Stadium, which has twice hosted the Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl (NCAA’s Division III football national championship game), and the Salem Civic Center.

Though there are not a lot of pre-game entertainment options at the stadium itself, downtown Salem does have several restaurants where fans can easily grab a bite to eat.

Fans 2

Salem’s attendance ranks in the bottom third of teams in the Carolina League, but it will see spikes throughout the year for popular promotion nights. Of those who do turn out, their attention does seem to be on the game, but there is not much when it comes to the atmosphere created by the fans. Every stadium is going to have its diehards, but many of the fans here seem to be at the ballpark only for the social aspect of the evening.

Access 3

Salem is located just off I-81 in the northern Virginia mountains. It is commonly used as an alternate route to avoid some of the traffic around the larger cities along I-95. With its proximity to the interstate, getting to the Carilion Clinic Field is rather direct.

Once at the stadium, the parking lot does not have a lot of attendants, so where to go can get a bit confusing, but once parked the front gates are just a short walk away.

Return on Investment 4

Ticket prices are a bit difficult to figure out given the team’s average attendance. Upper-level seating, which is general admission seats, runs $13 and seems to be a touch high given the smaller crowds.

The best tickets for the money, though, are the $19 Strike Zone seats that make up the four field-level sections behind home plate and also have an in-seat concession service. You are paying more for the ticket, but the extra $6 for a seat this close to home plate is worth the extra charge.

Given there is no charge for parking and concessions are fairly priced, fans are getting their money’s worth here.

Extras 3

The external concourse is adorned with banners of many of the more high-profile players to have come through Salem, on their way to careers in the Majors.

Behind the third base side bleachers is a wiffle ball field built to Fenway Park specifications, complete with a Green Monster, center field triangle, and right field bullpen – all that is missing is the Citgo sign.

The views of the surrounding mountains and other nearby peaks are stunning and create some amazing sunsets.

Final Thoughts

Baseball stadiums are different than those of other sports, in that the natural surroundings play an important role in how memorable an experience a visit can be. The views at Carilion Clinic Field provided by the nearby Blue Ridge Mountains provide possibly the most impressive backdrop in all of the Carolina League.

Though the overall fan involvement in games tends to be inconsistent and does impact the atmosphere of the game, there is enough serenity from the setting, and enough variety of food items, to visit Carilion Clinic Field an enjoyable experience.

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