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  • Writer's pictureLloyd Brown

The Ballpark at Jackson – Jackson Generals


Photos by Lloyd Brown, Stadium Journey


Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.86

The Ballpark at Jackson 4 Fun Pl Jackson, TN 38305


Year Opened: 1998

Capacity: 6,000

 

We’re Goin’ Down To Jackson

The Ballpark at Jackson is home to the Jackson Generals, the AA affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks. It was originally known as Pringles Park, changing its name after the naming rights expired in 2012. The 6,000 seat park opened in 1998 and is owned by the city of Jackson. The park includes 8 suites, the Bullpen Bar along the third base line and berm seating / children's fun zone along the first base line. Two party decks were added to the park prior to the 2018 season.


The Generals have won two Southern League championships and two division titles in their 20 year existence. In addition, the park has hosted the Southern League All Star Game twice (1999 and 2011) and regularly hosts the Ohio Valley Conference baseball tournament. Several area high schools also play their games at The Ballpark at Jackson.


Food & Beverage 5

The Generals have a much bigger concession presence than teams at higher baseball classifications. The central concession area has 9 windows/lines to handle fans’ orders quickly and efficiently. In addition to the central concessions area, the stadium has a Blue Moon Grille and a Leinie Lodge stand, a convenience store style concession as well an ice cream stand.


Here is a quick overview of the items available at the Ballpark at Jackson: catfish po’ boy ($8), burgers ($5), hot dogs ($3), nachos ($4), cheesesteaks ($8), chicken sandwiches ($8), brats ($6), pretzels ($4), popcorn ($4), peanuts ($3.50), cracker jacks ($3.50), pork rinds ($3.50), chips ($1.50), candy ($3), cotton candy ($4.50), funnel cakes ($4), large ice cream cones ($5) and helmet sundaes ($6).


On the beverage side of things, the Generals serve Pepsi sodas ($4) and bottled water ($3). 24-ounce domestic beers are $6 and premium beers are $7; 32-ounce servings of domestic beers are $8 and premium beers are $9.


The team provides a large covered space filled with picnic tables on the concourse for those who would rather eat their food at a table, rather than balance it on their laps at their seats.


There are two food-related promotions offered by the team. Thrifty Thursdays reduce the price of the following menu items to $2 : hot dogs, 24 oz. soft drinks, 16 oz. beers, ice cream and popcorn. Food Truck Fridays feature a rotating set of food trucks selling several types of food at the park.


The stadium also features a gift shop known as the General Store.


Atmosphere 4

The Ballpark at Jackson hearkens back to the days where the game was the central attraction and all the bells and whistles were not built into the stadiums. Jackson is a small town and the stadium reflects that in a positive way. The outfield walls are covered with advertising from local businesses such as car dealerships, barber shops, grocery stores and the bank. You’ll also see the local Rotary and the Jaycees sponsoring information on their organizations. Home runs in a certain inning earn fans some small item at a local business. This hometown touch may seem dull to some, but it also can be attractive to those who prefer their minor league ball without all the corporate trappings of modern day ball.


The Generals have some type of contest or theme to each night, hosted by a very talented emcee. The fans really get into the competitions, even when the prizes might be rather trivial. The Generals mascot is a Bulldog named Sarge, whose jowly visage is everywhere in the park. Fireworks are a Friday night staple at the ballpark.

There are only two minor negatives to the design of the Ballpark at Jackson. The scoreboard faces right into the sun for day games or early evening games, making it hard to see videos and the stats related to the game. The second item hurts an exciting part of any baseball game. You are not likely to see many home runs at the Generals home field. It is not that the dimensions of the field are that huge… it is the height of the walls at the park. All three walls are “Green Monsters” at over 25 feet tall. A shot to dead center (390 feet) also needs to be 30 feet up in the air as well. You will see some of the longest doubles in baseball at the Ballpark at Jackson.


Neighborhood 3

The Ballpark at Jackson is located just east of the downtown area of Jackson. There are two hotels, the Holiday Inn and the Courtyard Marriott, in the immediate vicinity of the stadium. Reggi’s BBQ and Wings is a popular pre and post-game stop for Generals fans.


The city of Jackson and its ballpark are located midway between Memphis (70 miles) and Nashville (136 Miles). It is the 7th largest city in Tennessee with a population of 66,000. From 1851 until the early 1960’s, Jackson was a railroad hub, with more than 15 passenger trains passing through each day. The Casey Jones Home and Railroad Museum is one of the town’s main attractions, and it salutes this railroad heritage.


Fans 4

The Generals fan base comes from the city of Jackson and the rural areas north or south of the city. The nearest major cities are more than 90 minutes away, so the locals provide a bulk of the attendance. Jackson is a town, where everybody knows everybody, and the team utilizes this to their advantage in the marketing of the team. The Generals draw very well from area youth groups, church groups, family reunions and sports teams. You can tell as each group is saluted in a seemingly endless list between innings.


The Ballpark at Jackson is located next door to a regional youth baseball/softball multi-plex made up of more than 20 fields of varying dimensions. This also provides a good portion of the crowd, especially when a tournament is underway on weekends


Access 3

Jackson, Tennessee is located 70 miles northeast of Memphis and 136 miles southwest of Nashville on I-40. To reach The Ballpark at Jackson take exit 85 off I-40 (Christmasville Road / F E Wright Drive). Go south on Wright Drive then take a left at either the first or second red light. The stadium will be on your left.


You enter the park at the top of the seating bowl and the main concourse. There is a second concourse about 15 rows down from the top concourse. If you are not in good shape… buy a ticket nearer to the top concourse, as it is quite a climb up to use the restroom or get something from the concession stand. 80% of the stadium is made up of seat backs, with 20% devoted to aluminum bench seating.


Return on Investment 5

A night out at The Ballpark at Jackson provides an excellent return on investment. Ticket prices are $10 for reserved tickets in advance or $12 for tickets purchased the day of the game and $6 for general admission tickets purchased in advance or $8 for tickets purchased the day of the game. General admission tickets purchased for Thrifty Thursday games are only $2. (Reserved seats have chair backs, while general admission seating is bench seating.


The parking is free in the stadium’s lot. The concessions at The Ballpark at Jackson are very reasonably priced. There are several hotels within walking distance of the park priced at $100/night or less. Monday evenings are Belly Buster Nights that includes all-you-can-eat-ticket for $16 and Thursdays are Dollar Nights where various concession items are just a buck.


Extras 3

The Ballpark at Jackson was named Ballpark of the Year for the 2017 season by the Tennessee Turfgrass Association. The team name of “Generals” is a salute to General Andrew Jackson, the town’s namesake. The Johnny Cash / June Carter Cash hit song “Jackson” is about the city.


Final Thoughts

The Jackson Generals and the Ballpark at Jackson have been successful in a small-town market for 20 years by utilizing the old fashioned ‘baseball comes first’ strategy that has become somewhat lost into today’s minor league world. They market the team to local advertisers, rather than sell naming rights to a major corporation, offer a good ticket value for their fan base and provide a concession menu that would be the envy of many clubs at the AAA level. They have reached out to youth clubs, civic organizations and area churches and schools as the backbone of their ticket base. The community has responded very well to this “hometown” approach to running a successful franchise.

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