- Jared Goodman
Trustmark Park – Mississippi Braves
Photos by Jared Goodman, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 2.71
Trustmark Park 1 Braves Way Pearl, MS 39208
Year Opened: 2005
M-Braves the Fun
As the only Major League club between Dallas and Washington, the Atlanta Braves have footprints all across the South. From Virginia to Louisiana and all of Braves Country in-between, the team has left their mark on big and small towns alike.
In 2005, the Braves moved their Double-A affiliate from Greenville, South Carolina to Jackson, the state capital of Mississippi. The M-Braves, as they’re known locally, play all their home games at Trustmark Park in the suburb of Pearl, nestled between expansive parking lots and an outlet mall.
Food & Beverage 3
Trustmark Park has a lot of great concession items to offer – but they’re not always available. It seems as if a bulk of the concessionaires are closed during most games, and it’s unclear exactly when the full docket of stands are open. What’s usually up for grabs at the few open windows are the typical ballpark foods – hot dogs, pretzels and soda, to name a few.
In right field, the Braves have the Farm Bureau Grill, a full-service restaurant that provides both an indoor and outdoor experience. Unfortunately, it appears as if this establishment, too, is only open during select games.
A couple of stand-alone food carts are apparently the only consistent option, and the cuisine offered up here varies greatly. One notable mainstay is Steakadelphia, a cart that’s seen at ballparks throughout the Braves’ minor league system. As the name implies, you’ll find authentic Philly cheesesteaks here.
Coca-Cola is the primary soda brand served, and a variety of alcoholic beverages are on tap as well.
The ballpark itself is a modern and state-of-the-art facility designed specifically for America’s Pastime. There’s not a bad seat in the house, while the wrap-around concourse is wide and easy to navigate. All seats have cup holders affixed to them as well.
The Wall of Fame behind the third base side is an interesting touch to an otherwise bland building. The history of baseball in Jackson and of the M-Braves in particular are displayed prominently on the concourse and are worth a quick stop.
Wall of Fame, Photo by Jared Goodman, Stadium Journey
The overall atmosphere should be similar to comparably-sized ballparks at this level, but most of the life is sucked out of the game day experience by the lack of spectators. Suffice to say that it’s evident that most of the Jackson area is uninterested in their M-Braves.
To put it bluntly, Trustmark Park looks like it was just plopped into a mall parking lot. The environs around the ballpark include a wide expanse of asphalt and the Outlets of Mississippi across the road. There’re a few restaurants around the Outlets and in the nearby area, but no single establishment really stands out as the game day “hotspot.” The Alumni House Sports Grill across the street, if one had to pick, is the closest pre-game spot. The overwhelming feeling when visiting for a ballgame is: “get in, get out.”
However, due to the stadium’s proximity to I-20, chain restaurants and hotels aren’t that far away. There’s a Holiday Inn directly across from the main gate, for example. You’ll also find places like Cracker Barrel, Sonic, and Whataburger just a few minutes away. For local dining options, head west into downtown Jackson.
Trustmark Park often sees some sad turnouts and primarily only draws a crowd on weekends. This is evidenced by their attendance figures: in 2019, average attendance was just a shade over 2,400 per game. The venue can hold over 8,000 people.
In total attendance, the M-Braves drew 4th to last in the league. Considering that the team with the worst attendance in the Southern League was already planning a move (Mobile, which is moving to the Huntsville, AL area in 2020), it’s evident that the Braves aren’t having much success drawing in fans.
Weekdays, the ballpark appears almost eerily empty. That’s a real shame, considering that the venue is only 15 years old and is still considered modern and comfortable by all standards.
This may be one of the most easily accessible ballparks in the country.
Trustmark Park is located in Pearl, a suburb about 5 minutes east of the state capital of Jackson. Here, Interstate 55 will take you north to Memphis or south to New Orleans. Interstate 20 runs directly next to the ballpark and it’s an easy exit off the highway to the stadium parking lot. The road runs west through Louisiana to the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex and east through Meridian to Tuscaloosa and Birmingham, Alabama. The international airport serving the region is also a few minutes down the road.
You won’t have a problem with parking – there are many spaces available in the lots surrounding the ballpark and all of them are free of charge.
Once inside, you’ll find the concourses to be quite wide and easy to navigate.
Return on Investment 3
To get the most bang for your buck, hit up a weekend game in Pearl. This is when most promotions run and there may even be some fireworks on select Saturdays.
The cheapest available ticket is for general admission and costs a measly $6. For any minor league baseball game outside of the rookie levels, this is an absolute steal. Parking is free, so that could very well be the icing on the cake.
Concessions, as you’d expect, are on par with the rest of the minor leagues – a tad too high. Game programs, which are typically distributed for free at baseball games, are an almost exploitative $5 in Mississippi.
Overall, a family of four could probably expect to spend less than $65 for a night out at the old ballgame.
It’s undeniable that the easy access to the stadium and the low costs involved make a visit to see the M-Braves a bargain.
The Wall of Fame is also a nice touch and warrants another extra point.
The ballpark in Pearl is not a bad place to enjoy a game, when the conditions are right. It’s only a shame that more folks don’t come out to cheer on the M-Braves.