TVA Credit Union Ballpark - Johnson City Doughboys
Photos by Marc Viquez, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 4.00
TVA Credit Union Ballpark 111 Legion St Johnson City, TN 37601
Johnson City Doughboys website TVA Credit Union Ballpark website
Year Opened: 1950 Capacity: 3,800
A Class Act in Johnson City
They have been playing baseball at TVA Credit Union Ballpark since 1950, but that has not stopped ownership from creating a modern atmosphere for its guests. The standard facility of the Appalachian League for many years is an old-school ballpark that offers a lot of charm but also delivers a lively environment for folks looking for a social outing.
Today, the home to the Johnson City Doughboys, who rebranded following MLB’s radical decision to transform its minor league, is a charming place for a game. The city had been represented by the Johnson City Cardinals since 1939, with a few years off here and there. However, they played continuously from 1975 through 2020. The Doughboy’s name is from the “The Spirit of the American Doughboy” designed by Ernest Moore Viquesney in 1935. The statue is located behind the outfield walls.
The ballpark had gone by other names including, Phillies Field, Cardinal Park, and Howard Johnson Field (named after the former city director of parks and recreation), before becoming TVA Credit Union Ballpark in 2017. At this same time, improvements were made that included The Perch, a double-decker outdoor bar, new lighting and poles, and infield turf. Bleachers were removed down each foul line, and a new entrance was built to update the ballpark’s aesthetics.
Food & Beverage 4
There is more than enough food and drink to satisfy customers at every game, including special nights on Mondays and Thursdays when specific items are discounted to as low as $1. The amount of craft and domestic beer is impressive, with multiple areas offering draft varieties.
Fans can enjoy ballpark favorites, including brats, hot dogs, nachos, burgers, and Polish sausages. A person can also grab a slice of pizza, a chicken sandwich, a barbecue pork sandwich, and barbecue nachos. The food truck is also available, offering chicken baskets with french fries.
The beer variety includes national domestic brands from Budweiser and MillerCoors, but also local Yee-Haw Brewing Company and Wicket Weeds Brewing in nearby Asheville, North Carolina. Johnson City Brewing Company developed a Doughboy Golden Ale for baseball games.
The ballparks in the Appy League can be a mixed bag, but Johnson City has one of the better facilities for baseball. The old-school-covered grandstand still gets a lot of attention, and so do some of the newer renovations that include “The Perch” down the left-field foul line. It includes some other party areas that have been attracting more and more people over the past 4-5 seasons.
The Perch is a two-tier outdoor bar area that is the place to be on Thursday nights for Thirsty Thursdays; beers are either $1, $2, or $3 depending on the number of ounces. The building offers tables, benches, and plenty of great views of the field. On the opposite side of the foul line is another social area that includes outdoor games and a small bar area.
Outside the main grandstand is a collection of booths, small concession stands, and the team’s main souvenir store. Doughboys merchandise has been a big seller during its inaugural season in 2021. The colors of black and gold can be seen by many underneath the roof of the ballpark. The roof is supported by columns and features fans on the ceiling for added comfort.
During a packed night, fans can make a lot of noise in the grandstand when they stomp their feet against the bleachers. A few more can relax on stadium-style seats in the box area right behind the backstop. They are also treated to views of large shrubs of trees behind the add-spackled outfield wall.
If you want a laid-back atmosphere with a few thousand friends, enjoy the grandstand. If you are looking for a social gathering with a few drinks, take residency in “The Perch”. However, each area will be a great way to enjoy a baseball game during the summer months.
A selection of places to eat and drink, before or after, the baseball game is a mile from the ballpark downtown. The Yee-Haw Brewing Company is located inside an old train depot station and houses the White Duck Taco Stop. These are not your ordinary tacos, but hybrid combinations that feature buffalo chicken, gyro, and Korean beef and kimchi. There are also more than just a couple of bites.
Other options include the Wild Wing Cafe across the train tracks, the Southern craft BBQ, label restaurant, Johnson City Brewing Company, in the Atlantic Ale House, where folks enjoy it here, and a couple of food trucks parked outside. Downtown features an open grass park, and it offers some nice views in areas to walk around.
Also, bring along some hiking boots, you are doorsteps from the Great Smoky Mountains, but that does not mean you have to be able to scale the highest mountain. The Tweetsie Trail is a relatively flat rail-to-trails conversion that follows the old railroad bed through town. It provides a beginner-level paved trail that can either be hiked or biked.
Johnson City has been a leader in attendance for the past few years. After renovations, there seems to be an influx of customers summer after summer. The Appy League has a collection of diehards and lifelong fans who can tell you stories from years ago. They bring a sense of joy and passion to the proceedings. In such a small market, it’s nice to know that the fans still care about their baseball team.
The ballpark offers one entrance into the ballpark, and lines can back up before a game, especially on busy nights and holidays. Once inside, there is plenty of room to mull around as there are multiple entryways into the grandstand seating area. The renovation has resulted in wonderful views of the field from each foul line and spots to congregate with friends and family.
Return on Investment 5
Ticket prices are a bargain at $6 and $8 each. The return on investment increases on dollar Mondays when hot dogs and other food and drink items are a dollar. Thirsty Thursdays include beer prices of a dollar to $3, and parking is always free for games. Even for non-promo nights, the prices are more than reasonable. You may go to larger and more modern stadiums, but your dollar was a long way in Johnson City. It should be noted that ticket prices increase by one dollar on Friday and Saturday nights.
The ballpark earns a point for its selection of beers that range from macro to domestic brews. The second point is for the two-story outdoor bar called “The Perch”. The third point is for the mix of old-school charm and innovation from covered grandstand seating to social areas.
There’s a reason that TVA Credit Union Ballpark has been a class act for so many years in the Appalachian League. It continues that trend as a summer collegiate venue in 2021 but still offers all of the great atmosphere and fun from its days as a Rookie League ballpark. Johnson City is a fun place to visit that is enhanced with an evening at a Doughboys game.
Follow all of Marc’s stadium journeys on Twitter @ballparkhunter and his YouTube channel. Email at Marc.Viquez@stadiumjourney.com