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  • Bart Wilhelm

VA Memorial Stadium – Chillicothe Paints


Photos by Bart Wilhelm, Stadium Journey


Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.43

VA Memorial Stadium 17273 State Route 104 Chillicothe, OH 45601

Year Opened: 1955 Capacity: 3,000+

 

Paints Baseball

Built in 1955, VA Memorial Stadium was originally used as a softball field for long-term patients of the nearby VA Medical Center. In 1993, the Chillicothe Paints were formed and the field was completely renovated including adding the existing outfield wall. The Paints were charter members of the independent Frontier League from 1993 until 2008. In 2009, the team changed direction and became charter members of the summer collegiate Prospect League. More than a decade and two league championships later, the team is still going strong.

Food & Beverage 4

VA Memorial Stadium offers a solid menu of ballpark food at very reasonable prices. Standard hot dogs are $3 (upgrade to coney or super dog with sauce, melted cheese, and onions for a dollar or two more). Sloppy Joes and cheeseburgers are $4. Brat with kraut, pulled pork, and grilled chicken sandwiches are $5. There are also nachos and super nachos for $3.50/$5. The most expensive item on the whole menu is a double cheeseburger which checks in at a very reasonable $6. I didn’t see any vegan options available for entrees. 20oz Pepsi products, bottled water, and Gatorade are all $2.50. There are two stands with identical items, one right behind the home plate, and another in the left field picnic area. Two beer stands are available, one each down the baselines. 16oz Budweiser, Bud Light, and Michelob Ultra drafts are a mere $3.50. On Thirsty Thursday, 12oz beers are a buck. Similar aluminum cans are $4.50 for 16 ounces. They also have cans of White Claw for $3.50 and O’Doul’s Non-alcoholic beer for $2.

Behind home plate is a DQ Ice Cream stand that offers cups of ice cream, Dilly Bars, Star Kisses, fudge bars, and orange bars, all for $2.50 each.

Atmosphere 4

As is the case with a lot of parks built in its era, there is a great old-time feeling to VA Memorial. The covered concourse behind home plate only extends about halfway down the infield but has room for well over a thousand fans. There are 12 rows of wooden seats with the first six rows having backrests. Most of those have season ticket holder’s names on them.

Beyond the bases, there are two sets of metal bleachers to handle more fans. There is also a large picnic area down the left field line with plenty of picnic tables. The total capacity is over 3,000.

Behind the first base bleachers is a large kid’s play area named in honor of Jackson (Jack) Fish. Jack was a former employee and batboy for the team. In 2017, he passed away and the team honored him with the playground and a memorial plaque.

Jackson Fish Memorial Playground, Photo by Bart Wilhelm, Stadium Journey


A basic electronic scoreboard is above the left-center field wall. No videos, just the runs, hits, errors, player number, and pitch speed.

The PA sound system is quite clear. There are no on-field games during innings, but there are a lot of lucky number giveaways to various businesses. Lucky numbers are obtained by purchasing a program, complete with scorecard and roster sheets, for $1.

Neighborhood 2

The biggest detriment to the ballpark is a location in proximity to the town. The stadium is located on the grounds of a large VA Medical Center. Officially it is designated Building 244 in the complex. Other than a golf course that is also part of the complex, there is no other business around. The only thing within a couple of miles is a large prison. It’s a nice looking setting, but there is nothing else nearby.

If you venture into downtown Chillicothe, five miles away, there are plenty of dining and shopping options. Chillicothe was the original capital of Ohio and there are banners downtown that celebrates the fact. The Majestic Theater has also been open for 158 years.

The city has all the usual chain restaurants. Plenty of fast food. But there are quite a few individual restaurants worth exploring. I had a delicious cheeseburger at 50 West downtown. I also had a couple of Ohio brews at The Pour House nearby, and the smell as I walked by the Hometown Hibachi almost made me have a second lunch. The downtown setting is worth the visit.

There are several hotels in the city, but most of the cheaper motels are located about a half hour away in the town of Washington Court House. There are no lodging areas within walking distance of the stadium.

Fans 4

Fan attendance is quite good at VA Memorial. Over 1,500 showed up for the Wednesday night game that I attended. A couple of Little League groups were there in uniform. The covered grandstand felt a little empty, but that’s because fans can spread out down the lines. A lot of people stayed in the shaded picnic area.

The Paints have been in town for 28 years now, so the team has a good core of season ticket holders who sit right behind home plate.

Access 3

I had to do a bit of searching to find the ballpark. Google maps do not have the ballpark listed at all. The stadium is located on the VA Medical Center campus, right on State Route 104. It’s just north of US 35 and just west of US 23. The physical address of the stadium is 17273 State Route 104. No interstates are servicing the area, and there’s no public transportation.

Parking is free and plentiful. Tickets are all General Admission and are $7 each. Children, seniors, and veterans can purchase tickets for $5.

There are two sets of restrooms. The original restrooms are located under the grandstand. They are very small and cramped. I would recommend going down the left field line to the picnic area. That area is much newer and the bathrooms are very spacious.

Return on Investment 4

This is definitely a ballpark where you get your money’s worth. Ticket prices are very reasonable and food and especially drinks are as inexpensive as you’re going to find at a ballgame.

Extras 3

One point goes to the players who, before each game, walk through the crowd and thank the fans for coming out and slap high fives with fans and kids. I asked an usher and they said it’s an every game thing.

One point goes for the beer prices. After paying $11 at a Triple-A game earlier in the day, it felt nice to have two for under $10 here.

One point goes to the Jackson Fish Memorial Playground. They really did a lot to honor their former fan and employee. His story has a sad ending, but they celebrate his life very well.

One point goes to the stadium itself. I really liked the feel of the ballpark, and the Paints have been going strong here for almost three decades. They’re definitely doing something right.

Final Thoughts

I had been wanting to come to VA Memorial Stadium for many years, but it’s never been on my path. The city is not really on the way to anything. Now that I’ve been here, I really want to come back. It was a very nice experience both at the ballpark and in the town. If you’re looking for a great old-feel setting to a baseball game without too many bells and whistles, Chillicothe is it.

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