|Up until the extensive renovations that took place before the '04 season, City Stadium (also known as Calvin Falwell Field) was a no frills classic old ballpark. And much to my surprise when I visited in '07, the renovations have done little to alter the original structure. Yes, it now looks more like a lot of the new parks with an open concourse overlooking the field and luxury boxes stacked above it. But they were able to maintain the essence of the old ballpark by keeping the roof over the main grandstand. Especially at the minor league level, it is usually hard to modernize a ballpark without destroying the classic feeling of it. But in Lynchburg, they have done a great job.
- I love roofs at ballparks. So I was happy to see that the roof was basically unaltered during the renovation. A roof is not only great for keeping fans dry when it is raining, but also for providing shade. Not enough emphasis is given to shade in the newer ballparks.
- Another benefit of having a roof is that it pushes the luxury boxes closer to the field. There probably is not another ballpark where the luxury boxes are in such close proximity to the field.
- The '04 renovations included new chairback seats in the grandstand behind homeplate, new concession stands, a new entranceway, a new press box, and a team store (which the ballpark did not have before).
- The city of Lynchburg is surrounded by mountains, so the setting here is quite serene. Unfortunately, the best views of the mountains are behind the grandstand, so can’t be seen while watching the game.
- Some cool baseball themed artwork adorns the concourse on the first base side.
- Crowds are not typically big here, but when they are, the ballpark can feel very tight. This is because the concourse only extends around the infield. While there is a berm located down the right field line, it is not used much as the views from there are not optimal.
- The kids play area, consisting of three inflatables, is crammed in along the concourse on the first base side. This makes the ballpark even feel more congested than need be.
- Netting extends over both dugouts meaning there are very few unobstructed views.
- There is a bit too much bench seating, though this does provide a cheaper seating option. Of course, on most nights, fans can get a reserved fold-down seat if they really want to.
- The atmosphere had been pretty laid back when I visited in ‘07, but upon a return visit in 2017 it seemed things had changed. A new PA announcer was a bit over the top and the overall experience was a bit crazier.
Having seen City Stadium before and after the renovations, I was quite impressed by the changes that were made. Certainly the old version was outdated and needed some upgrades, so I was happy to see that many modern amenities could be added without losing the charm of the original ballpark. I just wonder why other new ballparks couldn't be built in a similar way - with both a large roof and luxury boxes. But for some reason the ballpark architects seem resistant to change their blueprints despite the fact that fans really seem to want a roof, especially on hot or wet nights. Hopefully they will look at City Stadium as a new example of how a ballpark can be built or renovated.
- Mostly just the standard ballpark fare is available, though prices are reasonable. The two main concession stands offer hot dogs ($3.25), burgers ($7), pulled pork sandwiches ($7.50), Little Caesars Pizza ($3.25), and mac & cheese bites ($4.50). They also sell a variety of coffee drinks like mochas and cappucinos.
- The picnic area down the third base line sells some BBQ items. I would assume these are of decent quality as the prices were higher on these items (over $10).
- With limited concession stands, lines can be very long on busy nights.
- The Starr Hill Draft Room provided a hangout for fans who aren’t interested in the games. It is located off the concourse and features tables where fans can sit and enjoy their concessions.