Devault Memorial Stadium
Bristol, Virginia
Year Opened
1969

Current Team
Bristol Pirates

Affiliate
Pittsburgh Pirates

League
Appalachian League

Capacity
1,500

Location Map

My Grades
Stadium D+ Atmosphere A Concessions B

Photos taken in 2008
You have to wonder if the folks of Bristol realize how lucky they are. Being able to retain minor league baseball since 1969 in what is probably the worst professional facility in the country makes them pretty fortunate in my mind. But having finally seen a game here in 2008, there is something endearing about the authentic baseball experience that you get here. Devault Memorial Stadium is located in a rather residential area, directly adjacent to a high school football stadium. Parking is actually located next to the football field, so fans must walk along a path around it in order to get to the baseball park. So it is a bit far, but fortunately it is free. The park itself it made up of three types of seating - several rows of box seats behind home plate, concrete bleachers along the first base line and behind home plate, and metal bleachers (set on concrete) along the third base side. In addition, many fans setup lawn chairs on the hill behind the press box which overlooks the field. While most seats are close to the field, almost all (except those far down the third base line) are obstructed by a thick netting. Concessions and souvenirs are available at stands located beneath the press box. Concessions, which are limited in variety, are sold by a local high school. The only unique food offering is Chik-Fil-A sandwiches which are quite tasty. As with all Appy League ballparks, prices are dirt cheap on everything. Hot dogs are $2, drinks just a $1. Tickets are only $3 for general admission and $5 for reserved. Outside of Oneonta's Damachke Field, Devault Memorial Stadium may have the best baseball atmosphere of any park in the minor leagues. There are only a few between inning games (dizzy bat race, chicken toss, ball toss) and no annoying onfield DJ. The team also does a few other lucky number and trivia contests, but nothing which detracts from the game. Also, unlike almost every other minor league team, they don't feel it necessary to blare music and sound effects between batters or pitches. Instead you only here the natural sounds of the game - the crack of the bat, the calls of the umpires, the communication between the fielders, and the yelling of passionate fans. I really wish it was like this at more ballparks. And the Bristol Sox don't feel it necessary to set up tons of games to entertain the kids. Just a speed pitch booth is available to distract them. There isn't even a mascot on hand. They are selling baseball and nothing else. One nice touch at the ballpark is the presence of a plaque recognizing Ron Necciai's feat of striking out 27 batters in one game for the Bristol Twins in 1952. Devault Memorial Stadium certainly is not the most comfortable place to see a game, but the authentic baseball atmosphere does make it worth a visit. It is certainly unlike anything you'll experience anywhere else.
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