Phil Welch Stadium
St. Joseph, Missouri
Year Opened
1939

Current Team
None

Affiliate
N/A

League
N/A

Capacity
3,600

Location Map

My Grades
Stadium B Atmosphere A- Concessions C

Photos taken in 2006
With the return of a team in 2006, Phil Welch Stadium saw professional baseball for the first time since 1954. This is somewhat surprising since the facility is in great shape and there have been numerous independent leagues to give it a chance. Whatever the reason, the American Association came knocking in '06 and placed the Blacksnakes here. The ballpark, nestled in a residential neighborhood and located adjacent to an ice rink, is about what you'd expect from a facility built in the 1930's. There's a large covered grandstand, but few other "amenities" that cam be found at newer parks. But that's ok, since most of the fans seem to care about the actual game and don't need anything else to make their visit more enjoyable. The seating consists of 6 rows of box seats (in front of the grandstand) and the rest is all bench seating. While the box seats are spacious and close to the action, the sightlines are obscured by a chain link fence and light poles that are actually built into the seating sections. There is also a grassy berm along the left field line, but this area does not provide good views of the field as it is set too far back from the field. While Phil Welch Stadium can hold 3,600, having this many on hand would cause some problems since the concourse is tiny (only runs half way around the grandstand) and there is only one entranceway to the seating. A couple of small concession stands are located on the concourse behind the grandstand. Only the ballpark basics are offered for fare, but the prices are reasonable and the quality is decent. The atmosphere definitely has a small town feel where fans come to watch a game and shoot the breeze with their neighbors. There are many on-field contests (Sumo, boxing, race the mascot, burger eating, sing for your supper) and the team does have a mascot (Roobie), but these don't detract from the game at all. The Blacksnakes haven't been a great draw in their first year in the AA, but hopefully the league will give them time to build up a fan base so they can remain for many years. It's great to see pro baseball at an old time ballpark like Phil Welch, so hopefully the franchise can succeed. Unfortunately, after two seasons of subpar attendance, the team folded.
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