Smith-Wills Stadium
Jackson, Mississippi
Year Opened
1975

Current Team
None

Affiliate
N/A

League
N/A

Capacity
5,200

Location Map

My Grades
Stadium C+ Atmosphere B+ Concessions B

Photos taken in 2004
Smith-Wills Stadium was home to a AA team from 1975 until 1999 when the Jackson Generals moved to Round Rock, Texas. With new parks being built all over, this ballpark quickly became obsolete - at least for affiliated baseball. Fortunately for the baseball diehards in Jackson, the Central League came in immediately and placed a franchise here. The ballpark is located on the east side of the city, right next door to he Mississippi Sports Hall Of Fame. A large concrete grandstand with a small roof sits behind homeplate and contains box seats. This structure is flanked by large metal bleacher sections down each baseline. The concourse runs behind the seating areas and is not covered. A sports bar is located in a building down the left field line. Unfortunately, it is not in view of the field. The setting is very bucolic as it is completely surrounded by tall pine trees. While concessions are limited to the standard ballpark fare, prices are cheap, and the quality is good. The Senators seem to have a loyal fan base, so this makes the atmosphere pretty enjoyable as most are actually watching the game intently. There are a few too many sound effects (they love playing movie clips), but the PA announcer is in to the game, and overall the atmosphere is laid back. There are also a few between inning contests (dizzy bat race, trivia, etc.), but they were not overdone. While Smith-Wills Stadium is suitable for the Central League, there is minor improvements that could be made here. Just some new box seats and a paint job for the roof would drastically improve the appearance of the ballpark. But any improvements seem unlikely at this point. This is because affiliated baseball will be returning to the area in 2005 with the arrival of the Mississippi Braves to nearby Pearl. The Senators have stated that they will still be around next year, but with attendance already sagging in 2004, it is hard to imagine them sticking around long-term. With the Central League dissolving after the '05 season, it appears that Jackson may be without minor league baseball in 2006. Smith-Wills Stadium is certainly not a great or classic ballpark, but the fans who come out are dedicated and they make it a memorable experience. This is just something that cannot be replicated at a new ballpark.
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