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|League||South Atlantic League|
|Address||274 E Memorial Blvd.|
Hagerstown, MD 21740
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Hagerstown Interviews -- 2007-03-13
Some time back we were paid for â€œAt the Yardâ€ magazine for an article on the stadium in Hagerstown. The article never ran but it as a fun experience and we did some interviews as a follow up that would have run on their web site. With the Nationals in Hagerstown this is a good opportunity to make these available. They capture some of the charm of the old ballpark. Having been to a lot of parks we look forward to visiting Hagerstown. The fans here are the best in baseball certainly on par with those legendary fans that followed the Brooklyn Dodgers. In some cases I have deleted the last names of the fans. Richard M Fan, Smithsburg. MD â€œI have been coming to Municipal Stadium since 1948 and love the small town atmosphere. When I first came here to Municipal Stadium the playing field went right up to the grandstand, making it 420 feet to dead center field. Except when serving in Mr. Trumanâ€™s Air Force I have been here in my lawn chair watching players like Willie Mays, Jim Palmer and Billy Ripken play at Municipal Stadium. I feel that we donâ€™t need a new stadium just rehab this one.â€ Note: The stadium is basically the same as when it was built, the box seats were once part of the playing field. Joanne C Fan, Hagerstown, MD â€˜This is a Field of Dreams Stadium. I see the players like Jay Gibbons here first and can follow their development. Itâ€™s about the game and not an event; you are one and one with the players. Promotions are nice and attendance has been up this year.â€ Dan Spedden Janette Spedden Zach Spedden Fans, Hagerstown, MD Dan Spedden stated; â€œWe took our son Zach to his first game here when he was five days old. Zach threw out the first pitch on the mound every year on his birthday till he was ten years old.â€ â€œOur son made the Guinness Book of World Records when he broadcast a Suns game here when he was only ten years old. One year later he received the award right here at the stadium. We got to relive one of the greatest moments in our life twice.â€ â€œOur neighbors come to the game and sit around us here on the third base bleachers.â€ Bill â€˜Willâ€™ K Nancy K Jessica K Nathan K Will related; â€œI played here in the Blue Ridge Adult League. The field was well maintained and it was fun. I remember when they played AA ball here. A friend and neighbor, Craig Walck played here in the White Sox system.â€ â€œMy daughter Jessica is an ardent fan, she collects autographs and enjoys following the progress of the players who have played for Hagerstown.â€ John Ficken AKA Tweety Bird Tweety Bird is a fixture in the Grandstand behind home plate. His house is right behind the outfield fence and his trademark line during a Suns rally, â€œYea Suns! Everybody hits!â€ When the opposing team is batting he will change it to â€œEverybody Out!â€ â€œI have been to every home game this year except for one when my wife was sick;â€ he said. â€œSo many good players have played here. Not much of a team this year but we still love them.â€ Here is the story about how he got his nickname. John traveled down to Lynchburg when they were in the same league with Hagerstown. He purchased a mechanical bird only to have the Hagerstown third base coach drop it and break it. He went back to the store and purchased the only one left. He took it to the baseball games at Municipal Stadium and the kids would follow him around asking him to make the bird sing. A friend called him Tweety Bird and the name has stuck. Note, Mr. Fricken has since passed away and is missed by many. Jason Gordon Manager, Media Relations and Broadcasting Hagerstown Suns â€˜The view from the press box here at Municipal Stadium is the best one in the South Atlantic Leagueâ€™ according to Mr. Gordon, "Over 500 bees live on top of the roof in the press boxâ€™. â€˜Friday night broadcasts are conducted in the beer garden. Fans are invited in to do color commentary.â€ Mike Showe Director of Stadium Operations. Head Groundkeeper Hagerstown Suns â€˜With all the rain this year we are past 50 tarp pulls. Putting the tarp on the field can be dangerousâ€™ related Mr. Showe. â€˜One year I got blown fifteen feet into the air by a tarp when a gust of wind got under the tarp and it happened to an intern this year. Many years ago the tarp got blown up and partially over the right field wall that had the picture of Babe Ruth painted on it. Last year a visiting player slide on tarp wearing only a jock strap. He asked the manager if he could do it and he was told he would be fined $100 but to go for it. He did and paid the fine. He had collected more then that from the other players and made money on the deal.â€ â€œLegion ball, Mark Teixeira played legion ball here several years ago, and high school championships are played here.â€ â€˜Two opossums, groundhogs and fifteen skunks have been taken from the stadium this year. Earlier this season a mouse jumped out of the equipment bag used by a coach from the visiting team,â€ Michele Wagner Intern Hagerstown Suns 679.JPG 680.JPG â€œEverything here is an experience, every day is a learning experience,â€ according to Michele. â€œFans like, Tweety Bird or the Baby Guy are so interesting. The day begins at 9 and lasts till the game is over and you might have to participate in a Tarp Pull.â€ Sean Martin RHP #20 Hagerstown Suns Sean stated that he enjoys pitching at Hagerstown. â€œThis is more of a pitchers park; balls donâ€™t travel well to left field. Center Field has a large wall and a certain shallowness to it. Municipal Stadium has the feel of an old ballpark; new stadiums appear to be more like amusement parks.â€ â€œHagerstown Bullpen Pitchers sit above the fence in right giving them a great view of the ballpark.â€ Timothy Hutting Infielder #03 Hagerstown Suns Tim stated, â€œAt dusk it can be tough to see a pitch, although lighting is good. I enjoy the fans and they are very loyal.â€ â€œIt was great having Willie Mays here a couple of weekâ€™s ago.â€ he added. Jonathan Armitage Of #12 Hagerstown Suns Jonathan remarked, â€œLeft field can be tough to play because you will not be throwing on level ground. It isnâ€™t the slope of the field that can cause you problems, the field just plays deep.â€ Rodger Wood Freelance Photographer â€œI have taken pictures in a lot of ballparks and consider this to be one of the most pleasant to take pictures at. Management here is friendly and always willing to help. You are close to the fans and they blend in with the players,â€ adds Rodger. â€œI have been coming here since 1981. I have seen players like, Andrew Jones, Vladimir Guerrero, Vernon Wells, Clipper Jones, Orlando Hudson, David Segui and Bob Malacki, play here. Babe Ruth was rumored to have barnstormed here and his sister came to watch games.â€ Kevin Smoot Chaplain Kevin is employed by Baseball Chapel to administer to the spiritual needs of the players and others at the stadium. â€œI have been working here for the last four years as a Chaplain. I grew up in Hagerstown and played baseball and football at Municipal Stadium.â€ Jay S Gale S Jay S Ric Jeremy E Todd R Brett R Bob S The Hagerstown Suns Tailgaters, Fans A regular feature at Suns games are the Tailgaters. According to the group, â€œEvery Sunday when the Suns play a home game we have a tail gate party, whether they end up playing or not. Today we are having burgers, salmon, sausage with onions and peppers, beer and chocolate fudge for dessert. We enjoy watching the game from the beer garden.â€ Yasuyuki Yanagi Intern Hagerstown Suns â€œThis is very different from baseball played in Japan, said Yasuyuki. My job is boring but the atmosphere is very nice. The fans are easy going and very friendly.â€
Hagerstown -- 2007-03-10
I would just like to comment on the above comments. I'm a regular attendee to Suns games, so my views might be a bit biased, but I'm a regular baseball traveller as well and have attended more than a fair share of minor league games over the years. Municipal Stadium is old. Ok, we get it. Plans are in motion to build or throughly reconstruct the existing one. Why not go now and enjoy an older style structure? Do I need to remind you that this is the stadium where WILLIE MAYS played his first professional baseball game? While old, it isn't without its charm either. I rather enjoyed the comments about ticket prices. Where else can you take a family on a Monday night, enjoy a game, and a meal for a decent price? The Suns have gone above and beyond with their promotions trying to fill seats. Feed Yr Face Mondays are a great outing for families at a decent price. Sorry if you don't want to get all you can eat and watch a game for what a hotdog and a ticket normally costs. As for Thirsty Thursdays, you obviously haven't actually ventured down into the beer garden otherwise you would know that the standing room only area against the outfield wall is packed with cheering fans. Hate to break it to you but beer and baseball go together. If you don't want to partake, thats fine, and the Hagerstown Suns have made it so you DON'T have to be surrounded by beer drinkers. The team has changed affiliations over the past couple of years regularly, which has dampened how loyalty is allowed. We've been with the Orioles, Blue Jays, Giants, Mets, and now Nationals. Hopefully being with a club closer to home will get more people through the gates. Overall, I highly recommend the team to people. It's inexpensive compared to most other social events, and its fun. What more could you ask for?
i am a suns fan club member and travel regularly from an hour away to games of which i see many in a year. There is more life in the stadium the past two years then there was in the previous years under the old ownership,and i know this because i know the previous owner and have been coming to the park since 1981 when they got a team. The stadium is old, but they are planning some renovation work this off season to make things better. While i agree that the food may have gone downhill somewhat it is still decent even though the prices have gone up in years. The fan club does a great job for the players and they are very appreciative of the fan club efforts towards them. The beauty of the old stadiums that are still in use is that you have the so called "characters" in the stands that make minor league ball what it is supposed to be. When a new stadium replaces an old one all you get is a bunch of people who come to games and do not care at all about the action on the field. The characters disappear and there is no charm to the place anymore. While i advocate family participation at the parks, you still need other types of fans to make it complete, but with the newer parks the blend of fan seems to disappear. Just go to the Frederick Keys and you will see plenty of people at the games but they have no idea about the players or the game. The Suns attendance has risen this year due to the good things the new regime has brought to the old park. I also know the fans you so called highlighted in your article such as Tweety, and yes he drinks alot of beer but he never uses any bad language and is there at every game no matter the weather and he likes the game and the players. What will happen regarding a team staying or leaving in the near future remains to be seen since Madalay Entertainment owns them, but while they are still at Municipal Stadium the people really enjoy it and that is what counts.
Our 2004 Stadium Review -- 2004-06-17
Hagerstown Suns South Atlantic League “A” Overall Rating: D-
The good news. Thirsty drinkers can now drink beer without the inconviennce of a baseball game. The beer garden will be open on Thursday’s when the Suns are on the road. Check those schedules. Sadly they no longer sell beer in the stands. We enjoyed watching one vendor who would lug a cooler around the stadium.
Beer is sold down the third baseline in the beer garden and just before the bleachers behind first base. Frankly the better view is down the third base line. They have a TV that plays ESPN in the beer shack. Come early to grab a prize seat at a table in the beer garden near the TV since it fills up fast on Thirsty Thursdays.
If you get bored drinking beer or watching ESPN you might be able to catch a minor league baseball game, they do play games here.
Atmosphere: Have a beer or two
A fresh coat of dark green paint was applied before the season started. A "new" manual scoreboard has been installed to replace the old one that stopped working last year and a small luxury box with several tables complete with concrete block wall (that blocks the view of the fans in General Admission) is down the first base line. That covers the changes made to Municipal Stadium now celebrating 73 years of existence. I was told that the current gang has one more year to go on a lease. Maybe they will leave early or turn the stadium into a bar. Unless there is regime change in Hagerstown they will close this place out and bring their magic and talent for ruin somewhere else.
Don't forget to spend a lot of money on Launch a Ball, they need it to buy more beer.
Woolie B needs some help, his outfit is badly in need of repair even Jay Jay in his usual drunken stupor had a better day. Most of the on field promotions have been terminated. Oh, you can participate in US Cellular promotion, call a number on your cell phone and win a small lunch case. One fan used it to carry his garbage after a win. You can run around the hot dog guy in right or make the scoreboard cowboy dance to yee haw music but why bother. Just drop by on Thirsty Thursday and drink cheap beer. The management doesn't care so why should the fans.
Some time back this was our favorite ballpark. We knew a lot of people here. Prices were low and the food at the grill was great. We would make the hour plus drive out here and savor the time spent. Now we go to see the opposing teams. There is no soul left here.
Why worry… Drink Beer
Beer is cheap but you need to purchsae a ticket
They have yet to waive the entrance fee. In order to purchase beer they charge you $6 or $8. On Feed your Face Mondays the entrance prices are $10 and $12 whether you eat or not.
Ryan’s provides food (and is the sponsor) on FYF Mondays and the food looks good. We avoid the concession stands and grill.
Odds and Ends
The management philosophy here is that if it costs money don't do it. Some time back Michael T would spend Fridays entertaining the kids and other magicians like Dean would make the kids smile with their tricks and balloon animals. MT was given the boot and sadly Dean's group often plus is down to two. Many fans have decided to stay away.
In one game a ball slices just over the heads of the two veterans in front of us and hits a man ten feet to our left right in the elbow. Both Karen and I instinctively duck out of the way. His friend asks him if he is all right. He nods. But you can see the bruise begin to swell. After a short wait he walks off to find some ice. No medical staff to be seen, no staff member to come over to offer help. Earlier in the game one fan jumped on the field to grab a ball. Nothing was done to remove him from the game.
The stands here can be a killing ground. You sit close to the action on the third base line, maybe too close and there is no net. We saw one person get hit in the jaw many years ago. He was talking to a friend next to him on the first row of seats on the walkway. The ball hit him on the right side of the jaw. He turned, blood oozed from his mouth and he fell to the floor. Last year a foul bowl just missed us but nailed a poor kid behind us. The ball impacted with a dull thump. It was horrible and leads our friend Dean to sit behind the screen. I think of that whenever I see kids play on the dugout, you never know.
One thing about Hagerstown while the crowds are small the fans are vocal. We have an assortment of fans that would have fit in nicely at a Brooklyn Dodgers game. There is the big fellow who sits at the top of the bleacher seats behind home plate that yells out, baby hits and makes strange noises in his hoo honker. He added a new saying when he began yelling give us a b when the count went full on a Suns batter.
They also have Tweety. He is an older fan and drinks beer after beer. You can't miss him; he wears shorts with high white socks and site behind home plate. Karen said he has bird legs. His favorite saying is "Everybody hits," during a rally. Below us is “Squeaky voice.” He is an older man with a strange squeaky voice.
Above our normal third base bleacher seats is “Gravel Voice,” another older fan named by Dean for the sound of his voice. Gravel Voice will make funny remarks during the course of the game.
Sadly Grandma no longer attends game here. She sat behind home plate. We enjoyed listening to her joke about the players, and so did the players. Years ago she got on Jovanny Sosa saying you're no Sosa. He hit a home run and did a great job imitating Sammy signing himself after a home run. The crowd broke out in laughs.
The greatest baseball fan I have ever known comes to games here, her name is Jessica.
Stadium Review for 2003 -- 2003-09-20
Overall Rating: D (Our lowest for 2003)
Sadly the old ballpark needs some work. The new ownership team needs even more. They have yet to improve the facility here and one year is left on the lease. I suspect 2004 will be there last one. The box seats are not the best and some people would find their view obstructed from the first row of box seats.
General Admission seats lack backs and a doubleheader takes a toll on the fans.
The hump in left makes for a unique view.
Many of our friends stopped going or reduced their visits. The teams focus is on group sales and beer.
If you want cheap beer this is your place. We go to see the other South Atlantic League teams play.
One word for the on field staff. They don’t get paid much and have to work with a management team that seems out of touch but they give the fans a great deal to appreciate. I wish they were in a better situation they deserve better.
Tickets are cheap - $5 for General Admission and if you buy a ticket booklet it works out to just under $3 a ticket. The food prices have skyrocketed in the past 2 years, the soft drinks are now only .25 cheaper than at the COMCAST parks but why bother with sodas when you can come for Thirsty Thursday and get cheap beer. Thirsty Thursday’s used to also discount sodas but not anymore – you can’t make any money that way.
Odds and Ends
The "Feed you Face Night" has been a big success with many fans. While the Suns don't have the space to make it work (many fans take advantage by bringing food to their friends) it is a good idea. The grill continues to disappoint food quality there is variable. One night the chicken was under cooked. On another night we ended up with double cheeseburgers.
One Monday night in late in the season I talk to a fan who has made his first trip back to Hagerstown in two years. It is “Feed your Face Night. Instead of the $5 charge for a General Admission seats he is forced to purchase a $10 feed your face ticket. He had already eaten dinner. Angry he tells me he won’t be back.
Don’t eat the food here (see below). Food quality can be a coin toss. Twice this year and once last year concession personnel have put food back into service that I had touched and told them was cold.
This is a copy of an email my wife sent to Hagerstown
Hi. We are big minor league fans and attend over 100 games a year at more than 30 parks - we have 1 of your GA ticket booklets as well. In the past Hagerstown has been one of our favorite parks (so we drove the hour plus from our house) despite the facilities being old and other quirks - you could get quality concessions (especially at the grill) at good prices. This is no longer true - these past 2 years the quality has really suffered as well as the prices going up. We used to look forward to coming to the stadium and going to the grill and getting a big hot dog or the owner's dog or the sausage with peppers/onions or the spicy chicken tenders at the regular concessions. As I have said in previous emails this is no longer true and has continued to get worse. Despite protestations on your part to give us a chance etc - after tonight we will definitely not eat at your ballpark anymore. We have been avoiding eating at your park but tonight decided well let's give it a try. What a disaster - first attempted to get the popcorn chicken - I say attempted because based on past experiences my husband specifically told the person at the stand we only wanted them if they were hot. The individual gave the chicken to my husband who touched several and since it was cold told them to take it back. The individual then proceeded to taste one and agreed with my husband, gave him his money back and then dumped the cold chicken back into the tray with the others - I don't think this is very sanitary! The individual said "come back later" - well after seeing what happened I don't want to even know how many other people this happened to so definitely was not coming back. He then went to the grill to get a sausage with peppers/onions. Was able to get the sausage but no peppers/onions - "we have run out" is what he was told. This was at 630! I suspect you just never bothered to get any ready. Also the bun is way too big for the sausage.
It really is a shame but unfortunately things have really gone downhill. It just no longer is the good experience that it used to be. It seems as if all the emphasis is to sell as much beer as possible and to the heck with everything else. Also it seems that in the games we've been to there are never the same people working the concession stand so each time it is as if they are in training. For example tonight when I went to purchase a soda the individual had to figure out the register. This has happened several times.
Sincerely, Karen Flynn
Thank you very much for your comments regarding the concession stand. We actually have had many compliments this season regarding the quality of our concession stands compared to past seasons. Our prices are also very reasonable compared to other minor league stadiums. Once again, I am sorry that your expierence to Municipal Stadium was not as fulfilling as it once was. I know if you gave our concession stands another try we could fulfill every request you may have. Thank you for your comments and have a great day.
Chris Matthias Hagerstown Suns Director of Concessions
Other stadiums well worth a visit rather then this place
Bethesda, Povich Field Home to the Big Train Rebel Field, New Market, Virginia Crosby Stadium, Ft Royal, Virginia
Karen and Kevin Flynn
The Good And The Bad -- 2003-08-30
Got to visit Hagerstown to see the Suns take on the Lakewood Blueclaws last week (8-23-03). The seats were great, the fans were friendly, the staff very courteous and helpful. The only drawback was when I went to make a phone call at the pay phone, I believe I took my life into my own hands. If you have ever seen the movie "Hairspray" you have seen the scene where Ricki Lake kicks the rat off her foot while necking in the alley. That'll give you an idea. So all in all, make sure you check out the Suns in Hagerstown and don't forget to bring your cell phone.
Municipal Stadium, An Overview -- 2002-08-21
On day 1 of 4 in Maryland, we took in a Hagerstown Suns game. Not knowing when the games open (exactly 1 hour before, so 6:05 for a 7:05 start), I became the first in line. The outside of the stadium isn't much to look at, it was built in 1931, but the inside had a 15 - 20 foot high wall all around the outfield with cutouts for the bullpens (during the national anthem, you can only see the waist up on the Suns players in right-center). The bleachers down the right field line were repainted recently, but they should have been replaced (a small child could slip between the seats and fall to the ground). Under the roof, the seats were newer, but still had large gaps between levels. The best seats were actual seats with armrests, but they are away from the roof and there is only about 200 - 300 of them (behind home plate and down the 3rd base line). All players & umpires come out of one building in right field, so most autograph requests are handled in one area. Again, the park is in town, right down the road from a hotel & Burger King. As much as I like the older stadiums, I must admit Hagerstown needs a new one (Do you hear me, SF Giants?).
A great time was had by all -- 2001-09-30
My children and wife and I had a fabulous time watching the Suns duel the Hickory Crawdads on the last weekend of the 2001 season. The park is an ancient gem and the staff and players go out of their way to accommodate fans. The fans are loyal: Friday night's game was a rainout, and no one left the park for two hours until the game was postponed. The next day's make-up game was a pleasure, followed by the officially scheduled match, capped off by fireworks. Even the food was fine - and inexpensive. We left as devoted supporters.