Year Opened: 1946
Capacity: 1,400, give or take
Dimensions: 323L, 400C, 336R
League: Coastal Plain League
Parking: Free and abundant in adjoining unpaved parking lot.
b: Take Route 220 (from either the north or the south) to Asheboro and exit at Presnell Street. Turn onto Presnell heading westbound. Take the next immediate left onto McCrary Street and follow approximately two miles. The ballpark will be on your right.
I was in that overwhelmed mindset when I set out for Asheboro to check out McCrary Park, the home of the Asheboro Copperheads of the college wood-bat Coastal Plain League. After already hitting five North Carolina ballparks in four days, I was ready for a break.
Or, at least, I wasn't ready for the great time I had at McCrary Park, and to an extent it restored my faith in baseball. The park is small and tucked away in a residential area, but it's an integral part of the Asheboro community. McCrary Park was built in 1946 by McCrary Mills and served as the home for the highly successful McCrary Eagles, the Mill’s industrial league team for 1946-1957. The park would go on to serve as the home for Asheboro Post 45 following the revival of the program in the late 1950s; today the park is home to local high-school and Legion teams as well as the Copperheads.
What made the visit so special? Part of it related to the simplicity of the ballpark. There's really not a lot to it: a covered grandstand, a concession building, four sets of rickety bleachers, and a picnic seating area down the right-field line where fans bring their own chairs. The grandstand features seat-back seating and a small press box.
The more moving aspect to the visit was the intimacy between the Copperheads and the community. There's not a lot of distance between the players and the fans with a college wood-bat league, and it was heartening to see the players milling around with the fans -- especially the kids -- before the game, chatting up a storm. Most ballplayers pay lip service to being role models for kids, but you don't always get the sense they mean it. The Copperheads players truly meant it: most seemed really happy just to be in uniform and didn't harbor any pretensions of future stardom, so they could let down their guard and be regular people. And that's really what the ballpark experience should be about.
All concessions are sold in the single concession building. The highlight is the $1.50 hot dog, which comes topped with chili and cole slaw. Also on the menu: pop, candy, frozen treats, and Chick-Fil-A sandwiches. A cup of ice runs you a quarter.
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