In transition. Those two words describe not only Calvin Falwell Field but also the team that calls it home, the Lynchburg Hillcats (High A; Carolina League). While it’s not necessarily a bad ballpark, there are definitely improvements to be made to help enhance the fan experience.
While the drive to Lynchburg is relatively smooth, it will take some eagle eyes and/or a GPS system to be able to find the ballpark. Lynchburg is home to Liberty University with Calvin Falwell Field located on the other side of town. There are two entrances to the field. One is a relatively plain, chain-link fence that opens onto the main road and the second is an elaborate brick entryway but there is only one sign indicating it’s where the Hillcats play and the sign is almost covered by bushes. Luckily, the stadium lights overhead were a general indication that it was the right place.
Navigating the parking situation was a bit tricky as well. There are really three interconnected lots and all of them are on the first base side of the park. The top lot is dangerously close to foul ball territory so if you aren’t careful, you might be calling an auto glass company. There is a reserved lot closer to home plate and then there is a lower lot which is pretty small. Together it looked like the lots could only hold a few hundred cars which wasn’t a problem on this hot, humid Sunday but could be on busy nights.
There are three stones in front of the park in memory of local baseball legends including the first Lynchburg player to go pro and there is a small hall of fame in the elevator lobby towards the front of the park. The front of the park is modest with one gate serving two turnstiles leading to a set of stairs that go up to the concourse. The main concourse has a decent sized team store but it doesn’t have entrance outside of the stadium for non-game days.
One of the more unique features is the press box. Unlike most stadiums which have the press box on the highest level of the park, the press box is situated on the same level as the concourse right behind home plate. It’s very small and holds just enough space for broadcasters and team officials. The third floor holds all of the team’s suites.
Calvin Falwell Field at City Stadium looks like it was carved into the hillside but it unable to take advantage of the beautiful views due to double-decker advertisements lining the outfield walls with a scoreboard in left field and a jumbotron in right center field. There’s nothing too flashy about the park’s concessions as they offer normal ballpark fare like hot dogs and nachos with pizza provided by Domino’s. (Domino’s also had a truck out in front of the stadium selling pizza.)
There are several picnic areas with a wooden deck down third base complete with umbrellas for shade and two picnic areas by the visitor’s bullpen on the first base side.
It’s not a bad ballpark but it could definitely use some upgrades. This might be in the cards seeing as how the Hillcats are slated to be sold to Elmore Sports. But with good prices, an open concourse, and a small but devoted group of fans, it’s a great park for the baseball purist.