Team: Chillicothe Paints (Prospect League)
Game: Paints vs Lorain County Ironmen-6/16/2012
Team Website: www.chillicothepaints.com
Ticket Information: (740) 773-TEAM or www.chillicothepaints.com
Tourism Information: (800) 413-4118 or www.visitchillicotheohio.com
Online Broadcasts: www.chillicothepaints.com
Local Newspaper: Chillicothe Gazette www.chillicothegazette.com
Team Information: One of the charter franchises in the Frontier League, the Chillicothe Paints are in their twentieth season of play. Starting in 1993, the Paints were one of the cornerstone franchises of the league, and when they moved to the college wood bat Prospect League, they were the last of the Frontier League's charter franchise in their original city. The Paints made the FL playoffs on six occasions, and kept up that level of excellence in the Prospect League, winning the league's title in 2010.
Seating Capacity: VA Memorial Stadium has a capacity of approximately 3000.
How About That Name (And Some History): Located on the grounds of the Veterans Administration Hospital, VA Memorial Stadium is located three miles north of downtown Chillicothe. Having been built with funding from the Blue Star Mothers of America, the stadium was originally used for softball games between patients at the hospital. In 1993, in time for the inaugural season of the Paints, the stadium was completely renovated. In 2006, the park underwent additional renovations, which included a new Field Turf playing surface.
Other Tenants: VA Memorial Stadium hosts a myriad of other local events, including high school baseball, softball, soccer, and football. From 2008 until last year, the park was the home of the Mid American Conference's baseball tournament.
Getting There: From Columbus, take US-23 south for 23 miles, exiting onto Ohio Rt 207. Take Rt 207 for approximately three miles, then turn right into the VA Hospital complex. Go for approximately a half mile and the ballpark and parking will be on your left.
On The Town: Located in the lush green farmlands of south central Ohio, Chillicothe is a town with a population of 22,000 as of the most recent census.
Chillicothe does not have direct service from any major interstate highways, but it is within an hour's drive from I-71 and I-75.
What is now known as the town of Chillicothe was inhabited two thousand years ago by early Native American tribes. These groups built settlements and burial mounds throughout the Ohio and Scioto river valleys. These tribes, which included the Shawnees had the area unto themselves until after the Revolutionary War, when Europeans started moving from the Atlantic coast in search of good farming land.
Chillicothe was the state capital of Ohio from the granting of statehood in 1803 until 1810, when it was moved to Zanesville. In 1812, the capital moved back to Chillicothe, where it stood until 1816 when it was moved to the more centrally located Columbus.
Three Ohio governors (Edward Tiffin, Thomas Worthington, and Duncan McArthur) were born in Chillicothe, as well as noted jazz singer Nancy Wilson.
Nearby Airport: The closest major airport to Chillicothe is Port Columbus International Airport, which is approximately 50 miles northeast of Chillicothe.
What To Do: Although I didn't get the chance to actually attend this, it sounded interesting to me, being a history buff.
Chillicothe is the home of an outdoor historical drama "Tecumseh", which is based upon the life of the legendary Shawnee chief. According to the informational brochure, the drama, which has been done for the past forty years, features horses, cannon fire, stunts, and "dazzling battle scenes". For more information, call (866) 775-0700 or visit www.tecumsehdrama.com.
Where To Eat: Food wise, there was nothing in the immediate area of the ballpark. I would suggest checking with the local convention and visitors bureau or hotel if you're staying locally for more information.
Where To Stay: On this trip I stayed in Columbus (which turned out to be not such a good idea). However, the Paints do have a preferred hotel in town, which is the Comfort Inn in Chillicothe. The hotel provides a complimentary breakfast, an outdoor swimming pool, and an on-site bar and restaurant. For more information, call (800) 542-7919.
Ticket Prices: Paints tickets are priced as follows: $6.00 (general admission), $5.00 (senior citizens and chidren 4-12).
Parking: There is a fairly good sized lot right next to the stadium. Parking in this lot is free.
Getting In: The main entrance to the park is located on the third base side of the grandstand. The box office is also located at this entrance.
The Good Seats: The main grandstand of VA Memorial Stadium runs from first base to third base and has fourteen rows. The front seven rows consists of bleachers with backs, and the rear seven rows are bleachers without backs. The entire main grandstand is under cover. There is also a small bleacher section down the right field line, and a small bleacher section and a large picnic/party area down the left field line.
Stadium Food: VA Memorial Stadium has two major points of sale for their food concessions. The first is right behind home plate under the main grandstand and sells the ballpark basics. While the selection probably won't exactly knock your socks off, the price will definitely make you smile. For my meal, I had two hot dogs, a bag of Herr's potato chips, and a bottle of Pepsi, which cost a very pleasant $7.00. The meal also included a free pickle spear. The quality was pretty good, the hot dogs were made fresh, served fairly warm, and were relatively tasty.
Next to this concession stand, there is a small cart which sells funnel cakes and other sweets.
There is another concession stand next to the picnic area which has a large grill for fresh made hot dogs and hamburgers.
Here is a sample of the pricing for the food at the home of the Paints:
Hot Dog: $2.00 Cheeseburger: $3.50 Nachos: $3.75 Pizza Slice: $2.00 Bottled Soda: $2.00 Draft Beer: $3.00 French Fries: $2.50
Soft Drinks: Pepsi-Cola products are served at VA Memorial Stadium.
Souvenirs: The "General Store" souvenir stand is located under the grandstand across from the concession stand. The small booth sells a better than average line of merchandise.
ATM: A "no-brand" ATM is located in the left field picnic area.
Rest Rooms: There are mens' and womens' restrooms located under the main grandstand. While they are probably "original equipment" they are in good working order.
Mascot: "Chief Krazy Horse" circulates througout the park during the entire game.
Dance Team: None
Program: The Paints sell a scorecard at the main entrance for $1.00. In addition the team also distributes the "Stable Report", a free tabloid sized newspaper which gives in depth information on the players and the Prospect League.
Scoreboard/Stadium Voice: Located in left center field, VA Memorial Stadium has a rather unique scoreboard set up. The ballpark has a manually operated scoreboard which features the line score of the game, and right next to the linescore, a modern electronic board which shows the remainder of the pertinent game data. The ballpark has a good sound system and PA announcer. The team has a very good selection of music, which leans toward modern country music, as opposed to the standard stadium selection.
Stadium Staff: This is one of the areas where some work is needed. Other than one on two college interns and some other volunteers, there wasn't much of a staff presence at the park. However, the people there were friendly, except for the one guy who worked at the beer trailer who told some kids (rather nastily, if you ask me), to "get away from the fence".
Atmosphere: One of the nice things about coming to a game in a small town like Chillicothe is that it is very community friendly. The team is locally owned, the majority of sponsors are local or regional, and the fans are very involved with the team. The majority of Paints fans are families, which makes for a pleasant and lively atmosphere.
Overall Rating: While the physical plant had some renovations and updates over the past few years, VA Memorial Stadium retains that "old-time" ballpark atmosphere. While the park could use some sprucing up here and there, it's still a comfortable place to watch a ballgame in the rolling farmlands of south central Ohio.