|Chronological Tour: Stop 223|
Exterior of Falconi Field. The front plaza is unfinished in Jul-2002, awaiting the construction of PONY Baseball headquarters.
The seating bowl, from the third-base picnic area and beer garden.
The park is on a terrace above the city of Washington, overlooking the mountains rather than the freeway.
Baseball returned to Washington, Pa., south of Pittsburgh, in 2002 after a long absence, when the Frontier League’s Canton Crocodiles moved. (Canton didn’t lose baseball that season; a team moved there from London, Ont., for a year.)
I arrived on a Sunday afternoon to find a park built up the hill from a shopping mall alongside the freeway. The only access to the park is from a fairly long road through the mall, a la the park in Niles, Ohio. This meant that the home team, the Wild Things, were collecting $3 for parking anywhere close to the park. (This fee was up to $5 by 2016.)
As opposed to the traditional east-northeast orientation of a baseball field, this park is aligned so that the batter faces south-southwest. This was done so that the park’s main entrance would be easily visible from the nearby freeway, but it also meant that the sun was never behind most of the spectators during a day game.
To make matters worse, while the box seats are regular stadium seats mounted in concrete, the reserved section above the concourse is made of aluminum benches (mercifully with backs) mounted on an aluminum structure. In addition, there is very little roof overhang, so it is extremely difficult to find a shady area from which to watch the game. The concession areas are in shade, under the grandstand.
I’m sure people who come to the park for night games enjoy it immensely. It does have some amenities that make it better than the park in Woodbridge, Va., such as a picnic area and beer garden built into the structure, but I found the place almost unbearable for a day game. Fortunately, Wild Things general manager Ross Vecchio advises that, with the exception of a few late-afternoon games to accommodate local TV, the club has switched all its contests to the evening. I owed the park a second chance, which it got in July 2016 for a late afternoon start. By that time, the field had received artificial turf (in 2014). That enabled the operators to lure a Women’s Pro Fastpitch softball team, the Pennsylvania Rebellion, to share the field.
In April 2007, the Wild Things and the stadium operating authority entered into a naming-rights agreement with CONSOL Energy, a coal mining outfit, to rename Falconi Field. I never learned who Falconi was, but Jeff, a site visitor, pointed out that Angelo Falconi is an automobile dealer in western Pennsylvania.
|536||Sun 28-Jul-2002||Frontier||Ind.||Dubois County 7, WASHINGTON 2|
|1462||Sun 3-Jul-2016||Frontier||Ind.||WASHINGTON 4, Florence 1|