Forges Field – Plymouth Pilgrims
Photos by Paul Baker, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 2.43
83 Jordan Rd
Plymouth, MA 02360
Year Opened: 1972
The Plymouth Pilgrims, the newest members of the New England Collegiate Baseball League, play their home games at Forges Field, a town-owned complex containing 5 baseball fields, 2 softball fields, 3 soccer fields, a football field, and a golf course. The land that Forges Field is located on was once owned by the Jordan family, founders of Jordan Marsh department stores. The Pilgrims were founded in 2013 by former Newport Gulls owner Dave Dittmann.
Food & Beverage 2
If you aren’t careful, you may miss most of the concessions available at Forges Field. Located near the entrance to Forges Field are two small tables selling Domino’s Pizzas and assorted snacks and drinks. But with a little searching, bigger and better things can be had. There is a concessions stand at Forges Field located a short walk from the baseball field, down by the football field. This stand is open for all Pilgrims games. Available here is a greater variety of food, including all your ballpark staples, including hot dogs, hamburgers, nachos, and assorted snacks. Coca-Cola products are sold here. For those looking to save a few dollars, combo meals are offered. Veteran fans simply bring their own items into Forges Field, saving themselves a few dollars in the process. Either way, you aren’t going to spend a ton of money on concessions at a Pilgrims game.
This is the area in which the Pilgrims shine brightest. Despite the small size of the ballpark, the staff here try to put on a show worthy of any minor league team. Gobbles the turkey roams the park, interacting with the fans and leading a trail of kids wherever he goes. There are between inning contests for the kids and a PA announcer orchestrating the whole affair. He may seem to be trying a bit too hard to be clever, but he helps to create an atmosphere that is pretty unique in the laid-back New England Collegiate Baseball League.
Another area in which the Pilgrims excel is their connection with the community. The Pilgrims have a long list of sponsors who tie in with the promotional schedule and sponsor individual games. Depending on when you visit Forges Field, you may be on the receiving end of some unique and fabulous items. Promotions for 2014 include free cranberries, chocolate, hats, ice cream, golf balls, and even lobster rolls. Discounted concessions are available on selected nights, as are free movies and popcorn after some games. The atmosphere at Forges Field is one of the livelier in the NECBL.
I’ll be perfectly honest with you here. If you are visiting Forges Field, you aren’t interested in staying anywhere near there before or after the game. There just isn’t anything in the area. You are going downtown where the action is. Now, in a small town like Plymouth, “action” is a relative term, but there are many attractions in the area, especially for history buffs.
Forges Field is located on the edge of the Myles Standish State Forest, the largest publicly owned recreation area in southeastern Massachusetts. Spread out over 26 square miles, the forest is filled with campgrounds, bike paths, and nature trails. It does not, however, have restaurants or hotels. For those, head to the historic center of Plymouth, where you will find plenty of museums, places to eat, hotels, and historic places of interest.
Plymouth ranks in the middle of the pack in terms of attendance in the NECBL, averaging between 400-500 fans per game. The people who come to Pilgrim games are similar to what you will find in most of the summer collegiate games in the area. They are passionate about their team, and many have a connection with the team through volunteer efforts, hosting players, or sponsorships. There is a strong family presence, as you would expect with a summer league team. There is a lot of open space for kids to roam here at Forges Field, with several sports fields adjacent to the main ball field. There is also a playground located behind the field filled with youngsters and relieved parents. Many of the kids present spend their time chasing foul balls through the woods that surround the field.
You are not going to stumble across Forges Field accidentally. Despite being relatively close to Route 3, there are no exits close to the ballpark. Fans travelling to see the Pilgrims play will have to wind their way through several miles of winding rural roads to get to the sprawling recreational complex. There is plenty of parking near Forges Field, and the area around the field is landscaped beautifully with paved paths to access all areas of the ballpark.
The field itself is not built up, and is pretty much what you would expect from a community ball field. There is no press box here, and the Pilgrims set up several portable folding tables from which they sell concessions, souvenirs, and tickets. The team and town have teamed up to make many improvements for fans since the Pilgrims landed here. Several new wooden bleachers have sprung up around the infield, giant new dugouts have been built (unfortunately, these dugouts block some prime viewing spots), and new netting has been installed along both baselines down past the infield. For fans wishing to bring their own lawn chairs, there is room to spread out along the outfield lines, past the grandstands and picnic tables.
Rest rooms are available in the same building as the concessions are located, a short walk from the baseball field.
Return on Investment 4
Admission to a Pilgrims game is very affordable at $2, and parking is free in the lots adjacent to the field. Concessions are affordable as well, making a night out at Forges Field a very affordable alternative to other options in the area. Veteran fans will bring their own coolers with refreshments to further decrease the cost of attending a Pilgrims game.
Despite the abundance of activity going on at a Pilgrims game, it’s a very laid-back atmosphere at Forges Field. Extra points are earned for the plethora of giveaways throughout the season. The NECBL and other college leagues in the area present their games in an “old-school” manner, keeping the focus on the game instead of the extraneous activity found at so many minor league parks today.
While the facility at Forges Field is little more than a glorified community diamond, the Plymouth Pilgrims staff work hard to make the game day experience an enjoyable one for the fans. The Pilgrims come closer to providing a minor league atmosphere than most summer college teams, but they still straddle the line between that carnival-like atmosphere and old-school baseball successfully. The facility may be one that attracts only the locals and the most dedicated of ballpark chasers, but any fan will enjoy their time at Forges Field.