John Moxie Memorial Stadium – Staunton Braves
Photos by Gregory Koch, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 4.14
John Moxie Memorial Stadium Circle Dr Staunton, VA 24401
Year Opened: 1900 Capacity: Unknown
Home of the Braves
The Valley Baseball League is a collegiate summer wood bat baseball league consisting of 11 teams up and down Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. One of these teams is the Staunton Braves, who play at John Moxie Memorial Stadium. Located within Gypsy Hill Park, baseball has been played on this site since at least 1900. The Staunton Braves were a charter member of the Valley League in 1923, and other than a few years when the league shut down due to World War II and COVID-19, they have played here ever since.
Food & Beverage 5
There is one concession stand located behind the press box which serves an extensive variety of food. Hot dogs, chili dogs, corn dogs, burgers, sausage, chicken tenders, and pizza are all available to eat. Snacks include gummy bears, assorted candy, sunflower seeds, hot pretzels, cracker jack, cookies, peanuts, chips, and pickles. Drinks include soda, water, and Red Bull. Unusual for a Valley League venue, beer is available in a beer garden down the left field line. Make sure to pick up a wristband first if you are going to drink alcohol. Other than beer, nothing is more than a few dollars, making the food a great value here.
If you buy a burger or ice cream, you will need to pick it up at another tent across the concourse. While this may not seem like the most efficient system, it actually keeps the line moving as people can move off while their food is being made and the people behind them can order. As a result, the concession lines typically do not get as long here as elsewhere in the Valley League, and they move faster.
A trip to a Staunton Braves game at John Moxie Stadium is like taking a step back in time. Baseball has been played on this spot since at least the start of the 20th century, and you can just sense the history in this place by walking in. The layout is nothing fancy – a few sets of bleachers and a very basic scoreboard in the outfield, but it dates back to a time when ballparks were simpler than today. The outfield fence is covered in advertising boards other than a bright blue batter’s eye in center field. In addition to the bleachers, fans often set up lawn chairs throughout the stadium, including in front of the bleachers and at the edge of the concourse above a hill.
Speaking of the concourse, it doubles as a service road for deliveries to the stadium and may be the only concourse in the country with speed bumps. If you arrive early enough, you may see the Domino’s Pizza car driving on it to drop off pizzas to the concession stand, but for the most part it is closed to traffic during the game. The concourse curves around a hill behind the press box, so it is located at the bottom of the stands on the first base side but at the top of the stands on the third base side. The sun sets in center field during the game, so it is right in the eyes of fans, as well as the catcher, batter, and home plate umpire, for the first inning or two before it goes behind the trees.
A couple Valley League traditions are worth noting here. Your game ticket doubles as your raffle ticket for a chance to win various prizes from sponsors throughout the game. Additionally, fans are not permitted to keep foul balls but can turn them into the concession stand for a free soda. The exact prize for turning in a ball may vary from game to game – when we visited, one fan mentioned that earlier in the week, fans received a soda and a hot dog for turning in the ball, and he was very disappointed that they were not giving away hot dogs that night.
The Braves do a great job of keeping fans engaged, with various between-innings contests and giveaways. When the team scores a run, they play the Tomahawk Chop and the crowd claps and chops along.
Like many Valley League towns, Staunton is a small city nestled in the scenic Shenandoah Valley. Downtown Staunton is just a short drive away from the stadium and includes several options such as Queen City Brewing, and restaurants ranging from classic southern eateries to taco restaurants and even a pupuseria. There are a couple of unique museums in Staunton, the Jumbo Antique Fire Engine Museum and the Camera Heritage Museum. If you are interested in the history of fire engines or photography, it will be well worth visiting. Although Staunton doesn’t have all the glitz and glamor of a major city or even a suburb, it does have that small town charm you see in most of the Valley League.
Staunton ranks near the top of the Valley League in attendance, and fans flock to John Moxie Memorial Stadium every night to watch the Braves play. As is typical of the Valley League, a significant portion of the town comes out to watch the games, everyone from young families with small children to older people who have been following the Braves for decades. The fans are active, especially when the Tomahawk Chop plays following a Braves run. Some of them have been known to heckle the players and umpires at times as well, but nothing too unfriendly and certainly not profane.
John Moxie Stadium is located a few miles off I-81, although you will have to do a bit of driving on local roads to get there. Some of the intersections near the ballpark can be quite confusing if it is your first time driving them, so allow extra time in case you get lost.
Once you get to the stadium, parking is available in a large lot down the first baseline next to the adjacent football stadium. From there, you will enter through the first base gate and walk up the concourse (literally “up” as it is on a hill) to the bleachers and your seat. Restrooms are available in a building down the first baseline between the baseball stadium and the adjacent football field. The women’s restroom is on the baseball side and the men’s restroom is on the football side. They are small but a sufficient size for the crowds.
Return on Investment 5
Free tickets are available to Braves games at local businesses who sponsor the game. Check the Braves website for specifics. If you are unable to make it during business hours, or don’t feel like spending money on gas and going on a scavenger hunt to get your ticket, they are available for just $5 at the gate, with discounts available for children and seniors. Concessions are affordable as well and parking is free, making a Braves game a great value for the whole family to go out to a ballgame.
There is a team store called the Wig Wam behind the press box.
Free roster sheets are available at the entrance and more extensive programs are available for just $4.
There are two comfy lounge chairs located behind home plate. Fans can sign up for a drawing before the game and a lucky winner and one of their guests will get to sit in the best seats in the stadium, if not the whole Valley League.
What John Moxie Memorial Stadium lacks in flashiness it makes up for in charm. Baseball has been played at this site for over a century, and the Braves will be celebrating their centennial season next year (2023). Although Moxie Stadium doesn’t have the amenities of modern stadiums, and it certainly would never be mistaken for one, it is a gorgeous, historic stadium to watch a game on a summer’s night at a great price.