Memorial Field – New Hampshire Wild
Photos by Paul Baker, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 1.57
Memorial Field 100 Fruit St Concord, NH 03301
Year Opened: 1936 Capacity: 2,000
Where the Wild Things Aren’t
In 1997 the Watertown Indians of the New York-Penn League were looking for a new home and scouted out several facilities throughout the northeast. One of the cities they looked at was Concord, New Hampshire, the Granite State’s capital. The Indians played a three-game series at Warren H. Doane Diamond at Memorial Field, which turned into five games when a couple of makeup games were added. The series was well-enough attended that it led to a renovation of the stadium.
While no pro team came calling (the Indians franchise was transferred to Staten Island in 1999), the Concord Quarry Dogs of the New England Collegiate baseball league did call the field home from 2001-2007. The team led the league in attendance their inaugural year and the Dogs made the postseason in both 2002 and 2003, but attendance took a sharp nosedive in 2004 with the arrival of the Double-A New Hampshire FisherCats 20 miles down the road. The club would relocate to Holyoke, Massachusetts.
The New Hampshire Wild are one of the founding members of the Empire Professional Baseball League, an independent league that began play in 2016. It is a low-budget league meant to give players recently graduated from college or with little professional experience an opportunity at staying in shape and providing them the chance at being signed to higher level league contracts.
The field was built in 1936 and was mainly used as a high school and amateur baseball field. It is named after former Concord High School and amateur baseball coach, Warren Doane. When the Wild are not occupying the facility, Concord High School and the Concord American Legion baseball team can be found on its diamond.
The Wild played its first season at Arthur and Martha Pappas Field on the campus of Franklin Pierce University in Rindge, before sitting out the 2017 campaign in search of a new home. Memorial Field has a seating capacity of 2,000 and finally, after over two decades, pro baseball of some sort finally arrived at the stadium.
Food & Beverage 0
There is no food or drink available at Memorial Field. There are two soda machines by the building that houses the restrooms and maintenance shed, but they do not work.
Luckily, fans are welcome to bring in their own food and beverages to enjoy during the game.
When the crowd at a ballgame numbers around a dozen, there’s not a whole lot of noise that they can generate. On the plus side, when the crowd is this small, fans in attendance are able to hear the chatter in the infield, coaches barking instruction to their players and all the noises that go along with a baseball game.
The Wild gameday staff does what they can to create a typical minor league ballpark experience. Players stride to the plate with individualized songs, and music is played between innings. In a humorous twist, the versions played at Memorial Field are often covers of popular songs. For example, “Nothin’ But A Good Time” is not played by Poison, “Rock and Roll All Night” is not played by Kiss, and in the ultimate travesty, “Centerfield” is not played by John Fogerty. Since we are firmly in Red Sox Country, “Sweet Caroline” by Neil Diamond makes the cut.
Memorial Field is located on the south side of Concord, New Hampshire just off Interstate 93 near Concord High School and New Hampshire Hospital. Downtown Concord is a couple of miles away, and most of the capital city’s attractions can be found here.
New Hampshire is a popular summer destination for New England residents, and the White Mountain tourist attractions are located about a half hour to an hour’s drive north of Concord. New Hampshire’s largest city, Manchester, is located twenty minutes south of Memorial Field.
The Empire League does not release attendance figures, and with good reason. The Wild average between 10-20 fans per game at Memorial Field. You read that right, and I did not leave off a zero.
Those fans who do attend Wild games are obviously passionate about the team and are into the action on the field. This is not a place where fans will get loud and rowdy, as it would just attract a lot of unwanted attention from everyone in the ballpark.
Memorial Field is part of a larger 36-acre community park in southern Concord. Also located here is a football stadium, tennis courts, basketball courts, and soccer fields. There is ample parking at the facility, but the ballpark is set back a ways from the lot, necessitating a short walk across a field to arrive.
Memorial Field is a simple park, consisting of metal bleachers without backs that stretch around the field from third to first base. There are breaks in the stands behind the two dugouts. All seats offer good views of the field, and with the tiny crowds present, fans can sit wherever they want.
Lining the outfield are a row of pine trees, which seems to be a common feature in many New Hampshire ballparks. There are restrooms a short walk from the ballpark in the maintenance building.
Return on Investment 3
Admission to a Wild game will cost you five dollars. Parking is free of charge in the lot a short ways from the ballpark. Attending a Wild game will certainly not break the bank.
The gameday presentation at a New Hampshire Wild game is about as bare-bones as it gets. There is nothing here that can be considered extra.
The Empire League bills itself as a league for those players who aren’t ready to give up on their professional dreams and some players have indeed parlayed their stints in the circuit into contracts with higher-level pro leagues. The presentation is decidedly bare-bones, with little promotion or fanfare. While there is nothing particularly wrong with Memorial Field, A trip to see the Wild would be a worthwhile one only for the most dedicated of ballpark chasers.