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  • Writer's pictureGregory Koch

Union Home Mortgage Park – Waynesboro Generals


Photos by Gregory Koch, Stadium Journey


Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.14

Union Home Mortgage Park 1625 Ivy St. Waynesboro, VA 22980


Year Opened: Unknown

Capacity: 350

 

Generals In Waynesboro

Founded in 1923, the Valley Baseball League contains 11 teams playing up and down Virginia’s scenic Shenandoah Valley. One team, the Waynesboro Generals, was founded in 1950 and plays their home games at Union Home Mortgage Park, formerly known as Kate Collins Field. The stadium is located on the grounds of Kate Collins Middle School and is home to the local high school baseball team during the spring. During the summer, when school is not in session, the Generals call it home. Waynesboro has been home to several players who would go on to play in the majors, including Mike Lowell and Brandon Inge.

Food & Beverage 3

There is one concession stand located behind home plate. Although the menu is pretty basic, the prices are extremely affordable. Barbecue sandwiches are only $3 (an extra 50 cents for slaw) while hot dogs are only $2 (an extra 50 cents for chili or slaw). Fries cost just $2, popcorn just $1.50, and drinks (soda, Water and Gatorade), chips, and candy are just $1. Blow pops are two for $1, although you can’t just get one for 50 cents, you have to get two. Bubble gum is four for a dollar, though again, you have to buy four, you can’t get one for a quarter. Keep in mind the concession stand closes at 9 PM for games which start at 7, so plan accordingly. For Sunday doubleheaders which start earlier, the closing time may vary.

There is a “combo deal” available for $7 where fans can get their choice of barbecue or two hot dogs, fries or chips, and a drink, but if you do the math, it costs the same or less to buy these items individually, so this is a waste of money.

Atmosphere 3

Union Home Mortgage Park is a pretty basic stadium, with some bleachers on either side of home plate and a scoreboard in left-centerfield showing the linescore and other basic information. Many fans like to bring their own chairs and either set up directly behind home plate, further down the lines between the bleachers and the dugouts, or on the large hill down the first base line. Many kids will also hang out on that hill playing catch with their friends while their parents watch the game. As in most of the Valley League, fans are not permitted to keep foul balls but can return them to the concession stand for a free freezie pop. However, this rule seemed to be ignored by many kids, who happily picked up and kept foul balls hit onto the hill.

Neighborhood 3

As is typical of the Valley League, Waynesboro is a small city nestled in the Shenandoah Valley. Downtown Waynesboro is just a short drive away from the field down Ivy Street. Take that to Main Street and you will find many options, ranging from chain restaurants to local eateries like the Green Leaf Grill and cuisines ranging from Japanese to Mexican to Salvadoran. Seven Arrows Brewing company is nearby as well. Waynesboro doesn’t have all the glitz and glamor of large cities, but like elsewhere in the Valley, it does have that small town charm.

Fans 5

Generals fans pack the bleachers night in and night out to watch their team. Whether they sit in the bleachers or in their own chairs throughout the ballpark, they show up in good numbers to watch their team. Many of them go to most or every home game here. As is typical of the Valley League, the crowd represents a good cross-section of the Waynesboro community, ranging from young families with small kids to older people who have been following the team for a long time. Whatever brings them out here, they cheer on the players loudly and passionately and are not afraid to heckle the umpires when they feel they have made a bad call. Things don’t get too out of hand though, and certainly not profane. This is a family-friendly environment for all fans.

Access 2

If coming from the south, east, or west, Waynesboro is located directly along I-64, and the stadium is a couple miles off the highway. If coming from the north, you can theoretically take I-81 south to I-64 east, but you can save about five to ten minutes off your drive by exiting I-81 at Exit 225 and taking State Route 262 east. Route 262 actually ends just east of the interchange, and traffic continues straight onto State Route 254. This will take you right into town and you won’t need to turn again until you reach the stadium about ten miles ahead on your left.

Once you arrive, there is ample parking available in the school parking lot although the traffic patterns are quite confusing. Although it is not signed as such, you enter the lot at the top, and drive down on either side to park. Going out, you don’t drive back up, but drive all the way down to the back of the lot and exit through a path there. While technically there is no prohibition on driving the “wrong” way in the lot, and thus no signs advising against it, the lanes are not wide enough to accommodate two-way traffic so you will cause people a lot of problems if you do this.

There are restrooms located around the corner from the concession stand, and while they were of a sufficient size for the crowd, the men’s room was in terrible condition. The door to the stall was hanging off the hinge, exposing the user for others in the restroom to see. Additionally, as the toilet paper was hanging on a hook on the door, which was swung open and barely attached, it was impossible to reach the toilet paper without getting up off the toilet. We cannot speak for the quality of the ladies’ restroom but expect it to be similar.

Return on Investment 4

Tickets are $5 for adults, and $3 for seniors, children 8 and under, and military/veterans. Concessions are pretty affordable as well, as long as you don’t waste your money on the meal deal. However, you can pay the same amount elsewhere in the Valley League for a better experience, so this cannot earn the top score here.

Extras 2

There are free roster cards available by the concession stand.

A second and final star for all the unique vantage points to watch the game from.

Final Thoughts

Although Valley League venues in general are not known for their flashiness, and Waynesboro certainly is no fancy venue either, most stadiums in the league manage to put on a great atmosphere and make up for their lack of flash with lots of charm. Unfortunately, the experience here in Waynesboro will seem like a major disappointment if you’ve been to other Valley League venues.

The Generals have a great and loyal fan base and could be doing so much more here than they are. Fans who are passing through Waynesboro will certainly want to pay Union Home Mortgage Park a visit, and it is a decent enough stadium if you are able to pay it a visit, but if you have limited time in the Valley, you may want to check out other teams in the VBL instead.

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