The prodigal son comes home. I grew up in West Virginia, so I was naturally excited about catching the West Virginia Power at their relatively new ballpark in the capital city of Charleston. When I was a kid, they were known as the Charleston Charlies, but it wan't until the 1990s, when they were called the Alley Cats, that I took in a game at old Watt Powell Park. It was a fun experience. But not for my date; she got hit by a foul ball....hard.
Now, in the twenty first century, I FINALLY stepped into Appalachian Power Park. It is a no-frills affair, with nothing really awesome to note. They did do a great job of placing the ballpark. It is downtown and incorporates one of the old warehouses it replaced as part of the stadium. Fans can also see the gold dome of the state capital building over the right field wall. It's one of those parks that doesn't have a huge draw to it, but is on most fans' must visit list.
I attended a noon game that was the first game of a double header to make up for a rain out the night before. It was overcast, misty and cold. But the action on the field was superb. After dealing with what is undoubtedly the most uninformed and glum fan assistance staff, I finally was able to track down the specialty dog offered at Appalachian Power Park. It is the Cuban Dog. Hint for the information booth: it's served at the concession stand right next to you.
Is uses a frank that no one could tell me the brand of, has ham, cheese, brown mustard and sweet pickles. It was mighty tasty and is highly recommended. The prices was fair as well. Had it been warmer, and I didn't need to do jumping jacks to keep from freezing, I would have had two.
Entry price into the ballpark is slightly above most at that level, but not prohibitively expensive. Parking for me was easy; there were about 100 fans at the first game as it was an early Sunday start on a dreary day. But at a regular game, I suspect it can be a bit of a bear to find a spot. I also got to see the “Toast Man.” If you are a fan of minor league baseball, you have to google him. I saw him in action at Watt Powell decades ago, and he is still at it; serving up toast when opposing players strike out.
Lastly, while the girl that accompanied me last time was hit by a ball, I got to leave with one. Balls are regularly fouled behind home plate where it is a short flight to land in the street. Prior to me grabbing it, that baseball found a beautiful black SUV to thump before it rolled down the street. Tip: always park away from the diamond. Extra tip: if you go to a game with me, keep a sharp eye out for balls; my track record for avoiding them ain't so great.