Take Me Out to the Ball Game is a Cubs DNA series where our staff review other ball parks . Today, Caleb looks at Appalachian Power Park in Charleston, West Virginia: Home of the West Virginia Power (Former Single-A affiliate of the Seattle Mariners).
I'd like to start this week off by expressing my appreciation of Cubs DNA for allowing me to be a part of this amazing group of fans. I'm fairly new to blogging in general, but I appreciate how cathartic writing can be especially in the midst of a global pandemic. What's more, a majority (not all) of our pieces are usually focused on the Chicago Cubs or something/someone tied to the Cubs organization in some way. Take Me Out to the Ballgame has allowed me to take you to and talk about ballparks that are personal to me and experiences that I've had at these ballparks; experiences that not every Cubs fan will have the opportunity to see. It's unlikely that a large amount of Cubs fans have made their way to Pelicans Park, PNC Park, or Great American Ballpark (Spoiler Alert for next week?). I am confident that even fewer have made their way to Charleston, West Virginia to see the West Virginia Power at Appalachian Power Park, the subject of this week's Take Me Out to the Ballgame.
Appalachian Power Park is the home of the former Single-A affiliate of the Seattle Mariners, the West Virginia Power. Power Park opened in 2005 and has been home to the Power ever since. Unfortunately, due to the MLB scale back of MiLB affiliated organizations, the Power are left without affiliation and a future that remains uncertain. This is difficult for baseball fans in West Virginia, like myself, who have limited access to professional baseball in our region and have enjoyed seeing the game in our own backyard. I live in Huntington, West Virginia which is a 40 minute drive to Charleston. Power Park is a venue that local churches, schools, and baseball teams from tee-ball to High School go to see professional baseball up close. In fact, in 2012 my bachelor party was held at Appalachian Power Park and for years Marshall University had to play conference games there because of strict C-USA standards. It, more than maybe any other ballpark, feels like home to me.
Appalachian Power Park is a venue that is becoming more infrequent in its accessibility for fans of all ages and income levels. You won't break the bank by taking the entire family to see a ball game. You can take a family of five to see a ball game for as low as $30 (total). Spend only $2 more per ticket and you'll likely snag seats behind home plate, behind the dugout, or where ever you prefer to sit. You'll also get a glimpse of the Power's very own "Director of Fun", Rod "Toastman" Blackstone. The Toastman is a Power staple and one you'll quickly be entertained by. Named for the toast that he literally toasts at his seat in section 107 (the Power even installed a power outlet at his seat so he can plug in his toaster), the Toastman will throw freshly toasted...toast into the crowd while leading the crowd in unique chants. He's also well known for his odd and unique heckling where he highlights facts from the program and leads chants such as "used to be fatter" if a player has lost weight or "shorter than I am" if that player is, in fact, shorter than the Toastman. MiLB.com ran a feature on the Toastman in 2014 which is worth the read!
Rod "Toastman" Blackstone tossing toast into the crowd after a Power Strikeout
There are fewer and fewer places today to watch professional baseball with the whole family at an affordable price and get a great show while you're at it. We, at Cubs DNA, are very pro-MiLB and see the value in venues and teams like this in growing the game of baseball. I would encourage you to find a handful of teams and support them. Right now MiLB is best supported through merchandise sales as the future of the 2021 season remains up in the air. You can find some pretty awesome gear at the Power team store here. MiLB remains an important part of the equation for growing the game of baseball in communities around the United States. Enjoy the game and support the organizations that make it easy to do so!