Tagged: Ballfields of PA

Ballfields of PA: Dravosburg Ballfield

It’s been quite awhile since I blogged about any baseball fields in my area, but as I am blogging daily leading up to Opening Day, I figured I would continue this series sporadically.  I visited the ballfield in Dravosburg PA back in mid November, and am just getting around to blogging about it now.

When I first looked at the field on google maps, it looked like a good poke could land a ball in the Monongahela River.

However, you’d have to hit one over 400 feet in the air to do that.

The field features a scenic view of the Mansfield Bridge, which connects Dravosburg to McKeesport & Glassport.

Upon entering the field, I noticed a HUGE problem.  Do you see it?

Yeah, huge power lines running right over short stop.

Every hit I had passed through those lines, with a ball hitting a power line once.

Here’s a view of the backstop from the pitcher’s mound:

And here’s big problem #2:

Yes, that’s a waste treatment plant just a few dozen feet from fair territory.  How many foul balls do you think land in there?  A lot I’m guessing.  In fact, I played here once in 2009 with a friend and lost two balls that I fouled off into the sewage vats.

Anyhow, here’s the view looking in from deep left field:

And looked toward center field:

The dimensions of the field were about 300x330x300 from left to right, so it’s not like it should’ve been that challenging to hit a home run.

I took some big hacks

But all of my hits came up just short.  (can you see the ball in the picture below?)

I’m blaming it on the chilly weather, and a brisk wind blowing in from right field.  Also,  the fact that I got a haircut the previous day after 9 months could have mentally sapped my power.  Who knows.

In short, the only good thing about this field is the dimensions.  I would not recommend ever playing here.

Condition:  D
Dimensions: A
Location/Surrounding Area:  D (due to power lines and sewage plant)
Parking/Access: A

Other fields I’ve blogged about
Riverfront Park, Boston
Wylie Park, Elizabeth
Peterswood Park, Peters Township
Washington Park, Washington PA
Thomas Jefferson High School Field, Jefferson Hills PA
Clairton Resident Park, Clairton PA
West Field (Homestead Grays), Munhall PA
South Fayette
South Allegheny

68 days until Opening Day…


Ballfields of PA: South Allegheny

Take a look at the weird dimensions to this field:

Left Center field is the deepest field of all, and center field are about the exact same distance, 330 feet, making left center about 400 or so.  That’s no good for someone who hits exclusively to left center.   Also, all of those trees you see in the aerial are in a huge ravine, so make sure you don’t hit any foul balls here.

Here’s the view from right field:

And the ravine along the first base line:

A look at the dingy dugout:

And the backstop:

Left field, which you’ll notice gets real deep in a hurry headed out to left center:

And a view from the left field foul pole.

Donning my new Rickie Weeks shirt that I bought for $5, I took some swings.

I didn’t hit like Weeks though.

I hit one off of the fence, but no home runs today.

I wasn’t a fan of this field.  From the ravines on both foul lines, to the deep power alleys, to the weird layout, I just don’t see myself ever returning to play here.  One interesting note is that this school and this field groomed a major leaguer.  Maybe you’ve heard of him.

That’s right, Scott Seabol!  Seabol had one at bat in 2001 with the Yankees.  He then disappeared for awhile, before emerging in 2005 with the Cardinals where he hit .219 with 1 HR and 10 RBI in 105 at bats.  He played in the minor leagues until 2007, and then finished up his career in Japan, retiring after the 2009 season.  Although he didn’t stick in the minor leagues, he did hit 32 HR and hit .300 in 2007 with the Marlins’ AAA affiliate.

Condition:  C-
Dimensions: D
Location/Surrounding Area:  C (hate the ravine)
Parking/Access: A

In other news, this entry will be the last time you see my long hair.  Its gone.  I originally said I’d cut it when I reached 215 lbs, but that’s not happening, so I allowed myself to cut it when I was able to bench press 275 lbs.  Did that.  Hair cut.

Did some research going through pictures.  Last hair cut was in mid-march, here’s a pic that Amy took at Twin Lakes when we were Geocaching.
I let it grow for 8 full months, so the way I look at it, I saved myself about 4 haircuts, or $60, which… is a trip to Cleveland.

Check out my blog this week for updates from The Pirates Caravan, PNC Park season ticket holder indoor batting practice, Piratefest, me taking BP vs a professional pitcher, me buying season tickets to another team other than the Pirates, etc, etc.

Other fields I’ve blogged about
Riverfront Park, Boston
Wylie Park, Elizabeth
Peterswood Park, Peters Township
Washington Park, Washington PA
Thomas Jefferson High School Field, Jefferson Hills PA
Clairton Resident Park, Clairton PA
West Field (Homestead Grays), Munhall PA
South Fayette

Ballfields of PA : South Fayette

I’m a bit behind on my Ballfields of PA series, but last month I visited South Fayette HS, in hopes of checking out their baseball field.

It looked nice from above:
But my plans were foiled because

it’s not open to the public.  Rather than hopping the fence and risk getting into trouble, I settled on taking a few pictures from the parking lot.

Here’s the dugout:

And a view of a semi-short left field:

Center field:

The home plate area:

Looking in from behind the plate, through the fence:

This is a really nice field, unfortunately it likely doesn’t get much usage.


Links to other fields that I’ve hit at and reviewed for the Ballparks of PA Series:
Riverfront Park, Boston
Wylie Park, Elizabeth
Peterswood Park, Peters Township
Washington Park, Washington PA
Thomas Jefferson High School Field, Jefferson Hills PA
Clairton Resident Park, Clairton PA
West Field (Homestead Grays), Munhall PA

Other fields to look forward to:  South Allegheny, Dravosburg Field, McKeesport Renzie Park

Ballfields of PA: Clairton Resident Park

Clairton PA is one of the most economically distressed areas in western Pennsylvania.  Once a thriving steel town, the only thing this town has to boast is its high school football team which usually goes undefeated every year.  Their baseball team?  They usually lose every game, and last year they were 0-14.  Their school district is failing, as the only district to perform worse on the state standardized tests last year was Duquesne (which the state is closing next year).  The median house value is $49,000 -well below the average for the state which is $164,000.  There’s not much to like about Clairton right now – but I did find a nice baseball field there.

Before going to a new field for the first time, I always use google maps to check out its location and see if its a good sized field.  This field looked like a gem on the map – complete with infield grass:

This was the view when we pulled up to the ballfield:

Obviously the field’s best days were in the past, as there were signs of wear everywhere.

However, this field if cleaned up, could be very nice again.  And when I started hitting, it didn’t seem all that bad.  Check out the view from behind home plate:

And a panorama:

Its located in Clairton Resident Park, a place that should’ve been rather populated on such a nice fall day.

However, there wasn’t a soul in the whole park except for Amy, Olivia, and I.

It was rather creepy.  There was complete and utter silence.  I didn’t hear any birds or any wild life either.  It got creepier later.

But as for the field, I was surprised to see exactly how big this field was.  The left field foul pole is 342 feet from home plate!

Center Field is 400 feet:

And right field is 339′.

For perspective, PNC Park is 325′ to left and 399 to dead center.

After shaking my head wondering if I would be able to power one out of here without the power source of a pitched ball, I snapped a picture from behind second base:

And from left field:

I then dumped out 20 baseballs, stretched, and began to hit.

I tried to put everything I had into every swing, but ball after ball kept rolling to or one bouncing the left field fence.

Amy took a bunch of great pictures again, as she always does.

And Olivia just stares at me while I hit.  Its pretty funny.

Near the end of the round I got every last ounce of a ball and sent it deep towards the weeds.

I was sure that it was gone.  Until it hit the very top of the wall and stayed in.  Talk about frustrating.

In the meantime, a creepy truck pulled up, a guy got out, looked at us, and started walking down the left field line towards the foul pole.  I stopped hitting until he was out of range because I didn’t want to accidently pull one and hit him.  He disappeared into the weeds beyond the left field fence, a la the movie Field of Dreams.

He reemerged about five minutes later, the bucket he had been carrying gone.   He walked back along the foul line, hopped in his truck and left.   When I went out to pick up the balls at the left field fence, I saw this.

I guess we weren’t the only people in the park all that time after all.

After hitting, we stopped off at the mall, where I bought a bright orange Cal Ripken jersey shirt for $4.99 along with a Rickie Weeks jersey shirt for the same price.

Condition:  C
Dimensions: C (too big!)
Location/Surrounding Area:  D- (in a bad area)
Parking/Access: B+

I probably won’t ever return to this field, there’s much nicer alternatives.  However, if this field was in a better area, and the left field fence wasn’t so deep, I’d be back in a heartbeat.

Links to other fields that I’ve hit at and reviewed for the Ballparks of PA Series:
Riverfront Park, Boston
Wylie Park, Elizabeth
Peterswood Park, Peters Township
Washington Park, Washington PA
Thomas Jefferson High School Field, Jefferson Hills PA

Ballfields of PA: Thomas Jefferson

Amy and Olivia joined me recently for another trip to a local baseball field.  This time, we visited Thomas Jefferson’s baseball field in Jefferson Hills PA.  The field is hidden, off of a small road behind Jefferson elementary school.

I was concerned at first that it could be locked up and unavailable for public use.

Luckily, it’s open to the public.  The parking lot is up on a small hill overlooking the field.  Here’s the view from our car:

It looked pretty well maintained, despite baseball being out of season for awhile now.  Here’s a few shots from around the field.

Let’s begin with the view from home plate:

The field was built so that the batter has to look directly into the sun.  We were there about an hour before sunset, and it was really bothersome – and I was just throwing the ball up and hitting it.  I suppose it wouldn’t matter if you were playing here in the early afternoon when the sun is higher in the sky, but closer to dusk – bring sunglasses.

I was a fan of the dimensions of this park.  It was 310 feet down the left field line, with about a ten foot high fence the whole way around.

Left center field was 350′ and center field was 365.’  Right field was also 310.  A shot from the left field foul pole looking towards center:

And looking in towards home plate:

The field reminded me of a field that I had played on several times in the past two years with the Pelescak brothers – a softball field located behind a church in South Fayette.  The dimensions, the parking lot up on a hill, the trees behind the fences.  It felt similar.  One difference is that there is a small football practice field behind left field here, so if a home run is hit to left, you’ll be able to retrieve it easily.

After taking a few pictures of the field, I handed the camera off to Amy and Olivia and emptied out a bag of 20 baseballs.  I just tossed them up and hit them, as Amy prefers to hold Olivia rather than putting her in a stroller or carrier.

My swing was badly off today.  I kept hitting line drive after line drive and couldn’t get the ball elevated often.

I had been to the gym the previous day, so my arms still felt like jelly.

Speaking of the gym, never ever take GNC amp amplified wheybolic extreme 60 in Fruit Punch flavor.  It is the most disgusting tasting, foul drink you can imagine.  The after-taste is dreadful.  Chocolate is the only way to go.  I’ve been waiting for the past month to get rid of that crap.   Back to the field…

Amy took great photos as usual.

But I let her down by failing to hit any home runs.

I thought my last swing of the day produced a home run – it was just a question of fair or foul.

It stayed fair, but clanged off the fence.  Oh well.

Condition:  A-
Dimensions: A
Location/Surrounding Area:  B+ (for sun and some weeds along the third base line)
Parking/Access: A

Maybe being a TJ resident has something to do with it, but I liked it here.

I’m a bit behind on blogging.  I’ll have entries up soon from three fields I recently visited:  Clairton, West Field (Homestead Grays Field) and South Fayette.

Links to other fields that I’ve hit at and reviewed for the Ballparks of PA Series:
Riverfront Park, Boston
Wylie Park, Elizabeth
Peterswood Park, Peters Township
Washington Park, Washington PA

Ballfields of PA: Peterswood Park, Peters Twp.

Amy, Olivia and I were making our way out to Simmons Farm in McMurray PA, when we drove past a baseball field.  Amy said, “There’s a nice baseball field right there.  I used to be in the park all the time when I was a kid.”  So, we had to turn around.

It is located just off of Bebout road in Peters Township.  Here’s a view from above courtesy of google maps:

As you can see, the field is rather large, with a smaller little league field behind the right field wall.  There’s also woods along the first base line, and a hill along the third baseline, so it’s location isn’t ideal because many foul balls will get lost here.

This is the view once we parked.

The fence was maybe 8 feet high, with a yellow ‘line’ on top to help distinguish home run balls.  Nice touch.

Walking in, it the field was clearly well maintained, even in the middle of October.

A view from left towards center:

And from just past third base:

From home plate:

And a panorama:

Everything was kept in tidy, well maintained shape, even the dugouts looked good.

What else would you expect from Peters Twp though?  The average median house value is $334,000 there according to city-data.com

As for the dimensions of the field, left field is somewhat challenging at 315 feet, complete with a nice high foul pole:

Center field is 360:

And right field is only 300, but has about a 16 foot high wall to offset its’ shallowness.

It was time to try out the field.  I had about 15 baseballs with me and got to work.  After hitting a shallow pop up to left field on my first swing, my next send a ball off of the top of the wall on the fly.

Amy got some great shots of my hits, despite juggling a camera and Olivia.  Check it out:

Here’s another great shot.  See the ball?

When all was said and done, I had hit two completely over the fence on the fly, and two off the fence in the air.  A half dozen fell in front of the fence short, but that’s to be expected, as I didn’t have a pitcher to throw to me, thereby supplying more power.

Here I am picking up the second of the two homers I hit:

After that, we got into the car and headed to Simmons Farm.  Altogether, we were at the field maybe 15-20 minutes.

Condition:  A+
Dimensions: A+
Location/Surrounding Area: C
Parking/Access: A+

I love the dimensions of the outfield here.  If I ever built a park, I would probably make it 315 feet to left as well.  It’s challenging to hit a home run, but not impossible.  The tarp in center field as a batter’s eye is a nice touch. The only drawback of this field is it’s poorly situated near woods, so you had better bring lots of baseballs if you’re going to take batting practice here, because you’re likely to lose a few.


Anyway, Olivia was ready to get going.  Here’s her giving me the, “Let’s get going” look.

And finally a couple pictures from Simmons Farm:

Here we are after making it out of a 5 acre corn maze.

Headed across a pumpkin patch:

Walking towards a bon-fire:

Warming our feet by the fire:

Look for my next baseball field visit soon.

Links to other fields that I’ve hit at and reviewed for the Ballparks of PA Series:
Riverfront Park, Boston
Wylie Park, Elizabeth