Review by Gary
Located deep in the mountains of West Virginia, off Interstate 64, is GoMart Ballpark, home to the Charleston Dirty Birds of the independent Atlantic League. The exterior appearance is varied, with the main feature being an existing office building that was incorporated into the stadium. Passersby without tickets can watch the game from outside the park, separated only by the black metal fencing surrounding it.
There is no visible signage to indicate where the ticket booth is, so my first inclination was to head for the home plate entrance, but that was only for ticket holders. The guards at Checkpoint Charlie sent me instead to the right field corner where I found the ticket office on the ground floor of the aforementioned old building, and gained entry.
Fans in the right field bleachers or the far left field seats can take in the downtown Charleston skyline behind home plate. Views beyond the outfield are of older buildings still standing in a part of town that is in the midst of a revitalization that has been ongoing since the park was built in 2005. The seating bowl is about ten rows deep from third to first base ensuring that no fan is very far from the playing field.
With little available space behind home plate to erect a standard grandstand and upper-level suites, the architects placed them on the legacy buildings’ second story over the concession stands on the first-base concourse. This created landings at the top of the stairs at each end of the second floor of this building which provide great vantage points for checking out the stadium.
GoMart Ballpark has been home to the same ownership since 2005. The West Virginia Power “went out” as a victim of MLB’s assimilation of affiliated minor league baseball in 2021. Fortunately, the Power’s owners found new life in the Atlantic League, were recharged, and took flight as the Dirty Birds.
During the rain delay that would eventually lead to the game’s postponement, I enjoyed the half-price beer and hot dog promotion while checking out the Charleston Baseball Wall of Fame display located behind the home plate press box. The “Who’s On First” routine being played on the immense video board in left field was also cool. GoMart Ballpark seemed like a nice place to catch a ballgame, once I found the entrance.