Big Rock Stadium
Morehead City, NC
Review by Gary
If you are in the Raleigh-Durham area of North Carolina and visiting nearby Morehead City beach for a week or so, you may run into your neighbor at a Morehead City Marlins game. Built in 2010, the Coastal Plain League’s Marlins play at Big Rock Stadium, which holds 1,800 fans.
Morehead City is found on the Atlantic coast halfway between Kitty Hawk, NC and Wilmington, NC. Big Rock Stadium’s name is a nod to the famous Big Rock Blue Marlin fishing tournament, which is Morehead City's greatest claim to fame and one of the biggest and most profitable marlin fishing tournaments on the East Coast.
When we arrived to meet with Ross, the Marlins’ GM, his energetic crew was setting up their new refreshment stand down the first base line in time for the game that evening. All of the fans enter through the right field gate and can immediately stop at this stand, the Fish Tacos Beer Garden, which includes picnic benches from which to watch the game.
Ross graciously took us around the ballpark, telling us about the team’s success (Petitt Cup championship titles in 2018 & 2019 and a runner up in 2021) and the additions made to Big Rock Stadium. Along the third base line are six-person “corporate suites”, which were sold out by the start of the season. These sequestered accommodations put the fans right near the action against the screen.
A modest press box overlooks the field with metal bleachers right in front of it and an additional section in the same style on either side. Field-level dugouts and bullpens for each team lie traditionally on each base line. A pleasant backdrop of pine trees stretches beyond the outfield fence.
The stadium was built with generous donations and vision from the Town of Morehead City, The Big Rock, and Mr. V.J ‘Puck’ O’Neal, for whom the field is named. Ross was proud to report that the Marlins had enjoyed their best attendance in 2021, filling an average of 1,150 seats for each game. Many thanks to Ross for allowing us to take in his team’s ballpark.