Hunter Wright Stadium
Review by Gary
Prior to the minor league reorganization of 2021, Hunter Wright Stadium hosted the Kingsport Mets, the Appalachian League affiliate of the New York Mets, from its opening in 1995 until 2020. The stadium is named for Kingsport’s five term mayor and is located near the Tennessee/Virginia border. Today, the Appalachian League is a collegiate summer league, and the Kingsport Axmen call Hunter Wright home. The nickname is in reference to frontiersman Daniel Boone, who began the “Wilderness Road” in Kingsport. The Mets previously played at venerable J. Fred Johnson Stadium just five miles across town.
The ballpark has a low-profile design that could easily be mistaken for a medical facility. The playing surface is at ground level with white, blocky clubhouses and offices backing up to the raised seating structures overlooking the diamond. Vintage 1980s blue bucket seats, designed for the slimmest of spectators, make up the reserved seating behind home plate and the first few rows down the lines.
Normal-sized fans can spread out on the plentiful aluminum grandstands that make up the remainder of 2,500 seats. The steep pitch of the grandstand provides probably one of the best sightlines and views of the action in the League. Unfortunately, none of these great seats are covered, so attending games on hot weather days may be a bit uncomfortable.
The most basic of scoreboards, sans anything like a video board, advertising space nor even a clock, is the only feature that rises above the outfield fence. Trees line the outfield view in the foreground while the Smoky mountains can be seen in the distance.
My favorite feature is the Hall of Fame display at the main entry that shows the dozens of Kingsport ballplayers who have made it the big leagues over the years. Notable NY Mets like Jacob deGrom, David Wright, and Brandon Nimmo have graced Hunter Wright’s friendly confines before heading north on the way to The Show.