Altoona, Pennsylvania is your typical blue-collar town that just so happens to house a baseball field. Peoples Natural Gas Field first came into existence in 1999. From that date until 2012 it was known as Blair County Ballpark. Starting in 2013 the 7,210 capacity stadium took its current name. Nestled right against the Allegheny Mountains, Peoples Natural Gas Field is a major cultural marker in the region.
Altoona Curve (1999-2019, Eastern League; 2021-present, Double-A Northeast)
July 9th, 2021
Akron RubberDucks 4 vs Altoona Curve 1
People’s Natural Gas Field is one of the more unique minor league ballparks I’ve been to. The amusement park behind the outfield gives a fun backdrop to the viewing experience of a baseball game. The roller coaster cars that spell out Go Curve on the sides add to the cheer of the crowd.
Another sort of unique feature is that you enter the stadium in the upper level rather than at the field level. That’s probably a somewhat common feature in mountainous regions, but it’s the first time I’d seen it. The stadium seemed relatively modern, with new-ish seating and wide walkways.
The team store was well stocked and they were clearing out some merchandise from a previous season, so Bill got himself a hat and I got a small plush of the mascot, Loco. We had food at the park. I got chicken tenders with fries, which were pretty good. Bill got his standard brat. I ended up getting a migraine, so we did not stay through the end of the game.
Overall, headache aside, we had a nice time at a solid park.
First things first, just look at that picture above and tell me that isn’t the best? Beyond the outfield walls there is an amusement park and even further than that you can see the outline of the Allegheny Mountains. All throughout the game the roller coaster is humming along and combined with the mountain outline it really does create one of the absolute best backdrops I’ve ever gotten to see at a baseball game.
The stadium itself is easy to get to, with plenty of parking. Once inside I found it to be very easy to navigate throughout all the sections of the park. There is an upper and lower track which helps to disperse the crowds and makes getting around a hassle-free experience. No matter where you are in the stadium you can see the action on the field.
Speaking of the action, being a Double-A level league means that the players are of high skill level for the most part. This makes for a quality baseball viewing experience from a talent perspective. Yes, the Curve suffers from the same problem as any other Minor League Baseball team in that the current system greatly devalues actual game results and competitiveness. However, I’d argue that the MiLB experience for the viewer is more about enjoying the sights of the stadium and the general action of the game of baseball and in that regard Peoples Natural Gas Field is a hit.
The food ended up being fairly decent and the seats were very comfortable. However, neither of those measured up to where Peoples Natural Gas Field truly excels, the sightlines. Every single inch of the stadium offers a tremendous viewing experience. Whether right up front, on one of the tracks, or sitting on the second level; there isn’t a bad seat in the house. Combine the quality of play with the backdrop, the ease of getting around the stadium, and the terrific sightlines and Peoples Natural Gas Field is one of the best stadiums I’ve been to so far.
Lead photo courtesy of Emilie Thompson