Falcon Park – Auburn Doubledays
Memories for Generations
Leo Pinckney Field at Falcon Park is the home of the Auburn Doubledays, but the stadium is usually referred to simply as Falcon Park. The Doubledays compete in the short season single A New York-Penn League. They are an affiliate of the Washington Nationals, with a roster of recently drafted/signed players of the Nationals.
Falcon Park was constructed in 1927, with a reconstructed second version completed in 1995. The park is named after an old social group, the Polish Falcons, that fraternal organization owned the ballpark until 1959, the year a local minor league group bought the venue. The current owner is Auburn Community Baseball, a nonprofit group authorized by the city, who bought the ballpark in 1980.
The field itself was named in honor of Leo Pinckney in 2004 – Leo Pinckney was an Auburn citizen sports writer, known as Auburn’s “King of Baseball.” He was a crucial figure in bringing the New York-Penn League to Auburn, but his involvement continued into 1984, when Pinckney was named the New York-Penn League’s president, and the league eventually named the division in which Auburn competes after him. In 1993 Pinckney also helped lead the effort to build the current Falcon Park.
Although the main tenant is the Auburn Doubledays. Falcon Park has been a centerpiece for the community. The venue has held concerts, been used as a racing speedway for children, and is home to the Auburn Maroons High School baseball program.
Food & Beverage 3
Falcon Park has the standard fare of baseball food without the inflated prices. The main concessions stands are on the outer promenade, behind home plate and the first base line. There are also smaller stands located on the third base line under the stands, and near the stadium’s souvenir stand. The concessions menu offers selections from local meat companies such as Hofmann Italian Sausage and hot dogs, along with Indelicato’s hamburgers; the costs for these range from $3.50 to $5. Chicken tenders, French fries, soft pretzels, and nachos are also offered, with the costliest of these being $5 – this is remarkably low compared to other ballparks. The highest cost food item at the main concessions stand is $6, namely the Veggie burger or wrap. There is some thought given to healthier snack foods under the first base grandstand, at Little Abner’s Snack Shack – the Snack Shack offers pretzels w/hummus ($5), yogurt, popcorn, water, and Gatorade.
The ballpark also offers a BBQ menu, which is separate from the main concessions. The BBQ stand is situated on the first base side of Falcon Park, where the Gould Hotel in Seneca Falls keeps the ballpark serving local fare. The menu includes pulled pork pockets (with pineapple and coleslaw), brisket sandwiches, and loaded pork nachos; as BBQ is higher in cost than other items, $8 to $10 isn’t an unreasonable price. However, tasting Central New York’s salt potatoes is a must – salt potatoes are a regional dish and a staple for cookouts. At $3 for the small size or $5 for the large size, you can taste the cuisine of salt potatoes – this delicacy has been a favorite since the early 1900s, and traces back even farther to the Irish Salt Miners in Syracuse.
The beverage service at Falcon Park is impressive for a minor league stadium. The newly expanded first base deck (3700 sq. ft.) focuses on craft breweries. In addition, Bell’s, Brooklyn Brewery, Dogfish Head, Lagunitas Brewing, and Ommegang are available at the Craft Beer Corner. Wine Slushies made with wine from nearby Montezuma Winery are available as well for the non-beer drinkers, and the ballpark also serves Pepsi products. Soda, bottled water, 16oz Slush Puppies, lemonade, Gatorade, iced tea, and coffee are all $2 to $3, which is a great price relief compared to other ballparks. Overall, the food and beverages at Falcon Park are plentiful enough to satisfy any fan appetite.
The Doubledays game day atmosphere begins an hour before game time when the gates open. Live music is played on the patio deck in right field, and the home team Auburn Doubledays use the third base dugouts, and warm up along the Holiday Inn Party Pavilion in left field. The Doubledays staff is friendly and helpful, especially the elder staff, as they really enjoy being a part of the game day atmosphere at Falcon Park. There are opportunities for player autographs at the entrance to the ballpark, behind where programs are sold.. The programs include a scorecard so fans can follow the tradition of keeping score (although there is a scoreboard located in center field). The outfield wall is covered with business advertisements from companies around the Finger Lakes region.
Abner, the team’s mascot, walks around the ballpark welcoming fans, signing autographs, and posing for pictures. Abner is perhaps one of the most unique in all of baseball: an old-timey mustachioed representation of Abner Doubleday, credited inventor of the all-American sport. Abner and the staff keep you involved with family games and challenges between innings, and have other entertainment consisting of minor league standards such as races, contests, and quizzes; there is also a Kids Zone behind the first base grandstand near the restrooms.
The baseball in the New York-Penn League is entertaining, and the players will play hard, as this is the beginning of their professional baseball career.
Leo Pickney Field at Falcon Park is in Auburn, New York. The ballpark is situated a couple miles from downtown, next to the city’s Casey Park and Recreation Center. The City of Auburn, with its population of 27,000 people, is located at the north end of Owasco Lake in New York State’s Finger Lakes region. The City of Auburn has been an important place in American history, and that history can be relived in the homes of William Seward and Harriet Tubman. William Seward, a former United States Secretary of State, was instrumental in the negotiation of the Alaska purchase in 1867. Harriet Tubman, meanwhile, was born into slavery, yet became one of America’s most famous abolitionists and political activists, contributing to rescuing 70 enslaved persons through the Underground Railroad – she is laid to rest in Auburn’s Fort Hill Cemetery.
Besides the history here, Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge is 15 miles west of Auburn. The wildlife refuge is situated on the north side of another Finger Lake, Cayuga Lake, and the land on the west side of Cayuga Lake and around Seneca Lake is home to the Finger Lakes wineries – there are plenty of winery tours available to the public. And if wineries aren’t your forte, then a quick 10-minute drive east will take you to the beautiful village of Skaneateles, on the north end of Skaneateles Lake. Skaneateles Lake is the highest in altitude in the US, and the cleanest of the Finger Lakes, and the second cleanest lake in the country behind Crater Lake in Oregon.
There are plenty of hotels in downtown Auburn such as Holiday Inn and the Hilton Garden Inn at the Finger Lakes. However, lodging at the Springside Inn near Owasco Lake, Sherwood Inn, or Lady of the Lake in Skaneateles will provide you with an exceptional dining experience along with a good night’s sleep.
The Auburn restaurant scene begins at the Sunset Restaurant on North Division Street – this restaurant has been a staple of Auburn since 1933. Another historic restaurant is Hunter’s Dinerant, which is on Genesee Street overlooking the Owasco River, which runs through the center of town. There are also a couple of local breweries that serve food; the first is Prison City Pub and Brewery, whose name references Auburn’s nearby correctional facility, while the other is The Good Shepherd’s Brewing Company. All these are very good choices, however, my recommendation would be to take a short drive east to Skaneateles, and finding a table at Doug’s Fish Fry.
The New York-Penn League’s attendance statistics don’t seem to favor the Auburn fan base – the team only averages about 1,200 fans per game, filling only half of Falcon Park’s seating capacity; the only team lower in attendance is the Batavia Muckdogs. However, because the New York-Penn League has expanded over the years beyond its namesake two states into Connecticut, West Virginia, and Ohio, the Muckdogs are the only nearby team. Therefore, when the Auburn Doubledays play the Muckdogs, Batavia’s visiting fans seem to invade Falcon Park.
Falcon Park’s stands are filled with families and local boosters that stay involved and enjoy the tradition of spending time at the ballpark – fans stay involved with the game and support the team on the field. The fact that the City of Auburn has been able to keep a minor league baseball team playing in Falcon Park since 1958 (except during 1981) shows that Auburn loves its baseball team; so much so, in fact, that the Auburn Doubledays and the Washington Nationals recently announced a 2-year extension of their player development contract, to run through the 2020 season.
Auburn is in the heart of the Finger Lakes in Central New York. The closest airport to Falcon Park is about 35 miles away at Syracuse’s Hancock International Field, but there are other smaller airports which can be utilized in Ithaca, Binghamton, and Rochester. These airports are all about an hour from Auburn, with the larger airport in Buffalo being a two-hour drive across Western New York. The drive to Falcon Park from Syracuse’s airport is an easy drive down the New York thruway (I-90) to the Weedsport Exit via State Road 34. Auburn’s Falcon Park can also be accessed using State Route 5 or US Route 20 – US Route 20 is the longest surface road in New York.
Parking for Auburn Doubledays games is free on North Division Street via a large parking lot across from Falcon Park. Auburn also has public transportation – the CENRTO Auburn Buses Route 4 Casey Park stop ($1) serves the park, and the CENRTO can be reached using Amtrak, Greyhound, and Trailways.
Falcon Park is split into two seating areas with a walkway that separates the two; the main stands are covered and host the press box behind home plate, while the general admission bleacher seats extend out to the picnic areas on each side of the ballpark. There are two open entrances, one on each base line, that allow entrance to the stands – the grandstands have blue plastic seating in the lower level and metal bleachers in the upper level.
Return on Investment 5
Auburn Doubledays single game tickets cost less than a movie ticket. There are three levels of pricing inside Falcon Park; the box seats cost $10, and these seats bring you closest to the field, while center reserved is $8, which is the upper seating behind home plate. The third level is the bleachers for $6, which are general admission tickets.
However, the Doubledays offer daily ticket specials that will lower the cost – the promotion schedule is constant throughout the year, and includes family four packs for $44 on Fridays and Saturdays; these four packs include four general admission tickets, four popcorns, four hot dogs, and four sodas. In addition, Sunday games support the community with free tickets for teachers, while Monday games are Auburn’s Salute to Service, with free general admission tickets for veterans, active-duty military, and first responders. Tuesdays are Two for One Tuesdays, and Wednesday games can be free as well, if Auburn produces wins on the field. Lastly, group outings to the party tents for 10 or more people are $9 per person with all-you-can-eat food.
The amazing return on investment isn’t just ticket prices at Falcon Park – the affordable food and beverage prices also really help reduce a family’s expense on entertainment.
Auburn’s New York-Penn League teams have been named the Yankees, Mets, Phillies, Twins, Astros, Red Stars, Sunsets, and Americans. However, the current name Auburn Doubledays is perfect, and the Doubledays can change MLB affiliates without losing that name. This name is in honor of Abner Doubleday, who is credited with inventing baseball, and who spent his early years in Auburn. The Abner mascot, with his likeness to Abner Doubleday, along with his signature mustache provides Auburn with the marketing slogan “Our mascot has the best mustache in minor league baseball” – the Doubledays logo with the mustache across the letter A and ballcap on top is very creative.
Falcon Park is a community staple recognizing the history of baseball in Auburn, as well as the fans that have supported baseball in Auburn. There are park dedication plaques and construction donor plaques on the outer wall of the park, and the main entrance gate has many recognition memorials to individuals, including Bill Graney, Jr. (former GM), Thomas J. Poole (baseball instructor), Pat Penafeather (groundskeeper), Dr. Thomas Stapleton (team and league executive), and Leo A. Pinckney (local journalist “Mr. Baseball”). There is also a championship street sign on North Division Road in front of Falcon Park – Auburn has won eight league titles, with the 2007 championship being the most recent.
The amazing Doubledays staff, including General Manager Adam Winslow and Assistant GMs Shane Truman and Andy Collier can be seen at every Doubledays game interacting with fans. Adam and Shane are Auburn natives who both grew up watching baseball at Falcon Park. Adam has a huge connection with baseball in Auburn, going back to his grandfather being friends with Leo Pinckney. His parents were season ticket holders, and his sisters worked at Falcon Park in the summers. Adam is creating a family atmosphere for the Auburn community to enjoy because he understands the importance of baseball at Falcon Park.
There has been baseball played at Falcon Park since the New York Yankees’ Murderers Row. The old wooden grandstand-type facility from 1927-1994 provided Auburn fans a place to learn, play, and enjoy the sport of baseball. Today, Falcon Park II continues to uphold the tradition of baseball in Auburn. Baseball at Falcon Park is much bigger than the game itself – the games are a tradition for Auburn, providing families with memories for generations that last a lifetime.
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