I really like Butler Park, it has always been a great place to play or watch baseball. But, I don’t think it is unique enough, nor picturesque enough, to win a, “Best,” ball park award if some of the other facilities I have seen, played in or officiated at are in the running.
Butler has some similarity to Vancouver’s Nat Bailey, in that it has a hillside as a centre field backdrop, but the former Little Mountain field is much prettier and in a prettier area. Vernon’s Jubilee Park, ditto, at least before Vernon got so big.
We do have a mighty river so close it gobbles up foul balls – even with all the extra netting and fencing now in place – but this time of the year that waterway, which emits moths the way Cominco used to emit smoke six and more decades ago, is a mixed blessing. Not many parks have such a mighty river running by, but not many have times in them when the bugs make it almost unplayable.
It’s a nice park, and it has served to provide both playing space and often amazing entertainment for about eight decades.. There was a time, in fact, when ball players came here the way hockey players did – with an eye to solid employment and a chance to play their sport in a very supportive environment. Like the hockey players (of course they were often the same people) the ball players settled and became part of the bedrock of this very civilized area.
Butler’s existence is a part of the reason local ball teams from all age levels have been competitive on a national and international scale. An excellent facility encouraged people to support the players who, energized, became the coaches and parents of future players who became…etc.
It’s a strong symbol, along with the Memorial Centre, of how this town developed and works. It’s iconic here. But, is it currently among the best in the land? That seems unlikely
If we want to go there, we should have a book, like the rock wall tome, which outlines and details the history of the park and its meaning here. Even with that, however, Butler is just nice, small town ball park, full of history, which some in the area are very fond of. It has hosted both novelty acts, like The House of David Nine, and several local and visiting players who went on to big league achievements including world series wins and the Hall of Fame.
That’s plenty, but probably, to outsiders, not award-worthy.