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Official Review by Paul Baker, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
Baseball has been played on the site of Bill Beck Field since the founding of the University of Rhode Island in 1892. Dedicated for URI’s longtime football and baseball coach, Bill Beck Field has undergone over $1 million in renovations to the field, dugouts, bleachers, press box, bullpens, batting cages, and scoreboard. A new artificial FieldTurf surface was put in, identical to the turf used by several major league teams. This new field allows URI to spend more time on their field than most teams in the area.
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Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
There are no concessions available at Bill Beck Field. However, if the Brandon Boss hockey arena is open next door (and this being New England, it usually is) there is a small Subway sandwich shop inside. Drinks, snacks, and sandwiches can be purchased there.
There is no game day presentation to speak of here at URI. Lineups and upcoming batters are announced over a tinny PA system, and music is played between innings. Other than that, don't expect any additional bells and whistles here. The fans who come to see the Rams play are enthusiastic and cheer on their team, but there is only so much noise 100-200 people can make. Baseball purists will enjoy the laid-back atmosphere here at Bill Beck Field. Fans looking for giveaways and entertainment will not.
Baseball fans looking for dining or recreational activities within walking distance may be disappointed with Bill Beck Field's rural location. The URI campus is fairly self-contained, without a great deal of restaurants or places of interest nearby. Those willing to travel a short distance will be rewarded with many wonderful restaurants and sights.
Mews Tavern in nearby Wakefield boasts 69 beers on taps and an extensive bar menu. It is a favorite of the student body. In addition, Narragansett, located 8 miles to the south, Newport, 16 miles to the east, and Providence, 29 miles to the north, offer a wide variety of dining, lodging, and tourist options for the traveling baseball fan. Fans visiting the URI campus later in the season when (hopefully) the weather breaks should head to Newport. It is the top vacation spot in the area, and well worth the trip.
There are no lodging options directly adjacent to the URI campus, so fans looking to stay near URI overnight will need to look elsewhere. There are some options in nearby South Kingstown (don't ask me why "Kingstown" has a "W" and "Kingston" doesn't, no one in Rhode Island knows for sure) and beyond. Fans looking to make a weekend of their trip to URI would be advised to check out Newport or Providence, both short drives from campus.
The crowd at Bill Beck Field is definitely of the "Friends and Family" variety. Crowds for a URI baseball game typically average in the 100-250 range. Those fans that do attend games here are knowledgeable and enthusiastic. You have to be a huge baseball fan to show up for a game on a typical frigid March or April night, and these Rams fans certainly fit the bill.
Bill Beck Field is located on the western side of the URI campus in Kingston, RI, nestled behind the Ryan Center and Keaney Gymnasium, and next to the Boss Ice Arena. The small town of Kingston is located 29 miles south of Providence and 20 minutes south of T.F. Green Airport.
Driving to Kingston from Providence will take you about 40 minutes on a normal day. The campus is located on Route 138, approximately a 10 mile drive from I-95 as it passes through southern Rhode Island. The URI campus is served by public transportation, as RIPTA buses have several routes that serve the campus from Providence. In addition, the Kingstown train station is about two miles away from campus, with Amtrak making regular stops at the station.
The seaside towns of Narragansett and Newport are nearby and worth a visit to any out-of-towners visiting Rhode Island. Newport is a well-known tourist attraction with many things to see and do, while Narragansett boasts many fine restaurants and beaches of its own.
Fans looking for creature comforts here at Bill Beck field will be disappointed. There is limited seating available, and what seating there is consists entirely of metal bleachers. There is a small set of bleachers on each side of the diamond, and a larger set wedged in between the press box and backstop. Many fans choose to bring their own chairs to sit on while taking in the game. It definitely saves some wear and tear on the old backside. There are plenty of places all around the field to stand (or sit) and take in the action.
There are no restrooms at Bill Beck Field. There are a few port-a-johns scattered around if needed. Fans looking for other bathroom options can walk next door to the Boss Ice Arena, where there are bathrooms available for use. Fans who may be unsteady on their feet should be forewarned that there are no sidewalks or walkways here, as Bill Beck Field is surrounded by nothing but open space.
There is no charge for admission for URI baseball games. Parking is free in the lot right next to the ball field. Fans who bring their own drinks and snacks to the game can enjoy an afternoon of college baseball (there are no lights for night games at Bill Beck Field) played at its highest level without spending even a penny.
An extra point is awarded to the playing surface at Bill Beck Field. The FieldTurf installed here ensures that the Rams are able to utilize the field much more than most of their neighbors in New England. It is not unusual to see Rhode Island games being played during cold March afternoons when most other local teams are unable to use their fields.
Any fan coming to Kingston to catch a Rams game should remember: This is college baseball in the northeast. Weather can (and does) play havoc with even the best laid plans. Postponements and cancellations are routine events when trying to play baseball in New England in March and April, so plan accordingly. There are no fancy bells or whistles here at Bill Beck Field, just baseball being played at its highest collegiate level. For most baseball fans, that is all we ask for anyway.
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364 Cards Pond Rd
South Kingstown, RI 02879
1 Beach St
Narragansett, RI 02882
20 Hotel Dr
South Kingstown, RI 02879