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Official Review by Richard Smith, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
The University of Delaware has been playing in the same location since the 1960s, a stadium re-named in 2000 after longtime coach Bob Hannah. Hannah, a member of the College Baseball Hall of Fame, won over 1,000 games coaching the Blue Hens.
Since the fall of 2013, remodeling efforts and winter weather issues forced the baseball team to relocate their first 14 home games of the 2014 season to Harford Community College in Maryland, some 40 miles south of their Newark campus. Finally in April 2014, the team re-opened Bob Hannah Stadium.
Bob Hannah Stadium is not to be confused with the other “Bob” on campus, The Bob Carpenter Center, home to University of Delaware basketball teams and the Delaware 87ers of the NBA Developmental League. That facility, is located a short walk away, as all of the main athletic facilities for the university are located in one central area.
The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:
Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
The stadium itself actually has no concession stand. But a stand is operated just across from the grandstands in a building that has service windows also facing into Delaware Stadium, the university's football stadium. This unique arrangement makes quite a bit of sense as sharing of facilities is a cost saving strategy.
The menu is pretty simple, but offers good quality. Burgers are $3.75 ($.50 extra for cheese), hot dogs are a value at $2.75, with pizza for $3 a seemingly fair value. Drinks are slightly pricey at $4.25, but make sure to add a bag of Utz chips for a dollar.
You are free to bring outside food into the stadium, so that gives fans an additional option. Consider bringing your own drink to save some money, and then grab a hot dog, and sit back and watch the baseball.
Bob Hannah Stadium has a pretty steep grandstand. That would be bad if it were larger, but with the limited rows it means that everyone is seated close to the action. Most seats are bench seating, which will be uncomfortable over time. Try to snag a regular seat with a seatback if you can (first three rows). The only problem with those seats will be that they are located by the walkway so you will have people obstructing your view at times. Another option is to head right to the top so you have fencing to lean your back against.
The new synthetic turf will put off some people, with real dirt only used on the pitching mound. The fake stuff does make it easier to drain the field and recover from bad weather conditions, a must for the Mid Atlantic. Netting also surrounds part of the field and will offer some visual problems, but keeps spectators safe.
Newark (pronounced here as New-Ark) is a great college town. There are numerous food options on East Main Street that will fill you up before or after a game. Melt Down Grilled Cheese, offers simple but delicious meals at a reasonable value. The small-batch, local New Hope sodas offered here are also worth a trip. Other popular options, if you do want more than grilled cheese, are Catherine Rooney's Irish Pub and Grotto Pizza.
Parking on East Main Street is always a bit of a problem. There are many public lots, but note that they may be behind buildings and hard to find. Many restaurants offer validation for the public lots.
If you do not want to fight for parking, head the opposite way from downtown Newark and towards the gigantic Christiana Mall area. Right before getting there is Border Cafe, designated only with a large "EAT" sign. Their large and varied menu offers great Tex-Mex & Cajun options at a pretty cheap price. Try the catfish fajitas with a side of jambalaya.
Numerous dining and lodging options are prevalent around the Christiana Mall area , although if in search of lodging, one should look at the Embassy Suites located across from the baseball stadium.
Around the corner from the stadium, behind Rust Arena, is the campus-run UDairy Creamery. Stopping for a pre or post game ice cream cone is a must.
As with most college baseball stadiums in this part of the country, the bulk of the fans tend to be family or friends of both teams. There will be some local fans who just happen to stop by for the game as well.
The fans are very knowledgeable and can be quite loud.
Student attendance at games will always be an issue as the stadium is located far from the student housing options on campus. Weekday games also means fewer family members will be in attendance.
Bob Hannah Stadium is easy to reach, and is only a couple miles off of Interstate 95. You may have to pay some tolls, although locals will know how to avoid them as much as possible.
Parking is free and plentiful in front of Delaware Stadium, The Bob Carpenter Center and the fieldhouse. Walk between the fieldhouse and the stadium to find the baseball field.
The games at Bob Hannah Stadium are free to attend, and parking is free. The seats are close to the action, and the view of the field is nice, so a fan is well-rewarded for attending a game here.
Before the April 27, 2014 stadium re-dedication game, a bust for former coach Bob Hannah was revealed. Eventually this will be placed in front of the stadium entrance.
The university provides roster and game notes before all games. It is filled with stats and coverage of all action in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA).
The UDairy Creamery, located within walking distance of the athletic facilities, always deserves an extra mention. This student-focused operation is part of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and offers great, fresh ice cream options.
After renovations, Bob Hannah Stadium is a field that is far better than many of the college baseball facilities seen in the northeast. If in the area, you should check schedules and try to see a game.
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145 E Main St
Newark, DE 19711
102 E Main St
Newark, DE 19711
483 Stanton Christiana Rd
Newark, DE 19713
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654 S College Ave
Newark, DE 19713