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Official Review by Brandon Gee, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
Named in honor of Bob Wren, a longtime coach of the program (1949-1975) who took the Bobcats to the College World Series in 1970, Bob Wren Stadium opened in 1998. Wren Stadium gives the baseball team a solid facility amongst the picturesque campus, near the banks of the Hocking River along with the school’s other athletic venues (including the Convocation Center and Peden Stadium).
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".
It's a small menu with the traditional stadium fare. The grill items (hot dogs, brats, burgers, etc.) benefit greatly by actually being grilled across from the concession stand.
Thirty-two ounce souvenir sodas are $4, and they serve root beer or orange floats for $5.
Ohio Bobcats baseball is more tranquil than raucous. The stadium's setting along the Hocking River on the edge of campus makes for a pleasant setting and the small crowds are relaxed, but engaged in the game. This is just a nice way to spend an afternoon, watching a game in this stadium, surrounded by trees, the river and the rolling hillside.
Wren Stadium sits in the school's athletic mall, situated between the western edge of campus and the Hocking River. The Hockhocking Adena Bikeway, a 21-mile route, follows the path of the river north to Nelsonville, Ohio and is a popular route for bicyclists in the area.
Across the river from the stadium are The Ridges. Buildings that were once part of a psychiatric hospital have been turned into various uses like the school's Kennedy Museum of Art and other performance spaces along with other buildings for the university's function.
Heading east up Richland Avenue will run you into Court Street. Take a left and you're in downtown Athens. If you're looking for a sandwich and some awesome baked goods, then Fluff Bakery (8 N. Court) is the place for you. But there are plenty of options like wings at Buffalo Wild Wings (23 W. Union). Right across the street from there is Jackie O's Pub & Brewery (24 W. Union), a craft operation that is becoming quite well-known throughout the region.
Check AthensOhio.com for more information on the town.
Bobcat baseball just isn't a big draw for fans. The Bobcats consistently average only a few hundred fans a game. With that said, those who do come out are supportive of the team.
Athens sits on the Appalachian Highway (Ohio State Route 32). Take Exit 17(OH-682 N) and you'll drive into a roundabout. Stay in the right lane and you're directed onto eastbound Richland Avenue. You'll drive over the river and come into the Athletic Mall area of campus. Make a left at the first light on to South Shafer Street. You can park in the lot closest to the Softball stadium, but be aware that you are not in an area marked for special designations (faculty or restricted hours).
Tickets are $5 each. If there happens to be a softball game going at the same time, you can walk between the stadiums for only one charge.
Food prices are decent with nothing over $5 and parking is free.
Unfortunately, it's been many years since the Bobcats have contended in the Mid-American Conference. The team's last .500 season was in 2011 and their last postseason appearance was a MAC tourney championship and NCAA tournament appearance in 1997.
One point for the campus surroundings. The stadium offers some great views of the Hocking River area as well as some of Ohio University's campus architecture. Even Wren Stadium keeps with the architectural theme.
So maybe Ohio isn't lighting the baseball world on fire. Most northern schools have the same struggle with trying to engage students and locals in the sport. Still, Bobcats baseball at Bob Wren Stadium is a pleasant way to spend a spring day in Athens, Ohio. The people who come out enjoy it and the surroundings of the campus are wonderful.
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24 W Union St
Athens, OH 45701
Hockhocking Adena Bikeway
Athens, OH 45701
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