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Official Review by Harrison Huntley, Stadium Journey Special Correspondent
Brooks Field brings along an interesting story. Home to the UNCW Seahawks since its opening in 1957, it has also hosted two separate minor-league baseball teams. Two teams tried their hand at placing a team in North Carolina’s port city, yet both were forced to fold shortly after their arrival due to the lack of a stadium. The Seahawks are the constant in all of this and they continue working on their goal to reach Omaha. While their stadium is fine for the previous standards, but to reach the level of a consistent contender, the overall stadium experience falls just a bit short.
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 park's concession stand is located behind the first base bleachers. The spread is pretty standard: pizza, hot dogs, chicken sandwiches, and other snacks. Coca-Cola sponsors the Seahawks and beverages can be purchased in 20 ounce cups.
Most notably, there are three combo options that can really save you money. Be sure to take advantage of those if you buy concessions at the park.
UNCW games are a no-frills baseball experience with an absence of on-field activities and contests. The seats are either plastic seats or metal benches. The PA system has an echo on either side which gets a little troubling, but it's not too bad. Overall, there is nothing that really stands out from the experience.
While the campus may not be in downtown Wilmington, businesses, hotels, and restaurants have flocked to the area and created a college town neighborhood. One of my personal favorites is Two Guys Grille. Two Guys is a beach themed restaurant featuring American cuisine. Famous for their Philly Cheesesteaks, Two Guys offers salads, burgers, and other sandwiches.
There are many more local and chain restaurants in the immediate neighborhood, and also in downtown Wilmington. The city is home to a lively downtown area with many shops and restaurants.
Most of the fans are family and friends of the players and that is not at all a bad thing. It does, however, mean that they are much more controlled in their cheering. There are few traditions or chants to be heard. They know all the players by first name and are always supportive.
Finding the campus of UNCW couldn't be easier. Interstate 40 becomes College Road which runs right along campus. The problem is once you are on campus, you must navigate the maze of campus roads to find the stadium. Once at the stadium, there is ample parking along the intramural fields.
Restrooms can be found below the press box behind home plate. They are a bit cramped, but accessible.
Tickets are $7 for reserved seating behind home plate and $5 for general admission elsewhere. If you must have a chair back, then opt for the $7 tickets. The general admission seats are metal benches and if that doesn't bother you, then you can save a couple of bucks. The food is reasonably priced (especially considering the combos) and parking is free, so no complaints there.
The historical markers around the stadium present a nice nod to previous teams and the success they enjoyed.
I give another point for the kindness of the staff. Everyone I talked with was very friendly and willing to help with anything I needed.
If you are simply a fan of the game and enjoy baseball without distractions, then this would be a good field to visit. The Seahawks continue to improve their on-field product and have begun to consistently reach the NCAA tournament. Hopefully in time, they will improve the fan experience. The current atmosphere is not a bad one by any means, but considering other programs in the state, it probably could be better.
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