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Official Review by Aaron S. Terry, Stadium Journey Special Correspondent
The baseball stadium at ODU is named after Bud Metheny, who worked at Old Dominion for 32 years as basketball coach, baseball coach, and athletic director. Before coming to ODU, Metheny spent 11 years with the New York Yankees, where he played alongside Joe DiMaggio – Metheny even helped the Yankees win a World Series back in 1943. Besides naming the park after him, the Monarchs have further honored Metheny by adopting the Yankee uniform as their own, and also put Metheny’s image and jersey on their outfield wall.
The venue opened in 1983, replacing ODU’s football stadium as the baseball squad’s home field. BMBC has received several million dollars worth of renovations during the past few seasons, and now sports an LED scoreboard, a custom outfield wall showcasing images of former Monarchs, and several other enhancements, including a batter’s eye backdrop (a dark screen atop the outfield wall that helps a batter see the ball more easily during pitches due to the sharp color contrast).
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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".
BMBC offers a good range of food and beverage options at its concession stand, and also has a beer garden. At the regular concession stand (under the center section of seats) you can buy burgers or BBQ sandwiches for $5, hot dogs/ Italian sausage for $3.50-$4.50, or "walking" tacos for $3. Fries are $4-$5, depending on whether you want chili & cheese, and nachos are $4. Pretzels, popcorn, peanuts, Cracker Jack, candy, ice cream, and funnel fries are $3, and chips are $1.
Soda is $2-$3.50, and hot cocoa, coffee, or bottled water is $3; Gatorade is $3.50. The beer garden is located along the first baseline, and has tables so you can sit and eat while you watch the game. The garden has most of the same items for the same prices as the regular concession stand, just not all of them, but also adds beer starting at $3, and wine for $7.
The stadium feels pretty modern and has a lot of ODU signage and banners, in addition to the outfield wall which is decked out with images of former Monarchs, including Bud Metheny (who played at William & Mary, actually, but coached here so he is included). Amenities like the beer garden add to the fun, and fans are free to roam around wherever they want (for the most part), so you can get pretty close to the action, and chase down foul or home run balls. It also gets quite loud at times due to the fan noise and yelling from the players. The only real downside at BMBC are the small crowd and the lack of chair backs on the metal bleachers.
The baseball diamond is on campus and is surrounded by campus buildings, student housing, and other athletics facilities such as the soccer field and tennis center. If you are looking for somewhere to hang out before or after the game, there are a bunch of great restaurants just a few blocks away on Colley Ave.
The Dirty Buffalo is a fun place at the intersection of Colley and 42nd and offers wings, subs, burgers, hot dogs, and seven beers on tap, as well as several TVs. Their most famous wing sauce is simply dubbed "Stupid Hot," and if you are on a budget you can even get fries doused in wing sauce, aka "Poor Man's Wings." The Dirty Buffalo caters to both families and students.
If you are into seafood, which I always recommend when you visit a seaside town like Norfolk, there is also O'Sullivan's Wharf (raw bar) on Colley and 43rd. This restaurant actually has an extension of the Lafayette River running into the back of it, complete with boat dock, so it totally looks the part, and their seafood is fresh and fabulous. Or, if you are looking for something a little more upscale, there is a cute bar next to O'Sullivan's called Eva's, which offers mostly fancy cocktails, but does have a handful of food items (mostly French-themed apps such as escargot).
Besides great restaurants, there is a plethora of tourist attractions in Norfolk, including the Nauticus and the Battleship Wisconsin, and of course the ocean front with the usual activities.
If you want to stay the weekend, there are plenty of hotels around - in fact, since baseball season ends before tourist season begins, you can actually get really cheap rates on ocean front hotels, if you happen to like strolling along the Atlantic.
BMBC has a stated capacity of 2,500, but only draws about 200-300 at a typical game, so the stands look pretty empty (the recent addition of the beer garden unfortunately did not do much to increase attendance). About half of the fans wear Monarchs gear, which is sold at the stadium from a makeshift booth. Some of the fans really get into the game, becoming quite agitated when the umpire makes a bad call, but many others seem to be there just for the social scene.
Norfolk is pretty easy to get to since there are several major freeways that terminate here. Old Dominion itself is a little tricky, however, since you have to cut through town, and there is a lot of traffic and many divided streets you have to work around.
There is free parking near the baseball field, however, it is on the other side of the soccer field, so it is a little far away, and can get crowded since it is shared with other sports. You can park closer in one of the faculty/staff lots, which are open to the public after 7 pm on weekdays, and all day on weekends, but there aren't many of those spaces. The best option is probably the parking garage behind the outfield, which only costs $1 per hour.
Once you get inside, the bathrooms are very easy to find - right behind the concession stand under the center bank of seats. One drawback of the venue's location worth mentioning is that the stadium is located on a corner with two adjacent streets. This means that on occasion, foul balls are hit right into moving traffic, which could be very dangerous.
Tickets to ODU baseball are free for students, but otherwise can only be purchased at the gate (cash only, $5 each). A much cheaper way to get tickets (assuming you need a whole bunch) is to purchase an ODU voucher book for $50, which gets you 32 passes to Monarch baseball games - if you happen to need a lot of tickets this is a real bargain at less than $2 per game. Parking is also inexpensive, as are concessions. Where else can you buy beer at a ballpark for $3? That said, seeing a game here is a great experience for the money, and the venue is located in a quaint seaside town with lots of other interesting things to do while you are here, so a visit to BMBC is well worth it.
One point for the beer garden - you don't often get to drink at college stadiums, plus being able to sit down at a real table while you eat is kind of nice.
A second point for all the other attractions in Norfolk - having so many others things to do while you are in town certainly helps justify the journey.
A third point for the interesting activities they sometimes do at BMBC, for example the annual crawfish boil - the food is free, the critters are fresh (you can watch them crawl around before they are cooked if you want), and you can eat as many as you can handle.
A nice place to see a game - the park is modern, it won't cost a lot, and you can get really close to the action. There is also a lot to do before or after the game; Norfolk is a great place to spend the weekend if you want to take in the whole series.
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4110 Colley Ave
Norfolk, VA 23508
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