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Official Review by Lloyd Brown, Stadium Journey Special Correspondent
Central Connecticut State University is the oldest publicly funded university in the state of Connecticut. Founded in 1848, CCSU has more than 11,000 students attending classes on its New Britain, Connecticut campus. It is primarily a commuter school, and more than 90% of the student body is from the state of Connecticut. It is the primary source for teachers in the state, as the School of Education is its largest academic program. CCSU has been named by the Princeton Review as one of America’s Best Value Colleges with an in-state tuition of $18,000 and a 16:1 student to faculty ratio.
The CCSU athletic teams play in the Northeast Conference, which includes schools such as Robert Morris, Fairleigh Dickinson, Wagner, Sacred Heart, St. Francis Brooklyn, LIU-Brooklyn, Bryant and St Francis University (PA). The Blue Devil baseball team has a great history of success, as they have won 25 or more games each season since 2008. Among CCSU’s notable baseball alumni are Ricky Bottalico, Evan Scribner, and MLB umpire John Hirschbeck.
All home games are played at the on-campus CCSU Baseball Field, which opened in 2010. The stadium features a FieldTurf playing surface and chairback seating for the fans. CCSU has all of its sports facilities on campus with a centralized parking lot and concession/restroom building.
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".
All concessions within the CCSU Sportsplex are handled out of a centralized pavilion building, which also includes the restroom facilities. The pavilion is covered and has picnic tables available so you do not have to balance your food and drink on your lap. This is a nice touch as the chairback seating is comfortable, but does not provide for cup holders.
The offerings are limited, but reasonable in price. Sodas and water are priced at $2, hot dogs are $3, pretzels are available for $2 and candy and chips are priced at $1.50. Since there is no charge for the games, people often make a quick food run during the game to one of the nearby fast food locations, and fans are permitted to bring these items in.
CCSU is a busy campus on spring weekends when the weather is nice. The turnout for the baseball games is excellent and there is often a softball or soccer game going on at an adjoining field. The Sportsplex is just four years old and offers comfortable seating, an excellent sound system and great views of the action, as the stands are above field level. In addition to athletic activities, there is often some type of concert activity happening on the campus green. In general, a pretty day in the springtime will offer you multiple opportunities for outdoor entertainment.
CCSU is in New Britain, nine miles south of Hartford. It is often known as "The Hardware City," as it is headquarters to Stanley/Black & Decker, one of the largest tool manufacturers in the country. Among the local restaurants to try out are The Underground Deli on Stanley Street, just across from the CCSU campus, Capitol Lunch (ask for a Cappie Dog... a Connecticut favorite), or for more upscale dining try Café Beauregard on Main.
There are numerous fast food and pizza restaurants located adjacent to the university campus. Despite the 1848 founding date, a majority of the CCSU campus is fairly recent construction. There are numerous student activities going on every weekend ranging from concerts, to charity walks, to plays, and athletic events. There is definitely a bond between the university and the community that surrounds it.
The typical turnout for a Blue Devils baseball game is 200-300 fans. There is strong student support as 1) it is free 2) it is on campus, and 3) a majority of the visiting teams come from neighboring communities, and it offers them a chance to see old high school buddies. The fans tend to know the players on a first name basis and really follow the games closely. On weekends there tends to be a good showing from the parents of the players since they are off from work.
New Britain is located just nine miles from Hartford and 22 miles from Bradley International Airport. It is an easy drive on I-84, or you can skip all the traffic by taking the CT fastrack rapid transit system from Hartford to New Britain. This is a brand new express bus system with its own dedicated transitways/dedicated lanes to speed you to your destination. There is a central station in downtown New Britain, with direct shuttles to the campus. If you are driving to the CCSU campus, there is free parking at Arute Field within walking distance of the baseball field.
There is no charge to attend CCSU baseball games and parking is free. The concessions are reasonably priced but limited, and you have off campus food locations readily available. The stadium is of recent construction and offers chairback seating for all fans. Add to that an excellent public transportation system and you get a good return on your investment.
One of the most visited attractions in New Britain is the New Britain Museum of American Art. Founded in 1903, it houses the most extensive collections of colonial portraiture, American quilts and murals done by noted American painter Thomas Hart Benton in the country. Another museum of note is the Industrial Museum, which features equipment and tools created at the famous Stanley Works (now Stanley/Black & Decker), which is headquartered in New Britain.
Visitors to a CCSU baseball game can arrange to take in a double header by attending a New Britain Rock Cats game at New Britain Stadium. The Rock Cats are the AA affiliate of the Colorado Rockies. Better hurry though... the Rock Cats will be moving to nearby Hartford after the 2015 season.
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1535 Stanley St
New Britain, CT 06053
510 Main St
New Britain, CT 06051
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