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Official Review by Brian Jones, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
Mercer University is known for being one of the best universities in the country when it comes to academics. However, it’s also known for having pretty good sports teams and state-of-the art facilities.
Claude Smith Field has been around for a very long time, and it’s not the biggest college baseball stadium in Georgia. But with the renovations the stadium went through in 2003, along with the good fan support, it’s one of the better college baseball experiences in the Southeast.
The stadium is named after longtime Mercer coach Claude Smith, who won 405 games from 1948-1977. As of 2014, Claude Smith Field is in the process of going through another major renovation process that will be ready by the start of the 2015 season.
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 food at Claude Smith Field is like what one would find at any college baseball stadium. Fans can get hamburgers, hot dogs, peanuts and candy all for under $5. And the quality of the food is really good.
The only problem is there is only one concession stand at the stadium, and there can be long waits for food, especially with only one person working the stand.
There are really no other places to eat near the stadium. However, there is the food court at the student center that has limited availability in the spring.
Claude Smith Field is located in the heart of campus, so you can see I-75 and the football stadium from your seat.
Because the seating is all one big area, there is not a bad seat in the house. However, fans can sit in the outfield and get a good view of the game without paying the $5 for a seat.
The scoreboard is very nice for a smaller stadium. The video presentations are good, and they provide a headshot of each player that is introduced.
I also liked the PA announcer. He has a good voice, and his overall presentation makes the game more enjoyable.
When it comes to walking distance, there is not a lot to do for fans. Mercer is located in Macon, which is one of the larger cities in Georgia. There's always something to see and do in the city.
The best place to go is the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame. There you can learn about some of the best athletes in the Peach State, such as Hank Aaron, Dale Ellis, John Smoltz and Frank Thomas.
There is also a museum dedicated to the Allman Brothers. It's known as the Big House, and it was the original home of the Allman Brothers.
And if you are looking for great food, Mercer Village is located right off campus, and has some great restaurants, such as Ingleside Village Pizza and Francar's.
There is a really good baseball fan base at Mercer, because they realize the baseball team is a good program that has won a lot of games over the years. Granted, most of them are parents or friends of the players, but the support is consistent and there are a lot of people that show up, which makes the stadium bigger than it really is.
Unlike Georgia or Georgia Tech, getting to and from Mercer is really easy.
The campus is located right off I-75, and Claude Smith Field is a block away from the main entrance. And there's a ton of free parking right next to the stadium, so fans will never have an issue finding where to park and not bringing enough money for parking.
The restrooms are small, which is expected, because the stadium itself is not big. But they are clean and easy to locate.
Mercer plays in a smaller Division I conference, so they don't normally play the bigger schools on a consistent basis. However, fans get to see high quality college baseball for $5. That's as good a deal as you will find in Georgia.
Plus, when you add the fact parking is free and the food is not going to cost you an arm and a leg, taking the entire family is a very smart decision.
The staff at Claude Smith Field is very nice and helpful. It's always good to find staff members that are willing to help people that have never been to the stadium before.
The stadium music makes the trip to Claude Smith Field worthwhile. It's not every day you get to hear Mark Morrison's "Return of the Mack."
The between-inning contests are entertaining, as well. The Bingo game is something I've never seen before, and it's an awesome idea.
Claude Smith Field is not the biggest college baseball stadium is Georgia, and it doesn't have all the features the bigger college stadiums have. But with the combination of easy access to and from the stadium and fans getting to see some high quality baseball, it's a stadium worth checking out.
And with the new renovations coming in 2015, there is no reason not to not take in a game, especially if you are a fan of college baseball.
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4376 Log Cabin Dr
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