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Official Review by Lloyd Brown, Stadium Journey Special Correspondent
The University of the Incarnate Word is the largest Catholic university in Texas, and the fourth-largest private university in Texas, as it has more than 10,000 students. UIW is located in the Brackenridge section of San Antonio on a lushly-landscaped campus. The university was founded in 1881 by the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word. Volunteerism is stressed strongly by the school, and there is a required number of service hours for students each year in order to graduate. The curriculum is heavily health-oriented, as UIW has Schools of Optometry, Pharmacy, Nursing & Health Professions and Physical Therapy.
In sports, UIW teams are known as the Cardinals, and they compete in the Southland Conference. The other members of the conference are Abilene Christian, Central Arkansas, Houston Baptist, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, Lamar, McNeese State, the University of New Orleans, Nicholls State, Northwestern State, Sam Houston State, Southeastern Louisiana and Stephen F. Austin.
The home field for Cardinal games is Daniel Sullivan Field. It opened in 1989, and has a seating capacity of 1,000. It features a natural grass field, and has dimensions of 335 to left field, 407 to deep center and 335 down the right field line. Beyond the outfield walls is a wooded area, which provides an excellent backdrop for the hitters.
Seating at Sullivan Field is primarily in an elevated bleacher section behind home plate. It features a mixture of seat backs and aluminum bench seating. It is wise to bring along a seat cushion, as the Texas heat can warm up the bleachers rather quickly. Speaking of avoiding the heat, Sullivan Field has two picnic pavilion-like structures with seat back seating at ground level down both baselines. These can provide both substantial shelter from the heat and a great view of the game action.
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 concession stand at Sullivan Field is located just off the first baseline, and allows a view of the game while you are making your purchases. For a unique taste of Texas, try one of their Frito Pies, which sell for $4. The remaining food offerings are standard baseball fare: hot dogs ($3) and nachos ($4) top the list. Pickles, popcorn, candy and chips are all priced at $2. The drink selections feature Coca-Cola products, and consist of sodas ($3), Powerade ($4), bottled water ($3), Monster energy drinks ($4), and on a rare cold day, hot chocolate for $3. No alcoholic beverages are available at Sullivan Field.
Sullivan Field is a great place to watch a ball game, as there is not a bad seat in the house. Whether you choose the elevated section behind home plate or one of the covered pavilions at field level, you have a great view of the action. A majority of the seats in the bleachers have chairbacks, and all of the seats under the pavilion are molded stadium seats with cup holders. UIW has done a great job of keeping as much wooded cover for fan comfort as possible outside of the playing field, which is great on a hot Texas afternoon. While the scoreboard really carries only the basic line score of the game, the professional announcer keeps the fans well-infomed on the stats and scores from other nearby games.
There is no cost to attend a UIW Cardinal game, which allows you the freedom to move around and get different perspectives of the game. The pavilion seats are usually the first occupied, as they provide a field-level view of the action.
Within the perimeter fences of the field, there is plenty of space to mill around with your friends without obstructing the view of the other fans. A centralized concession stand/restroom building is located on the first base side of the field and it is well staffed throughout the game.
UIW is located in the Broadway District of San Antonio, which is northeast of the downtown area. It is primarily a commercial area. There are two attractions close to the campus that are worth a visit; the San Antonio Zoo and the San Antonio Botanical Gardens. On the food front, there are two restaurants of note that are within easy walking distance of the university campus. The first is Paloma Blanca, an upscale Mexican restaurant four blocks from the campus . The second is Cheesy Jane's, a burger diner that is very popular with the UIW student body. It literally is located across Broadway Street from the campus. There are no lodging accommodations within walking distance of the campus, as a majority of the hotels and motels are located in downtown San Antonio, close to the Riverwalk and the Alamo.
In the broader sense of neighborhood, San Antonio is a wonderful place to spend a long weekend, as there is so much to see and do. Obviously the Alamo and the Riverwalk are atop anyone's tourism bucket list. However there are some lesser-known attractions that are well worth a visit. The King George District is famous for its old homes, as well as lots of artsy galleries and funky restaurants. The Mission Trail just outside of town features many of the Spanish Missions that are more than 300 years old. You can always close out your long day with a visit to El Mercado for a great meal at Mi Tierra. It is open 24 hours a day, and features some of the best Mexican food in Texas.
UIW students are very supportive of the baseball team, as Sullivan Field is adjacent to many of the housing facilities on campus. They turn out in large numbers and proudly wear the red, black and white colors of the Cardinals. Student organizations are encouraged to promote themselves at games, concerts and other campus activities, building a sense of true community amongst the student body. UIW is a Catholic university that is mission-driven, so there is a large international population at the school, The students from the Carribean and Mexico are especially fervent supporters of the baseball program.
Due to the outreach UIW does in its immediate community, the neighborhood surrounding the university is very involved in activities on the campus. There are no town/gown squabbles at this school. The school welcomes its neighbors, many of whom are on fixed incomes, to enjoy the campus offerings at no charge.
Getting to and from the UIW is very easy, as it as located at the intersection of two major San Antonio traffic arteries, Broadway Street and Highway 281. It is less than a 15-minute drive from San Antonio's International Airport, and is also served by public transportation. Once you are at UIW, head to the northwestern portion of the campus, the site of the Cardinal athletic facilities. Sullivan Field is just north of the Benson Football Stadium. There is a large parking deck nearby, but it carries a fee. For Cardinal baseball, the ground surface lot is typically able to handle a baseball crowd, and it is free.
It is hard to beat the deal you get at Sullivan Field, from an economic perspective. There is no charge to attend a game, the parking is free (a rarity in a city the size of San Antonio) and the concessions are quite reasonable. The lodging around UIW is about 20-30 percent lower than the hotels in the more touristy sections of town near the Alamo and the Riverwalk.
The University of the Incarnate Word has a lovely wooded campus, beautiful architecture and some wonderful statuary at multiple points on campus. It is well worth it to arrive early for a game and just walk around the campus.
San Antonio has multiple tourist attractions that make it a great place for a three-day weekend getaway. Less than five miles from UIW are the famed Alamo and the Riverwalk
Located just blocks from UIW are the San Antonio Zoo and Botanical Gardens, which feature predominantly Southwestern flora and fauna, which is very different from botanical gardens in the east.
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5800 Broadway St #300
San Antonio, TX 78209
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