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Official Review by Aaron S. Terry, Stadium Journey Special Correspondent
Bucknell University is located in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. The baseball stadium here is named after Eugene Depew, who coached Bucknell’s baseball squad for thirty years in the 80s, 90s, and 00s, and is the longest serving baseball coach in the history of the program. Bucknell currently competes in the Patriot League in NCAA Division I, which only has six baseball schools including Bucknell. The stadium was built in 1990, but was re-named Depew Field in 2003, so Depew actually coached here for almost a decade while it was named after him.
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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".
Like many smaller schools, Bucknell offers concessions from a mobile trailer, so the selection is a bit limited, but there are a few interesting items, including soup, iced tea, and hot tea, and the prices are low. Hot dogs are $2.50, peanuts are $2, pretzels are $1.75 (note that they are smaller however than the ones you usually find at stadiums), candy is $1.50, chips are $1, and soup is $2 - different varieties are available on different days, including chili on some days, clam chowder on others, etc. There are actually more drink options than food options, including iced tea for $2-$3, PowerAde, bottled water, or soda for $2, hot cocoa for $1.50, and coffee or hot tea for $1.25.
The field itself at Depew is state of the art due to recent renovations, but the facilities and amenities leave a lot to be desired. First of all there is not even an actual grandstand, just several sets of low metal bleachers (without chair backs), so while you are technically closer to the action it is a little difficult to see. In fact, a lot of fans don't even sit on the bleachers, but instead bring chairs and sit farther back on the sidewalk or on the hill overlooking first base. The stated capacity of the bleachers is 500, but it is probably closer to 350 or 400, and the bleachers at the adjacent softball field are actually nicer.
The second issue is that there is not a real press box, just a mobile wooden trailer. This may not seem like an issue to some, but the impact to fans is that one set of bleachers is pushed further away from home plate than would be ideal, because that space is taken up by the trailer. There are also batting cages and such along that same side, which force the bleachers even further to the left; the training paraphernalia at least should have been located elsewhere, and will have to be moved in any case if Bucknell ever builds a grandstand at Depew. It is interesting that the visiting fans tend to cluster on that more distant set of bleachers, and not the home crowd - perhaps this placement was intentional?
In the immediate vicinity of Depew Field are several other athletic fields, including the soccer field, the football stadium, and the softball field, as well as several small dorms. If you are looking for something to do before or after the game, nearby Market Street is the place to be at Bucknell. Located about a mile from the baseball diamond, Market is your classic college strip replete with restaurants and bars, a movie theater, and of course shopping.
The Smiling Chameleon offers 30 drafts on tap, as well as sandwiches, sliders, several pasta options, and a variety of seafood dishes. The Towne Tavern is another good option, albeit a little more expensive, but with more typical bar fare including burgers, bar plates, and several dessert options.
Probably the best thing about Market Street, however, is the architecture. Lewisburg is a historic town, and the architecture on Market reflects that. The buildings and homes tend to be row style, but with facades that vary in color and material (some stone, some brick, etc.) so it offers some nice variety while still providing a pleasing aesthetic.
If you plan to stay for the weekend, and maybe take in a whole series, there are several hotels within a few miles of the field, including Days Inn, Best Western, Comfort Suites, and several local chains.
In terms of local attractions, the Little League Museum in nearby South Williamsport (about half an hour or 40 minutes north of Lewisburg) is well worth a visit. Completely redone in 2012-13, the artifacts and interactive displays powerfully showcase not only the game but also its impact on US and world history, as well as its influence on sports safety for baseball and numerous other sports as well. Admission is $5 for adults and $2 for kids 5 and older (free for younger children). The museum is open daily from 9 am to 5 pm.
Bucknell draws a good crowd, although not many of them tend to wear team gear, and there is none for sale at the field. The fans do come prepared for the game. Many of them bring their own chairs and sit further back than the stands. So while the bleachers themselves may not be full, there is still some pretty good crowd noise. Of the three sections of bleachers, the one nearest third base seems to be unofficially reserved for the visiting fans, and most of them do wear gear, and don't bother to bring their own chairs since there is no higher ground over there to occupy.
Lewisburg, Pennsylvania is not hard to find - it is located in a rural area a few miles southwest of I-80, but not so far away you have to be on local roads for too long. There is plenty of free parking all around the field, although most of it is fairly close to the fence so beware of balls hitting your car. There are bathrooms near the stadium, but not on site per se - they are located in a separate building behind the outfield so there is a little bit of a walk to get to them; not the kind you probably want to send your kid to unescorted since he or she would be well out of sight.
As with many smaller parks they don't sell tickets to baseball games at Bucknell, so admission is free, as is parking. Concessions are on the very cheap side, so a pretty cheap date to take in a game here. There is some decent crowd noise, and you can get very close to the action if you are into taking pics to slap on Facebook, so certainly worthwhile in terms of value for the money. The Little League Museum is reasonably close, so for the true baseball fan this is a great choice for a weekend trip to see some games and immerse yourself a little in the history of the game.
One point for the Little League Museum since it provides a related attraction that perfectly complements the action on the field.
A second point for the state of the art field - even though it contrasts a bit with the lack of amenities at Depew, it is a nice playing surface with modern fences, dugouts, and backstop.
A third point for the architecture on Market Street. Nothing to do with baseball I know, but it adds to the beauty of the campus and makes for a more interesting trip since a lot of your time during a visit will be spent off the diamond.
A good place to see a game - while it lacks the amenities of many of the larger parks, if you can overlook that you will find a great playing surface, and there are a lot of cool things to do in the area before or after the game.
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313 N Derr Dr
Lewisburg, PA 17837