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Official Review by Joseph Oakes, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
Across the nation, the popularity of college baseball has increased drastically over the past ten years. This is the case at NC State, as well, as attendance and interest in the Wolfpack baseball program is at an all-time high. A few years ago, extra bleacher seating was added in left field to push the capacity over 3,000, and those seats have remained in place ever since. Much of this increased interest is due to the success the program has experience the past few years. NC State has hosted NCAA regionals in 2012, 2013, and 2016; and hosted the program’s first ever super regional in 2013. That same year (2013) the Pack made their second-ever trip to the College World Series in Omaha. Even though Doak Field may not be considered one of the “premier” ACC venues, it does provide the Wolfpack faithful a wonderful facility to watch some of the best college baseball in the country.
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".
For those fans who come to the ballpark hungry, there are several choices to fulfill their desires. There are two permanent concession stands which offer a wide variety of choices including hamburgers, hot dogs, nachos, popcorn, and peanuts. Prices range from $5 for hamburgers to $4 for nachos, peanuts, and popcorn, and $3 for hot dogs. On select weeknight games, hot dogs are only $1. Howling Cow ice cream, which comes straight from the NC State dairy school, is available for $2 and is a definite hit among Pack fans and alums. Bottled Coke products are offered for $3.
A variety of "fair-type" concession options are available at Doak Field, as well. These include the always popular funnel cakes, fried Oreos, and large pretzels. Iced tea and fresh-squeezed lemonade at these stands adds to the variety of choices available at Doak Field.
If attending on a weeknight, a couple dollar hot dogs and a fresh-squeezed lemonade should be your selection of choice. Otherwise, a hamburger or nachos will be a good choice. Any first-time visitors to NC State should definitely try Howling Cow ice cream.
Since NC State's men's basketball and football teams both play off-campus, it is nice that the baseball facility is still located on-campus. Dormitories rise up beyond the left field wall and pine trees line the right field wall, which give Doak Field a quaint college atmosphere. While the location of Doak Field has been the home of the Pack 9 since 1966, the current seating areas, press box, office tower, concessions, and restrooms were all built in an extensive renovation in 2002.
The majority of the seating at Doak Field is below ground, with a spacious open concourse running above the seating area. All of the seating in this area are red chair back seats, which have cupholders. While chair back seating is nice, these seats are a tad cramped, with not much leg room. At the end of the seating area down the left field line is a spacious grassy berm named Avent's Army after NC State head baseball coach Elliot Avent. This area is a popular spot for students. Above the grassy berm is a section of general admission bleachers.
NC State boasts one of the top turfgrass schools in the nation; therefore, the natural grass surface at Doak Field is one of the nicest playing fields in the nation. There is one section of artificial turf behind the plate, with red Wolfpack letters painted on it. Beyond the right field wall is a large video board that includes the traditional line score, pitch speed, and video replays. After an inning in which the Wolfpack hits a home run or the pitcher has at least two strikeouts, t-shirts are thrown into the crowd. Many weekend games feature promotions, such as giveaways or baseball bingo.
There is not a bad seat in the house at Doak; however, the sun sets over the first base side of the stadium. If you are sitting on the third base side for an early evening game, the sun will be in your eyes until it sets as you look toward home plate. If you enjoy spreading out a little with the family, Avent's Army is the place for you.
Since Doak Field is located on campus, there are no eateries within walking distance of the ballpark. There are three can't miss restaurants within a mile of Doak Field. If you are looking for something quick before or after the game, Cook-Out is the place for you. It is located down the street from campus on Western Boulevard and is famous for its "trays" which feature a burger (or chicken sandwich), two sides, and a drink for less than $5. Amedeo's Italian Restaurant is also located on Western Boulevard and was started by a former Wolfpack football player. There is a large variety of NC State memorabilia located at each booth, and their Italian food is some of the best in the area. Another popular local restaurant is Mitch's Tavern, located on Hillsborough Street across from campus. Part of the movie Bull Durham was filmed at Mitch's; it is where the initial meeting between Kevin Costner and Tim Robbins was filmed.
Being located in Raleigh, there is no shortage of other activities to participate in when visiting the city. A good activity before or after a game would be to take the short drive to downtown Raleigh and take a stroll around the state Capitol. The North Carolina Museum of History and the North Carolina Museum of Science are both located within a block of the state Capitol.
The closest hotel to campus is Aloft Raleigh, located across the street from the NC State Bell Tower. Aloft is a relatively new hotel and gives you easy access to both the NC State campus and downtown Raleigh.
The fan support at most college baseball parks around the country depends on two things: the weather and the time of the game. This is true at NC State, as well. Early-season games on a Tuesday afternoon in 40-degree weather will typically draw less than 1,000 fans. However, as the weather begins to warm up, one can expect 2,500-plus fans, especially for a weekend game. Weeknight games against local rivals, such as East Carolina, will also draw near capacity crowds.
NC State fans are both loyal and passionate, and when the Pack has an ACC power on the ropes, expect the Doak to be rocking. It is not uncommon to hear the Wolf-Pack chant ring out when the Pack is playing well. Pack fans are rough on the umpires. Expect to hear "Come on Blue!" when a ball or strike call does not go the Pack's way.
Aside from rush hour traffic, Doak Field is easily accessible from both I-40 and I-440. If coming to a game on a work night, it is wise to add a few minutes to work your way through Raleigh traffic. Raleigh-Durham International Airport serves the Triangle and is about a 20-minute drive from NC State. Parking for baseball games is free in the West Deck on Varsity Drive, just off of Western Boulevard. It is about a five-minute walk to Doak Field from the West Deck.
There are two entrances for fans at Doak Field with the ticket office between the two gates. While there is a gate down the third baseline, it is reserved for students only. Security is present at the gates, but only check large bags and purses. If you pre-purchase your tickets online, there is the option for mobile ticketing.
Once inside the Doak, you will notice a large concourse that runs above the seating bowl. The concourse offers an outstanding view of the field, and often many Wolfpack faithful will just stand on the concourse to watch the game while talking with other fans. Men's restrooms are on the first base side of the stadium, while women's restrooms are on the third base side. Handicapped seating is available on the concourse above the seating bowl.
A baseball game at Doak Field is a great value for top-quality ACC baseball. Tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for seniors/youth. However, be aware if you purchase tickets online there is a $1.50 fee per ticket and a $5 order charge overall. Free programs and stat sheets are available when you enter the ballpark. Don't forget free parking is also available!
NC State offers a 10-game mini-pack, which enables you to get tickets to 10 games of your choice for either $60 for reserved seats or $30 for the bleachers in left field. Another way to save is to attend on a Sunday when family four packs are offered, which give you four bleacher tickets, four hot dogs or popcorn, and four sodas for only $40.
One neat aspect of attending a game at Doak Field is the duck call that plays over the speakers when "ducks are on the pond" (Pack players on base). This tradition was started by two gentlemen years ago, who would sit behind home plate and blow their duck calls when the Pack had players on base in an attempt to bring them home. For weekend ACC series, both the NC State mascots (Mr. and Mrs. Wuf) are usually in attendance. Another extra at the Doak is the picnic tables on the concourse, which enables families to enjoy their concessions while still watching the game.
While Doak Field may not be as highly regarded as the likes of Doug Kingsmore Stadium or Boshamer Stadium, it is still a great ballpark and fun experience for college baseball.
Follow Joseph Oakes on Twitter @_jcoakes.
Member Review by hhuntley17 on Jun 06, 2013
NC State, like many other Tobacco Road schools, is best known for its basketball. What most people don’t realize is that baseball is also extremely popular in North Carolina. Several Hall of Famers, such as Catfish Hunter and Gaylord Perry, as well as current stars like Josh Hamilton and Madison Bumgarner, all got their start in North Carolina. While many of today’s stars are drafted out of high school, college baseball has remained one of the main attractions in the area. This popularity has even increased in recent years, due to rivals NC State and UNC being ranked in the top 10. While Doak Field may not be the premier college baseball venue, it provides the Wolfpack faithful an affordable opportunity to cheer on their team.
3905 Western Blvd
Raleigh, NC 27606
1 E Edenton St
Raleigh, NC 27601