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Official Review by Ryan Norris, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
UC Davis is relatively new to the NCAA Division I scene and their facilities are equal to the level of play they are now playing in.
Dobbins Baseball Complex opened in 1986 as Community Stadium after being “built almost completely with volunteer time, materials and funds” according to the 2013 media guide. In 2002, Dobbins was upgraded with permanent restrooms and concession stands as well as a press box. These additions could help to make Davis a legitimate host for the NCAA regionals.
Perhaps the most well-known former Aggies baseball player is Daniel Descalso, current infielder of the St. Louis Cardinals.
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".
Dobbins Baseball Complex is a cash-only facility and there is one concession stand. Their entrees (hot dogs, polish dogs, nachos, soft pretzel) are reasonably priced between $3.50 and $5.50, while their peripheral items like sunflower seeds and candy are at a high $3 clip.
Bottled soda and water, Minute Maid juices, hot chocolate, and coffee are available from $3 to $3.50.
No alcohol is served at Dobbins Baseball Complex.
I really enjoyed my experience at the Davis baseball game. It's certainly a baseball-only experience but that is a good thing in this case.
All of the seating aside from right behind home plate is bleacher seating. Fortunately all of the bleachers had backs to them and went well down each base line. This is nice as you're able to move around to take in the game from different viewpoints. My favorite spot to sit is about halfway up the 10 rows of bleachers, in line with far end of the dugout. This allows fans to be clear of the backstop netting and close to the action.
In one of the more unique aspects at a stadium I've seen, Dobbins and adjacent Aggie Soccer Field share a concourse. Therefore, when you walk down the concourse you turn right down the stairs to baseball seating and left down the stairs to soccer seating. The soccer seating has an awning while the baseball seating does not.
The playing surface is probably the best I've seen amongst Northern California college stadiums. It makes for a clean look to go with clean lines of the seating.
Dobbins Baseball Complex shares a parking lot with the Activities & Recreation Center and The Pavilion, home of the Aggie basketball team. Aggie Stadium is a few blocks southwest of the baseball field.
The UC Davis campus butts up against the downtown Davis neighborhood. This area is a vibrant mix of students and families and visitors should take advantage of the atmosphere that the neighborhood provides.
Popular restaurants downtown are Froggy's Grill, Woodstock's Pizza, and Burgers and Brew.
The best place for a pregame beer is The Grad. It's your typical college-town sports bar with plenty of TVs, 50 plus beers on tap, and a full kitchen. All this within staggering distance to the front gates.
Microbrew enthusiasts take note that there is indeed a brewery in Davis serving up some suds. Sudwerk is a brewery that creates their own versions of traditional German-style beers while still providing some of the California staples like pale ales and IPAs.
A farmer's market is held year-round, rain or shine, on Saturdays at Central Park.
One of my favorite things about visiting the UC Davis campus is all the activities that students take part in on a sunny day. Just beyond the right field wall was a huge green open-space where there were four ultimate frisbee games going on. On the other side of campus, a rugby match was taking place. It seems students make sure to get out and exercise on the weekends.
Aggie baseball fans seem on-par with the rest of the college baseball landscape. They are polite and altogether engaged in the game. Most of the fans were gathered near home plate while they were otherwise sprinkled down the baselines.
There were quite a few students that were there taking advantage of the free admission to the baseball game.
I should mention the strong showing the fans from Cal-State Fullerton who probably made up about a third of the fans in attendance. I've seen Fullerton play on the road twice now and both times many of their fans were in attendance.
The UC Davis campus is located conveniently off of highway 80, 15 miles west of Sacramento and 75 miles east of San Francisco. Getting there isn't difficult but you should certainly expect significant traffic during peak hours after work.
Downtown Davis is easy to get around for first-timers as many of the streets progress numerically and alphabetically, so you never feel like you're unsure of your location. There is a local bus service, UniTrans, operated by UC Davis that services much of the city and all of the campus. Buses are driven by university students and cater to the inevitably odd schedules of college students.
Beyond the local buses, there is also an Amtrak stop that stops downtown. This train goes through Sacramento with bus connections that can take passengers as far as Tahoe and Reno. Going the other direction, the "Capitol Corridor" train passes through Berkeley, Oakland, and San Jose, with connections to San Francisco.
The parking lot is right next to Dobbins Baseball Complex and is free on weekends. There may be a small fee during normal school hours.
Once inside the baseball stadium getting around is a breeze as there are plenty of walkways to get you where you need to go. Restrooms are clean and plenty for the amount of patrons. The one place things back up a bit is at the concession stand as its line uses the walkway between itself and the press box.
General admission tickets are $8 and parking was free the day that I went. There isn't much in the way of extras at Dobbins but you can't beat the price to catch a game. You can bring in your own snacks so you can avoid any additional expenses. I'd make a whole day of it and hit a nearby restaurant or bar.
There is no reason to award extra points for extras. The closest item would be their new scoreboard in right-centerfield. I really wish they would find a place to honor the greatest players and teams from their history like many other schools do.
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