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Official Review by James Hilchen, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
Duane Banks Field, originally the Iowa baseball field, opened in 1974 when Duane Banks was the manager. The Hawkeyes went on to tie for the Big Ten Conference that season with an 11-4 conference record. Banks was a legendary coach for the Iowa Hawkeyes baseball team, taking over in 1970 and remaining head coach until the end of the 1997 season. Banks compiled an 810-575-4 record in his tenure at Iowa and led the Hawkeyes to their only College World Series appearance in 1972. In 2001, the Iowa baseball field was renamed Duane Banks Field.
Upgrades have been made to the stadium over the years including stadium chair back seats behind home plate in order to entice season ticket holders. Wooden bleachers were replaced with metal bleachers on either side of the stadium seats and fencing and drainage were also improved. Lights were installed in 2002, and paid for by a donation by former Hawkeye and major league pitcher, Cal Eldred. Other Hawkeye alums that went on to play in major league baseball are: Jim Sundberg, Mike Boddicker, Wes Obermueller, and current Houston Astros manager, Bo Porter.
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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".
The lone concession stand is on the third base side and a bit pricey. There is nothing fancy on the menu but there are a few choices. Cheeseburgers ($6.00), walking tacos ($6.00), brats ($4.50), and hot dogs ($3.50) are your main choices. For snacks, the traditional nachos ($4.50), popcorn ($3.00 or $4.00), pretzels ($3.50), and ice cream ($4.00) are available.
Coke products are available albeit a little expensive at $4.00 a bottle. In addition, water ($4.00), iced tea ($5.00), Powerade ($4.50), and coffee/hot chocolate ($3.50) are sold. No alcoholic beverages are available.
Duane Banks Field is a pleasant place to watch a game. There are no bad seats although sitting on bleachers for the duration of the game can be a little uncomfortable. Herky the Hawk makes his way around the stands, keeping the crowd into the game and trying to entertain the kids at the same time. The walk-up music for the players adds a little to the enjoyment of the game. For those that choose to sit in the grass, the outfield fence is chain link and there is plenty of room to sit and watch the game from the outfield.
Duane Banks Field is located amongst the other sports stadiums on the University of Iowa campus and, frankly, there is nothing to see. However, there is plenty to do and see in Iowa City, all within a few miles of the sports stadiums. If you are looking for somewhere to have a drink before or after the game, the Vine Tavern and Eatery and the Wig and Pen Pizza Pub are directly across Second Street. Vine Tavern was completely jammed with people so I chose Wig and Pen which was also very busy. I wasn't overly hungry so I went with their onion rings which were very tasty. They have a wide variety of drinks available, whatever your preference, and the pizza looked and smelled quite good.
For those that like the outdoors, there are plenty of parks as the Iowa River runs through Iowa City. The scenery is gorgeous and while plenty of people were out enjoying the weather, the parks didn't seem overcrowded. Less than two miles east are a couple places definitely worth seeing. The University Of Iowa Museum Of Natural History and the Old Capitol Museum are downtown. The Old Capitol Museum, built in 1840, was where Iowa made the transition to statehood. The old building is well worth seeing and the architecture is tremendous. The Natural History Museum is great for kids. Both have free admission and are well worth a look.
Directly across the street from the Old Capitol Museum is The Airliner Bar. The Airliner has a tremendous atmosphere, plenty of televisions for sports of all kinds, and daily food and drink specials. Much like Vine Tavern and Wig and Pen, Airliner was jammed and people were having a good time.
The fans started out a lively bunch, led by Herky the Hawkeye. The day of my visit happened to coincide with the public spring practice of the Hawkeye football team so the crowd really thinned out after a few innings. The remaining fans were a combination of a small, dedicated group, and some folks were there for reasons that seemed to have nothing to do with actually watching the game.
The field is located a couple miles off I-80. Parking is free and there is plenty of it when there aren't other bigger sporting events going on concurrently. Duane Banks Field is easy to get in and around. The walkways at the bottom of the seating bowl are wide and there are no problems maneuvering around the seating bowl. Restrooms are an issue. They are located on the third base side, are not overly large, and could use some upgrading. They are handicap accessible.
It's hard to beat the cost of attending a game here. Adult tickets are $3 and kids get in free. The ticket prices coupled with the free parking make the high food and drink prices much more palatable. Although the majority of the seats are bleachers, the views are good and you can't find bargains like this much anymore.
A rarity in college baseball, Herky's Locker Room has a stand on the third base side. Here, you can buy Iowa Hawkeye shirts, hats, and other Hawkeye merchandise.
Something I have never seen before was the foul ball policy. Apparently, baseballs in college are at a premium. As such, you are required to return foul balls. If a ball goes out of the seating bowl and you bring it to the press box, you get a gift for bringing it back. The announcements were made although I never saw anyone actually bring one back so I cannot say what the gifts are.
Programs are free upon entry to the stadium.
Iowa City is a great town with plenty to do and see. The town is very proud of their Hawkeyes and you will see Hawkeye merchandise wherever you go. Duane Banks Field is a fun place to watch a game. The price is right and the fans are pleasant. That can be said for all the Hawkeye's sports I have experienced. If you find yourself in the area, a trip to Duane Banks Field is worth the trip.
Member Review by Daniel Armstrong on Apr 24, 2012
Iowa. The Final Frontier . . . . Wait, no, that’s not quite right. Although driving through the miles and miles of corn fields and wheat farms along the road to Iowa City could give you that impression. Nestled in the center of the west campus hospital and athletic complex of the University of Iowa is Duane Banks Field home of the Iowa Hawkeyes baseball team. The historic stadium was constructed in 1974 and renamed for legendary Iowa head coach Duane Banks in 2002. A series of annual upgrades through the turn of the century including a beautiful new playing surface in 2010 put Duane Banks Field right up there with the best in the Midwest of NCAA baseball facilities.
39 Second St
Coralville, IA 52241
1220 Hwy 6 West
Coralville, IA 52246
22 South Clinton St
Iowa City, IA 52240
118 E Washington St
Iowa City, IA 52240
21 Old Capitol
Iowa City, IA 52242
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