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Official Review by Andy Mantsch, Stadium Journey Special Correspondent
Tucked away in the uniquely artsy town of Asheville, North Carolina, Greenwood Baseball Field has been the home to the UNC-Asheville Bulldogs baseball team since 1988. Members of the Big South, the Bulldogs' baseball tradition is pretty much limited to one Big South Tournament title in 2006.
At a capacity of 1,000, Greenwood Baseball Field largely reflects the team's lackluster on-field prowess. But if that is any indication, there may be good news coming for Bulldogs fans. The stadium itself is under a gradual $2.5-million renovation funded by what's being called the "Homerun Campaign." Boasting improvements such as an all-turf field and stadium seating around home plate, the hope is that as the stadium improves, so will Bulldog baseball tradition.
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".
There is one concession stand located in a lone building separating left field and the track facilities. This is the only (as of yet) modernized portion of the ballpark, and is a first step towards the future.
The offerings are very limited, with the primary option being $4 hot dogs and a smattering of other standard ballpark food. Snacks and candy can also be purchased here.
Soda and water are available for $2 a piece, as well.
Options in general are very limited, but a hot dog and a soda are pretty standard for your average ballpark visitor.
Aside from a handful of passionate fans and a beautiful backdrop, Greenwood Baseball Field doesn't offer much in the way of game day frills.
The stadium is essentially the playing field, with two small bleachers on the first and third base sides and a makeshift raised press box behind home plate. There is a concourse down the left field side towards the concession stand that separates the baseball field from the track and field facilities. Oddly, there are no seats behind home plate or along the netting. This means that you don't have a whole lot of options, in terms of field view.
There really isn't anything particularly captivating about the playing field, either. It's ringed by a standard padded fence, with an old scoreboard in left-center field. It will be interesting to see what happens here as the Homerun Campaign moves forward, as the plans should definitely add a lot more character to the park.
In-game promotion is pretty limited, in general. There's walk-up music and a PA announcer calls out names, but there's really nothing else to look forward to.Essentially, your choices are the bleachers behind third base or the bleachers behind first base. The view is about the same, but the concessions and rest rooms are on the first base side. That's about as much of a deciding factor as you're going to get here.
While the immediate area right around campus is wooded and serene, the larger area of Asheville is a gem of a city in the North Carolina mountains. The campus is located just a short drive north of town on hilltops in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains. There's not really anything but the campus within walking distance, but there's good stuff just a short drive away.
Asheville is known for great restaurants with a variety of cuisine. Local farm-to-table eats are popular here, so you can't really go wrong with your choices. On the slightly more pricey end of things, Curate Tapas Bar is frequently rated the top restaurant in the area, and specializes in delicious Spanish cuisine. Sierra Nevada Brewing Company is both a great place to grab a drink and some food, but make sure you make a reservation, because it can get quite crowded. But really, pick your poison here. There are more great restaurants than you can eat at in a month, let alone a short trip.
Asheville is also chock-full of attractions and activities, as well. Whether it be hiking, breweries or concert venues, there's an abundance to partake in here. The most famous Asheville venue is the Biltmore, the massive mansion and grounds once owned by George W. Vanderbilt. Take a whole day to tour the house, taste wine and explore the massive property. And while nature lovers have an infinite number of reasons to love Asheville, the North Carolina Arboretum makes for a wonderful day spent looking at gardens, sculptures and even banzai trees.
There aren't many hotels around campus, so you're better off staying anywhere near downtown. This is probably better, regardless, since most of the attractions are in that area. Options here will be abundant, but the Hyatt Place Asheville/Downtown is on the north side of the city along 240, meaning you'll have an easy drive to campus.
I'd love to tell you that UNC-Asheville baseball makes up for its lackluster facilities with great fan support, but it just isn't that impressive.
There will be a smattering of fans in both bleacher sections. Most of the Big South teams are an easy drive to centrally-located Asheville, so the first base bleacher section will be largely filled with opposing fans. At capacity of only a thousand, you'd expect the stadium not to feel so sparsely attended.
There are some engaged fans that attend the game. They seem to know enough about the players and team in general, but with attendance being so low, we're probably talking about the die-hard fans that show up at most parks, anyways. It may even be families and friends. The crowd is too small to be much of an impact on the atmosphere.
The campus location is located conveniently off of I-240 north of Asheville, but it's far enough from the bustle and parking problems of downtown that it feels remote. Getting to campus from town will always be easy. As I-40 and I-26 intersect in Asheville, that can be a notorious traffic location on your way into town from the south or west, so plan accordingly.
While there is a campus shuttle that will take you around campus, should you need it, there is a sufficient free parking lot just outside the stadium gates that essentially eliminates this necessity.
There's one main gate to enter and it's cash-only for tickets, so bring $6, and your experience will be simple.
Once through the gate, you're basically facing a grassy area where you can go right to get to the first base bleachers or left to get to the third base bleachers and concourse with concessions and facilities. There's very little traffic, and it's easy to get around to wherever you want to go.
To be honest, you're not getting much bang for the buck here. While it may not be expensive, it's also not a great venue.
Parking is free, but tickets run you $6. That's not an awful price, but for a low-level college baseball park, they can be considerably cheaper around the country -- if not free. Food is limited but affordable, but again, you could probably get hot dogs for less than $4 at other venues.
The venue itself offers very little in terms of extras. But if this is a weekend trip, you'll find that Asheville is quietly one of the best cities in the countries. Known throughout the surrounding states as an awesome place for weekend trips, it's full of music scenes, breweries, historical attractions and hiking in the mountains along the Blue Ridge Parkway. Mediocre ballpark aside, Asheville makes a spectacular visit beyond a three-hour baseball game.
There may be a brighter future coming for Greenwood Baseball Field. Renovations have already started, with bigger plans down the road. Hopefully soon, a UNC Asheville game will be on par with the vibrant culture in its home city.
Member Review by lloyd.brown on Mar 25, 2015
The University of North Carolina-Asheville is a division of the North Carolina University System. Located in a residential area of Asheville, UNCA has a student body of 3,700 with a focus on a liberal arts education.
UNCA athletic teams are known as the Bulldogs and they compete in the Big South Conference. Members of this conference include Radford University, Campbell University, Charleston Southern, Coastal Carolina, Gardner Webb, High Point, Presbyterian, VMI and Winthrop College.
The Bulldogs call Greenwood Field their home. Located on the north side of the suburban campus, Greenwood Field was built in 1988 and has a seating capacity of 400, with plenty of additional room for fans to watch from a berm overlooking the outfield. The university is presently conducting the “Hit a Home Run for Greenwood” capital campaign to bring the field up to Big South Conference minimum standards. During this period, a fair evaluation of the stadium would rate it an “incomplete,” as there is active construction going on adjacent to the field during the 2015 season. Such integral parts of the site such as restrooms, concessions areas, and even the press box are temporary structures such as tents and porta-johns.
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