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Official Review by Chad Minton, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
Hawkins Field was introduced as Vanderbilt's new baseball field in 2002, and is widely considered one of the premiere baseball facilities in all of college baseball. One of the things that makes Hawkins Field so cool is the brick layout and the black fencing that separates the inside of the stadium from the busy Nashville streets. Hawkins Field was also recently renovated in 2006, which added new seating along the baselines, and even the addition of outfield bleacher seating.
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".
Concession stands really can't get any more generic than what Hawkins Field offers. In fact, there was absolutely nothing that caught the eye. You would expect more options than what a simple little league game would offer at your local ballpark. The pricing is somewhat of a relief, though, as nothing was more than $4, except for the "Commodore Dog", which was just really a basic hot dog.
The weather really seemed to put a damper on things. However, the crowd made plenty of noise when they needed to. As for the complex itself, you couldn't ask for a much better presentation of college baseball. The main scoreboard in left field is of very high quality, with the large Vandy star over it. There are also two smaller scoreboards on each baseline that makes it very convenient when wondering how balls and strikes are on the current batter.
The marketing team probably could've done a better job of getting fans involved in between innings, but the crowd was sparse anyway.
The field is located in a very nice part of town and the campus is absolutely beautiful. It was actually very enjoyable exploring the campus while killing some time before the first pitch. Hawkins Field is also just a few blocks away from West End Avenue, which has a ton of nightlife, music venues and high end restaurants. It's also pretty cool that Hawkins Field sits directly next to both Vanderbilt Stadium and historical Memorial Gymnasium.
Even though the crowd was very thin, I have to give them some slack for sticking it out through very nasty weather. Rain always seems to ruin a good time at the ballpark, but these loyal fans stuck it out through two lengthy rain delays. Kudos to the crowd of just over 2,000 for remaining energetic for their nationally-ranked Commodores.
With that said, you would've liked to have seen a larger turnout for a team with such high expectations in 2012. Even before the first rain delay, the crowd was smaller than I anticipated.
Finding a place to park was a pretty big headache considering it was for a college baseball game. Hawkins Field is located right on Vanderbilt's beautiful campus, but the problem is finding where you're actually allowed to park. Most of the parking lots around the field are reserved for students and faculty.
It actually took me asking a scalper by the entrance where I was allowed to park for a baseball game. He kindly directed me to a parking garage reserved for visitors to the campus, but a few signs supplied by the athletics department would've been nice. Since you're parking in a garage that's just for generic visitors, the prices could seem a little high. For the typical length of a baseball game, you could park for less than $10.
One positive was that the field was just one block away from the visitor's parking garage.
The infield is really where you want to sit to get the most out of Hawkins Field. If you choose that route, then it will run you around $12. That price isn't completely unreasonable considering how close you are to the action, and how comfortable the seating actually is.
The outfield bleachers are under $10, but I feel it would serve you best to spend the extra couple of bucks to get the full experience. I can't help but think you would feel a little cheated by sitting on metal bleachers for a college baseball game.
True baseball fans will not be disappointed with how well put together the complex is. The brick layout and the black fencing make this a gorgeous place to see a game. The miniature "Green Monster" in left field is also pretty cool to see.
Another extra point goes out to some of the funny sound effects that were played throughout the game. For instance, when an opposing player struck out, N'SYNC's "Bye, Bye, Bye" was played as the player took the walk of shame back to the dugout.
Overall, it was a very ordinary experience based on what my initial expectations were. Vanderbilt baseball has a lot of hype surrounding it, but the overall experience failed to live up to that hype. This experience would've been more expected for a much smaller baseball program. The university has done a great job at building a very nice complex, but now that have to do a better job at catering to the fans.
Member Review by VandyDore on Feb 01, 2013
Given that Chad totally missed just about everything about Hawkins Stadium, I suggest you read my comments sent in response to his hack job. I almost doubt he even came to a game, for he MISSED EVERYTHING that he said was missing but that, in truth, is present at Vandy games. Even so, to write a review of a baseball stadium on a rainy day? That is just downright poor journalism. After all, all he had to do was wait until the next day WHEN IT WASN'T RAINING!
Nashville, TN 37203
Nashville, TN 37203
605 8th Ave S
Nashville, TN 37203