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Official Review by James Hilchen, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
Haymarket Park opened in 2001 and is home to the Nebraska Cornhuskers of the Big Ten Conference and the Lincoln Saltdogs of the American Association. The complex also houses Bowlin Stadium, a softball stadium home to the Nebraska Cornhuskers. Prior to 2002, Nebraska played their home games at Buck Beltzer Stadium on the University of Nebraska campus in Lincoln. The stadium was named for Beltzer, a well-known Husker, after a donation from his family in 1979. The Cornhuskers played at “The Buck” through the 2001 season, closing out their tenancy by hosting a Regional and Super Regional for the first time.
In 2002, the Huskers moved to Haymarket Park where they have called home ever since. The stadium has 4,500 seats and can hold an additional 4,000 in the grass berms beyond the outfield wall. The field has won numerous honors for being among the best fields in the country to play on. In 2012, a college baseball writer ranked the field as the fourth best “big game” atmosphere in college baseball. Haymarket Park is the first collegiate venue to use a system (SubAir) that can heat and cool a field year round, a well needed feature in Lincoln.
The Cornhuskers took the field at Haymarket Park for the first time on March 5, 2002 and cruised to a 23-1 victory over Nebraska-Kearney. The Cornhuskers have averaged among the top 20 teams in terms of attendance the majority of the past ten years. In 2005, fans were witness to the Cornhuskers compiling a ridiculous 33-4 record at Haymarket Park.
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".
Pepsi products are the beverage of choice at Haymarket Park. Mountain Dew, Sierra Mist, and Mug Root Beer are available with Pepsi for $3.00 or $3.75 for a souvenir cup. Bottled water ($3.50), Gatorade ($4.00), coffee ($2.00) and hot chocolate ($2.00) are also available.
Standard ballpark food can be had at three different spots in the concourse. Hamburgers ($6.00), BBQ pork sandwiches ($6.50), brats and polish ($4.50), and pizza ($4.00) are among the food items. For snacks, peanuts, popcorn, candy, pretzels, sunflower seeds, etc. are available for about $3.00 to $4.00.
Alcohol is not served at Haymarket Park during Cornhuskers games, but does appear to be available during Saltdogs games.
Haymarket Park has a nice look and makes you think baseball as soon as you walk in the gates. The field is nicely manicured and the concourse is clean. Berm seating is available all the way around the outfield except for a portion of center field that houses some television cameras and serves as the batters eye. The stadium style seating is comfortable and the seats have cup holders. There is a great view of Memorial Stadium, home to Nebraska Cornhuskers football, beyond the left-center field fence. When the game gets started, the design of the stadium makes the crowd noise reverberate around the stadium, making it sound like there are more fans than it appears.
Haymarket Park is located just west of the University of Nebraska campus. Being a college town, there are plenty of places to have a drink and/or a bite to eat before or after the game. Lincoln has a wonderful downtown area, including the capitol building which is worth a visit (free) and less than two miles away. The capitol building was completed in 1932 and the tower can be seen throughout Lincoln.
Located on 8th Street, Brewsky's is one of the places the locals assemble before or after a game. Brewsky's is a great place to stop and is only about a mile and a half from the stadium. The patty melt is very tasty.
Bison Witches Bar & Deli is another stop worth making. There are plenty of choices of beer both domestic, import, and microbrew. The sandwiches and their chips and salsa are delicious.
For lodging, the Cornhusker Hotel is located about two miles southeast of Haymarket Park, in downtown Lincoln. The capitol building is only a few blocks away as are numerous restaurants and bars. The Cornhusker Hotel is part of the Marriott chain and priced as such. For those looking for something a little cheaper, there are numerous choices for lodging about a mile and a half northwest of the stadium, near I-80.
Nebraska fans are a dedicated crowd. They are into the game and know their players. Don't be surprised to hear the majority of the crowd break into the Nebraska fight song between innings. Even when their team is out of the game early, far more fans will remain on-hand than you would expect.
Haymarket Park is easily accessible off of I-180. Parking is free in the lots adjacent to the complex. The concourses are wide and easy to maneuver. There is plenty of seating for handicapped fans and their guests. There are six restrooms throughout the stadium. They are clean and sufficient for a decent sized crowd.
Ticket prices range anywhere from $7-$13. Every seat in the stadium has great views and going with the lower priced tickets will not take away from your experience. Couple the ticket cost with the fact that parking is free and Haymarket Park is a heck of a deal.
There is a large play area for kids in the right field corner. The best part about it is there is plenty of standing room area for parents that want to see the game, yet keep an eye on their kids. A net separates the kids from potentially being hit by a ball.
The concourse has banners hanging up that display all the Cornhuskers conference and post-season honors.
An extra point for the great view of Memorial Stadium, directly across I-180. With the latest expansion, Memorial Stadium holds over 87,000.
Final point for a Cornhuskers merchandise store that carries a large supply of various baseball-specific Cornhusker items.
Haymarket Park is a great place to watch a game. Cornhuskers fans are pleasant and are very into the game and behind their team. The park is aesthetically pleasing and Lincoln is a very nice college town with plenty of other things to do and see. A trip to Haymarket Park should be on the list of any college baseball fan.
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333 S 13th St
Lincoln, NE 68508