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Official Review by Lloyd Brown, Stadium Journey Special Correspondent
The Brookhaven Bucks are a wood-bat collegiate summer league team, playing in the Sunbelt League. The Sunbelt League consists of the Bucks, the Atlanta Crackers, the Alpharetta Braves, the Carrollton Clippers, the Gwinnett Tides, the Marietta Patriots, the Norcross Astros and the Phenix City Crawdads. The goal of the wood-bat collegiate leagues is to provide a summer league for promising college baseball players, with an opportunity to hone their talents in the collegiate off-season and provide additional exposure to scouts from professional baseball organizations. The Sunbelt League entered its 11th year of competition in 2016.
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Concessions are available at all Bucks home games. A wide variety of food and drinks is available at very reasonable prices. Gallas Pizza is a sponsor of the team, and they offer both a medium pizza ($3.00) and a Philly cheesesteak ($4.00) as a primary meal. Other items for sale at the concession stand include popcorn ($2.00), chips ($1.00), assorted candies ($1.00), gum (50 cents), Coca Cola products ($1.00) and bottled water ($1.00)..
The Bucks and the Gwinnett Tides are the only Sunbelt teams that play their games at a college stadium, rather than a high school field. Anderson Field at Hermance Stadium is on the campus of Oglethorpe University, a private university located in the northeastern Atlanta suburb of Brookhaven. The university was founded in 1826, and features a liberal arts curriculum on its beautiful, Gothic-style campus.
Hermance Stadium is located immediately to the left of the main entrance of the campus. Visitors to the campus can't miss it, as the exterior of the stadium is along Atlanta's famed Peachtree Road. There is a fascinating story behind this stadium. First, it was built in the years 1925-1929 to serve as a football stadium for Oglethorpe's fledgling gridiron program. Its designers created a Gothic-style structure to complement the other Gothic academic buildings on campus. It includes arched gates, parapets, towers and engraved quotes from various classics. The funds ($50,000) for this initial section of the stadium were provided by Woolworth Company CEO and Oglethorpe Alum Harry Hermance -- a huge sum of money in 1920s dollars. The first section was completed in 1929, with enough seating for 5,000 fans. It was dedicated as Hermance Stadium on October 29, 1929, prior to a game against the University of Dayton. Three days after the stadium was dedicated, the Great Stock Market Crash occurred and the Great Depression set in. Harry Hermance lost his fortune, and the work on the stadium ceased. To this day the stadium stands just as it did in 1929 -- only one-quarter complete. Despite this shortcoming, the stadium is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, due to its unique architecture.
The stoppage in construction has not kept Oglethorpe from fully utilizing the stadium -- other than not fielding a football team. The ornate exterior of the stadium is in stark contrast to the inside stands, as the bleachers are poured concrete and the dugouts are constructed of stone. This facility is built to last, and it has. The stands overlook Anderson Field, which has served as Oglethorpe's athletic field since the 1940's. The field is kept in immaculate condition and has dimensions of 310 feet to left, 320 feet to right, 365 feet to the power alleys and 415 feet to dead center. It is a beautiful place to watch a ballgame, as the Gothic towers and stone academic buildings form a stunning backdrop beyond the outfield walls.
The campus of Oglethorpe University is well worth a tour. Its predominantly Gothic architecture is very reminiscent of Duke University and many of the Ivy League schools, but on a smaller scale.
The city of Brookhaven, which surrounds the school, is one of the more affluent suburban neighborhoods in Atlanta. There are many fine homes, an excellent parks system and a wide variety of dining and shopping options in the area. Town Brookhaven is a work/live/play development located just south of Oglethorpe on Peachtree Rd. It offers more than 50 shops, restaurants and other services, with parking right in front of the shops. Dining and drinking options include the Flying Biscuit Café, Lucky's Burger and Brew and the Olde Blind Dog Irish Pub. Town Brookhaven also has Cinebistro, a gastronomic movie theatre.
Because collegiate wood-bat teams draw their rosters from a wide variety of colleges, there is not a "home-crowd advantage," as far as the students are concerned. A majority of the fans in attendance are parents, friends or teammates of the Bucks players who are from the Atlanta area. The Bucks' roster draws heavily from Georgia schools, but also has members from colleges in Tennessee, Alabama and South Carolina. This does not mean the parents and friends are not loud and supportive of the team. However, the size of Hermance Stadium does make the crowds appear very small.
Accessibility to games at Hermance Stadium is excellent. It is located on Peachtree Road, one of the main traffic arteries in Atlanta. If you are traveling by car, the main entrance to the campus is located adjacent to the stadium. It is also located just two blocks from the Brookhaven MARTA rail station, and is served by the MARTA bus line #23, which has a stop immediately in front of the school. You will enter the stadium at the concourse level, so those with disabilities should have no difficulty in navigating the seating area. Parking is free and plentiful on the campus.
The cost involved in attending a Bucks game is very family friendly. Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for children under the age of 16. Concessions are very reasonably priced, and there is no charge for parking on the campus. Once inside the stadium, all seating is general admission, so you can sit wherever you choose.
Due to its unique architecture, Oglethorpe's campus has been used in a number of movies and television shows. These include Vacation (the remake of the Chevy Chase classic); Satisfaction (USA network); Constantine (CBS) and the CW network's Vampire Diaries. It does not hurt that a funeral home is the University's next door neighbor!
Be careful in entering the "Peachtree" address into your GPS. Oglethorpe's home address is one of more than 300 streets in Atlanta that include the word Peachtree.
Atlanta's Peachtree Road Race draws 55,000 runners each 4th of July for the country's largest 10K race. The start line is just south of the Oglethorpe campus.
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705 Town Blvd #480
Atlanta, GA 30319
305 Brookhaven Ave #1250
Atlanta, GA 30319
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