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Official Review by Benjamin Evensen, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
Located on the beautiful campus of the University of Washington, Husky Ballpark is home to the Washington Husky baseball team. Originally opened in 1998, the ballpark underwent major renovations from 2011 to 2014. The renovations included a 2,200 seat covered grandstand, press box and suites, and new team locker rooms. The stadium holds 3,200 people, and is one of the most impressive ballparks I have ever seen. With views of Mount Rainier and Husky Stadium beyond the fences, it truly is a sight to be seen.
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".
As impressive as the stadium is, the food is severely lacking. The menu is small, with basic Coke products, hot dogs, pretzels, and a small selection of candy. The prices are very high too, as it is $7.50 just for a hot dog. I only purchased a soda for myself, a medium coke, and paid $4.
Just by sitting in Husky Ballpark, you instantly feel like you are in a very modern and new ballpark. Everything is very clean and organized, and the seats are very comfy. The new covered grandstand provides shade for those who want it, but if you want to be in the sun there are open bleachers along the first and third base lines.
All seats are good seats in a small park like this, and there is a lot of fan interaction. Between every inning the video board in the outfield is showing something, and the PA announcer is loud and helps get the fans into the game. An interesting thing to note is that only the pitcher's mound is made out of dirt. Not only the field, but the batter's box and base paths are all field turf. Despite this, they all are painted brown with the lines painted on too.
The ballpark is located right on the UW campus, but luckily on the very north edge. This provides easy access to U-Village, a large shopping center with many restaurants within walking distance. Since you are on the campus, if you have extra time, I would suggest taking a walk around it.
It was a very warm and sunny evening at first pitch, so weather was not a concern at the game I attended. The ballpark was about half full, and for a college baseball game that seems normal. The fans there don't seem to be extra passionate about Husky baseball, but are just Husky fans in general. There are a few students there too. But nobody is out of hand, and everyone seems to be paying attention to the game.
The UW campus can be difficult to get to, and at rush hour it becomes even more difficult. Just next to the campus is a very busy road that can be bumper to bumper for hours, including during first pitch. Not to mention there has been lot of construction in the area for the past couple years, and will continue through 2016.
The ballpark shares the football stadium's parking lot, so there is more than enough parking. Yet the charge is $8 to park here, which is almost half of what the actual ticket to get into the game costs (my ticket was $16.50 for seats behind home plate). If you are not prepared to pay that much, there are no other close places to park, and you must get back into the busy traffic to find an ATM or another parking lot for a long walk.
Overall, it is a very nice experience aside from parking. The ballpark is very nice and clean, and has lots of shade on warm days. With the views of Mount Rainier and Husky Stadium, along with the laid back, family friendly atmosphere, it is well worth the money. As long as you eat before the game and are prepared to pay $8 for parking, you should have no problems with your visit.
Husky Ballpark has a few nice extras of note. There are banners of former Husky legends, including Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum, which are fun to see. The outfield walls have the conference championships and NCAA Tournament appearances painted on the walls. But the gorgeous views are really special. Beyond the fences sit Mount Rainier, the Cascade foothills, Union Bay, and the vibrant green colors that represent the Pacific Northwest.
Simply put, Husky Ballpark is outstanding. The views can take your breath away on a sunny day, and the atmosphere is very relaxing. Aside from the prices of food and parking, Husky Ballpark is a great place to watch D-I baseball with the whole family.
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