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Official Review by Chris Green, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
Taking in a baseball game at Nova Southeastern University is a different experience from most lower-level college programs. It is a small yet beautiful facility that is well-maintained, fan-friendly, and makes the program look like a top-quality team is being fielded here at the stadium. Nestled in the middle of suburban Fort Lauderdale, this is definitely a hidden gem with a few rough edges.
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".
Much like the softball stadium adjacent to the baseball field, there isn't much to pick from at Nova for concessions. There is just one food station for fans situated in a what looks like a mini-garage shed right inside the main entrance. Food choices are limited to mostly chips, candy, a hot dog, or various sodas and water. While the choices are limited, prices are low, equivalent to high school sports, with a hot dog, chips, and a Coke running $5 or less.
You wouldn't believe that this wasn't at least a Division I baseball facility. The stadium itself is very nice. The field is well-manicured, and the surroundings are quite pretty. In fact, the NSU baseball complex was honored in 2009 with the Field of Excellence Award, sponsored by Pioneer Athletics, which honors outstanding athletic fields and the hardworking field crews who diligently maintain them. Pioneer has provided the NSU Baseball Complex with a banner that hangs at the field showing off their honor.
Parking is available in multiple places for baseball, so getting a spot isn't hard. There is a parking lot located directly behind the bleachers along the first base line, as well as the HPD Parking Garage located directly behind center field.
The PA system is always booming with music before games as the teams warm up. The scoreboard is clear and easy to read even at a distance, and the buildings that line the outfield provide for a nice backdrop as the sun sets.
One of the best things about the field is the unique vantage point for fans along the right field wall. A large open picnic area with benches and trees to sit under offers a great place to grab some food and take in a game. You can even stand along the right field fence under the catch-netting for an up-close view.
There isn't anything spectacular about the area around Nova Southeastern University. The area is mostly middle-income residential mixed with dense industrial warehouses and parking lots for trucks and county vehicles; Davie, Florida, is a somewhat bland-looking neighborhood. You don't feel impressed by it, but it isn't dark and ominous, either. If you need somewhere to stay, there are a few small chain hotels around, but they are about a five-to-ten minute drive away. Fort. Lauderdale is only ten minutes' drive east, so if you want something a little more upscale, feel free to venture over that way to find somewhere more to your liking.
In addition, there are some shopping centers and restaurants nearby, and Sawgrass Mills Mall is about 15 minutes northwest of the college.
The fans are hardcore. The fans are surprisingly loyal, with the stands remaining pretty full for most games, a rarity in the world of lower-division and junior college athletics. To that point, the fans are also very sport and team knowledgeable, making them die-hards in a part of the country where loyal die-hard sports fans are hard to come by. And one of the best things is the lack of cursing and swearing at their games, making them very family friendly events.
The process of finding Nova Southeastern University may be hard, depending on the time of day.
Getting to NSU baseball isn't hard to do. The field and campus is right off of I-595. But the issue here is the traffic. This is one of the most intensely congested highways in South Florida, as it runs east and west between I-75 (which connects the western Florida coast with the greater Miami area) and Fort Lauderdale. Plus, you have the congestion from the neighborhoods around, as well as the other colleges nearby. Finding the field isn't difficult. Getting there in a timely manner may be a different story.
Tickets are very inexpensive (less than $10!) for regular-season games. Taking the family out to a game is not very expensive, and is definitely easier on the pocketbook than other college games. With that, you're paying light for food, as well, and the access is pretty impressive for a lower-level program. There isn't a bad seat in the house, and the scenery is a plus, as well.
The baseball team gives away team posters and rosters to everyone at the games, so fans can go home with a memento to remember their game experience by.
In addition, the Miami Dolphins' training facility is right next door, so football fans can get a glimpse of where Miami practices throughout the year while catching a baseball game.
The facility also features the names of various award winners, championship teams, and players in the pros on the dugout wall and on banners under the grandstands for all to see.
If you're into airplanes, you are in for a treat, as the baseball stadium itself sits in the middle of the flight line for landing plants at Fort Lauderdale International Airport (FLL). Every minute or two, a new plane flies by, giving an impromptu flyover.
The experience for a game at Nova Southeastern University is quite impressive, and fans never leave looking like they are miserable. Short of a rainstorm or oppressive heat, there is hardly anything to make you not smile while at the NSU baseball complex. If you plan on making a sports trip down to South Florida, make sure to add this hidden gem to your itinerary.
The Frontier Independent Baseball League also holds its annual player combine and tryouts at the stadium, making this a must-see for die-hard baseball fans who enjoy watching talent progress through the minor leagues.
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