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Official Review by Meg Minard, Stadium Journey Special Correspondent
Jackson Field is a part of the UNC Jackson Field Sports Complex which also contains the women’s soccer field - Jackson Stadium. The field is named after Charles N. Jackson, a UNC trustee who helped purchase the land in 1927. It has been the site for Bears baseball since the late 1920s. In the fall of 2004, the venue got a new infield surface and improvements were made to the outfield.
The field is immaculate with lush, green, real grass and real dirt. There are no lights in the ball field so all games are played during the day. There’s nothing better than a Sunday spring afternoon baseball game and the UNC Bears do a fine job at providing a pure baseball-only experience.
The Bears play in the WAC (Western Athletic Conference) as an affiliate member. Most sports of UNC are in the Big Sky Conference, but the Big Sky doesn't have baseball so UNC baseball joined the WAC in 2012.
A fine time can be had at a UNC Bears baseball game as it is about the game, the players, the team(s). It is a family friendly facility and any age group will enjoy a game here.
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".
There is one lone concession truck behind the home plate area. It offers the minimal standard fare. Hot dogs and nachos are $3.50, drinks (Pepsi, Gatorade, water) are $3.00, and popcorn, chips, and candy range from $1.50 - $3.50.
A sign on the entry gate to the stadium states no outside food or drink allowed. However, many fans bring bottles of water, sandwiches and snacks into the ballpark so that rule is not enforced. Recommendation: Bring a bottle or two of water and some snacks to hold you and the family over during the game.
Alcoholic beverages are not offered, allowed, or needed at a Bears game.
There is no souvenir table/stand at Jackson Field which is a disappointment. There is one at the main campus but not at the stadium.
Beyond the left field fence are newly renovated town homes. Beyond center field is a nice set of trees. Beyond the right field fence is a ropes course. All quite picturesque in their own right and it makes for a nice backdrop variety when watching the game.
Seating is only general admission and is first come, first served. There is no charge for tickets. There are ten rows of aluminum benches for seating on the first base and the third base sides; the third base seating area is half the width of the first base side as the third base is the visiting team's side. There are some aluminum seats with backs above the home plate / press box area. All of the benches in the stadium are in the direct sun. A few folks are clever and stand/sit underneath the bleachers behind home plate. Recommendation: Bring a seat cushion or seat back to watch a game as well as some sun screen.
There is a net around the entire seating/viewing area with zero places to watch the game net free (unless, of course, you are one of the players, coaches, or umpires).
There are no lights at the stadium so all games are played during the day. This is especially nice later in the April/May time frame as spring approaches and the temperatures are warmer.
It is all about the baseball game here. Mostly country music is played (when played at all) with the volume level perfect as one can still converse with other fans in the seating area. The PA announcer has a clear voice and records the player's at bat, player changes, and inning activity coherently. Perfect for those who keep score.
There is the standard scoreboard with balls, strikes, outs and a tally per inning for runs for each team. It fits well with the basic game day experience.
The team's colors are gold and blue. They outline the home plate area with a blue trim prior to the game. It's a very nice touch. And, it does not appear there is a grounds crew as many of the players/coaches groom the field prior to the game.
Greeley is the 12th largest city in Colorado and it is very much a college town. It is a little over an hour drive northeast of Denver, CO; about an hour southeast of Cheyenne, WY. The stadium is in a quaint residential area about two blocks from the central campus.
There are plenty of places to eat/drink before or after a game with Chipotle, Cheba Hut and George's Gyros & Burgers within walking distance (1/2 mile). A bit further in the downtown area (about a mile from the stadium) are The Mad Cow Saloon & Eatery, Moody's American Grill, and Najah African Restaurant. There are plenty of other offerings in the downtown college city. Click here for the Downtown Greeley Restaurant & Nightlife Guide. Most of the nightlife bars and clubs are located on 9th St.
For other tourist activities when in town, check out the Centennial Village, a living historical museum of life in Colorado over 100 years ago. One can also visit the Colorado Model Railroad Museum.
Most hotels are about a mile from Jackson Field, the closest brand name hotel is the Clarion Hotel downtown, which is near many of the eateries and tourist attractions.
It is a very safe neighborhood in which to walk and visit.
The Bears fans show up and they stay till the very end of the game. Fans are parents, girlfriends, fellow students and a mix of neighboring residents. I attended Senior Day so most fans were family of the players. All are encouraging and supportive of the players.
The first base side is the Bears' home side and most of the cheering is heard from that section. The fans are clean as they deposit their garbage in provided containers and do not place them on the flooring below the bleachers. Nice job!
The environment is suitable for all members of the family. Feel free to bring the young adults and the seniors as all will enjoy a game day here.
Jackson Field is located at the corner of 18th St and 6th Ave in Greeley, CO just two blocks from the Central Campus of the University of Northern Colorado.
There is no noticeable local or public transportation options, though the field is walking distance from the main campus area. Otherwise, driving is the recommended method to get to the stadium.
When arriving at the facility, I'd recommend parking your vehicle in the farther parts of the parking lot; not near the entrance because of the short distance to the field and potential foul balls. Another decent option is parking a distance down 6th Ave. Street parking close to the stadium (especially behind the third base area) is also prime foul ball territory and is not recommended.
The closest airport to Greeley is DIA (Denver International Airport) which is about 40 miles away. Not close but not too far when traveling to the Rocky Mountains. And there are plenty of flights in and out of the airport.
Restrooms are surprisingly ample and clean before, during, and after the game and no lines are apparent.
The concourse is behind the seating area (the bleachers) and is plenty wide for traversing between innings.
Free parking, no charge to get into the game, concession prices at an adequate rate (and one can bring outside food and drinks - though signs state otherwise) all makes this a perfect return on money spent. And being able to watch just a game without all the other frills and entertainment makes it a perfect destination for the baseball purist.
Extra kudo's to the PA announcer for providing clear, accurate updates during the at bats as well as a summary of stats after each half inning.
Having a ropes course behind the right field has got to be a unique feature around a ballpark.
Although not uncommon in mid to low-major conferences, seeing the coaches and players groom the playing field is different.
Greeley is a nice college town. Jackson Field is a nice ballpark. If you're heading to or live in northern Colorado, I'd recommend catching a game one weekend day in the spring. Would I go again? Absolutely.
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