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Official Review by Harrison Huntley, Stadium Journey Special Correspondent
Hidden away in Buies Creek, North Carolina, is Campbell University. Campbell is a small private school, and like similar schools in the state, has a good baseball program. The team is on the rise and recently experienced a 2012 season which featured a school record of 41 wins and led the nation in a handful of statistics, including an odd stat, hit-by-pitches.
The Camels' home, Jim Perry Stadium is a brand-new stadium located on the campus of Campbell and is named for its main benefactor, Jim Perry. Perry was the 1970 Cy Young Award winner and played in the major leagues for 17 years. Even with these achievements, his brother, Gaylord Perry, has become the more famous of the two. Jim, however, spent his collegiate days at Campbell. The stadium only seats 630 people, but that creates an intimate environment that will please any baseball lover. On the other hand, if you don’t like baseball, you won’t find much to do 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".
Overall, the food leaves something to be desired. There is only one concession stand, which only features one register. This turns what would normally be a small line into a line that is about 10 people deep. Prices are about as expected. Campbell is a Coke school and serves bottled products from Coke. If you're looking for a meal, you better like hot dogs. Hot dogs are the only food offering suitable for a full meal. There are a few other snack foods (popcorn, nachos, chips, etc.) but overall, you would be better off eating your meal outside the stadium.
It should also be noted that outside food and drink are not allowed. This is a bit odd, because there are so many great picnic spots around this stadium, including a few picnic tables with great sight lines of the field. For a concession stand to offer so little, one would at least expect to be allowed to bring in food.
As previously mentioned, this is a strictly baseball environment. There are a few between-inning games, but the game features mostly music and baseball. The stadium also gets really hot. If the sun is out, there is no escaping it. There is no covered seating (or covered anything, for that matter). The stadium faces away from where the sun sets, so it is possible that the sun would be less of a factor at an evening game, but day games are almost unbearably hot.
As far as seating goes, you have two choices. General admission tickets are $4 (or free for kids under 12) for any seat not directly behind home plate. The seats for general admission are metal benches, but do have backs. The other option is a $6 reserved seat ($2 for kids). These seats are right behind home plate and are individual folding seats with arm rests. There is no great loss in going for the $4 seat unless you really want to have your own seat or be behind home plate.
This stadium is great if you want to get close to the action. All seats are a short distance from the field, which is something any fan can appreciate. Another available option is to stand next to the dugouts. The stadium allows standing next to the home dugout, road dugout, and road bullpen.
The scoreboard is a basic nine-inning scoreboard that provides runs by inning and other stats like runs, hits, errors, and batter number. There is no video board, but that is probably to be expected at this kind of stadium. It is surprising that there is no listing of the speed of the previous pitch. Radar gun readings are normally on a scoreboard like this, but I never found one on my visit. The PA announcer is good and seems to have knowledge of the game.
Campbell is the main attraction, if not the only attraction, in Buies Creek. The perfect example of this is Buies Creek Elementary School, which is located not far behind the three new brick buildings including the basketball arena, John W. Pope Jr. Convocation Center. Some academic buildings are nearby, and others offer common food such as Subway, Quiznos, and Chick-fil-A.
The Campus Grill is a popular spot for students. However, the game I attended was after graduation, so there were not too many students to be found.
Since school was out of session when I attended, I'll give the students a pass. Other than the few students I saw, most of the fans seemed to be family. Not many were wearing Campbell apparel, and considering many of them accompanied one of the 13 seniors in the senior day ceremony on the field, I can say with confidence that they were family. Being family, they did have good knowledge of the game and knew when to cheer, but did not start a moment sooner.
Even though Buies Creek sounds as though it's in the middle of nowhere, it can be reached a number of different ways. From Raleigh, US-401 or NC-55 will get you there. From Fayetteville, NC-210 is a direct route. From outside the area, Campbell is only about 15 minutes from Interstate 95. These options make it very easy to get to the stadium. Parking is free, which is always appreciated.
There are two "concourses", per se. One is a sidewalk that goes behind the seats. You cannot view the field from here, but there is a lot of open space, which presents the appearance that there will eventually be something built here. The other concourse is a walkway in front of all the seats. Most of the seats are high enough that someone walking by does not affect their view. The seats are very accessible, with ramps leading up to the seats and areas with good views to park a wheelchair.
Restrooms appear almost new, but there is nothing fancy about them. They are a good size, and therefore, there is little to no line.
This all depends on your reason for being here. If you want to watch a baseball game, then you will like the $4-$6 seat that is very close to the action. If you are here to see a cool between-innings games or something other than baseball, you're out of luck. In fairness, there are very few college baseball venues that offer more than a few games between innings. $4-$6 is a good price for this level of baseball. The $4 ticket is general admission so you can be free to try different seats before deciding which one you like the best. The food, while somewhat lacking, is not overpriced. With the free parking and programs, you can enjoy the typical baseball experience for under $10 ($4 ticket, $3 hot dog, and $2 drink).
The first star is for the free parking. Free parking is no longer common at sporting events, so I always appreciate this bonus when I find it.
The second star is for the free program. The program includes the schedule and results, recent news, in-depth stats for both teams, and numerical rosters for both teams. This is quite a bit of information for a free program.
The third star is for the incorporation of the legendary Jim Perry. There are two flags on the lighting banks featuring pictures of Perry in his Major League Baseball days.
The fourth star is for the live radio broadcast on 107.3 FM. It is somewhat unexpected for a school of Campbell's size to have their own radio team for a sport outside of football or men's basketball.
If you want a good game for a good price, Jim Perry Stadium is a great place to catch a game. If you are looking for a tremendous experience aside from the game, then this is not the place for you. In the end, this is a stadium that matches the school well. Just like the school, the ballpark is new on the national scene, just the right size, and a good value.
Member Review by huntwoof on May 20, 2013
I attended a weekend game and had a good time. It can be quite hot under the sun but the action was fun. Campbell is in the Big South conference and the play was exciting to watch.
I only got a drink but the basically the food was snacks.
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