Typically when you hear the words “Augusta” and “green jacket,” you immediately think of a very prestigious golf tournament that serves as one quarter of golf’s Grand Slam. However, there is another sport in town that also goes by this moniker. The Augusta GreenJackets baseball franchise is the Class-A affiliate of the San Francisco Giants, and their mascot is a bee wearing the fabled green jacket awarded to the winner of each year’s Masters golf tournament. The history of baseball in Augusta actually goes back to 1885, and includes the Georgia Peach, Ty Cobb, as one of the players who wore the home team’s uniform. Augusta was one of the charter members of the South Atlantic League and is one of its most successful teams. Some of the modern-era players who have worn the GreenJackets uniform are Tim Wakefield, Moises Alou, Jason Kendall, Hanley Ramirez, Dustin Pedroia, Madison Bumgarner and Jon Lester.
Home field for the GreenJackets is Lake Olmstead Stadium, a city-owned facility in Lake Olmstead Park. The stadium was built in 1995 and has a baseball seating capacity of over 4,800. Seating is broken down into 1,000 box seats, 800 reserved seats and 2,500 general admission seats. An additional group seating area along the right field line, the Sweetwater Draft House Party Deck, can hold up to 500 people.
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".
Since the stadium is located in a city park, there are no restaurants within walking distance of the stadium. Fortunately, the GreenJackets offer a good array of foods at reasonable prices.
The following items are available at $3: cheeseburger, chicken tenders, nachos, pretzels and corn dog bites. Hot dogs and fries are available for $2.50. A few "Olmstead Only" offerings include the Auggie Doggie at $5.50 (a hot dog covered with pulled pork and cole slaw), the Auggie Burger at $9.50 (two hamburger patties with slaw, barbecue pork and pimiento cheese) and loaded nachos at $6.50 or loaded fries at $5.75 (both include barbecue pork and cheese). We promise not to tell your cardiologist! Every Monday is a Feed Your Face night, which provides you an all-you-can-eat experience for a rotating set of menu items.
Beverages include sodas, bottled water and Powerade at $2.50.The beer offerings are fairly broad and include Bud Light, Miller Light, Yuenling, Kilian's, Sweetwater Blue and Sweetwater 420. Prices are $3 for 16-ounce. and $5 for 32-ounce. Tuesdays are Brewsdays at Lake Olmstead, and you can buy a beer at 50% off.
Two nods to baseball's past are components of Lake Olmstead's structure: a roof extending out over most of the seating areas to protect the fans from the brutal heat of Georgia's summers, and Ty Cobb, a Georgia native, spent time in Augusta before moving onto the big leagues. His lifetime batting average was .366. One of the outfield walls measures 366 feet from home plate. On the wall are the figure 366 and the name of Ty Cobb.
Aside from these salutes to an earlier time in baseball, Lake Olmstead Stadium also celebrates more recent accomplishments. A large display of the team's championship seasons is found on a wall on the concourse, as are banners saluting the many GreenJackets who have gone on to the major leagues. Additional amenities provided at Lake Olmstead Stadium are a children's playground and the Cool Zone, a water misting area to cool off during the often hot and humid Georgia summers. A large group party area is located further down the right field line. The Sweetwater Draft House features a 6,000-square foot party deck with numerous food and beverage packages, depending on the size of the group.
The seating bowl wraps around the infield and includes both individual seating (in reserved or box areas) or aluminum bench seating (in general admission areas).There are no seats or berms behind the outfield fences. Because the roof is over a major portion of the seating area, there are some obstructed views due to support poles.
The area immediately surrounding the stadium is Lake Olmstead Park, a park owned and managed by the Augusta-Richmond County Parks Department. Its central feature is the namesake Lake Olmstead, a 113-acre lake located just down a steep embankment from the baseball stadium. The lake was created as a part of the Augusta Canal construction project in 1870 by Charles Olmstead, who also did major engineering work on the Erie Canal. In recognition of his work, the lake and park were named in his honor. The lake is used primarily for boating and fishing purposes, while the remainder of the park is dedicated to a disc golf course, hiking trails, picnic areas and, of course, the baseball stadium. You should plan to park in the immediate vicinity of Lake Olmstead Stadium and make sure to lock your car. There has been a crime problem in the vicinity.
The broader neighborhood is the city of Augusta, Georgia's second-largest city, with a population of over 400,000. The city sits on the western banks of the Savannah River, with the city of North Augusta, South Carolina, and the state of South Carolina forming on the eastern banks of the river. Augusta is primarily known for the Augusta National Golf Club and its Masters Golf Tournament, but the city is also a cultural center with its own ballet company, opera company and symphony. The city also takes advantage of the Augusta Canal and the Savannah River to host a number of water based sports events. One of the major developments in recent years is the Augusta Riverwalk, a park that hosts festivals, social events and 4th of July celebrations involving the whole city. Some of the popular restaurants in Augusta are Hildebrandt's Deli (an Augusta staple since 1879!) and the Boll Weevil Café and Sweets.
Due to its long history with baseball, Augusta GreenJacket fans are very loyal and very knowledgeable. They also come knowing that many of the players they are seeing have a very high likelihood of going onto the majors, based on past history. The team has local ownership and is quite involved in the local community, working with many charities, promoting reading programs in the schools and visiting the many hospitals in the Augusta region. There is a real bond between the team and its fans that goes beyond just baseball.
The demographics of the fan base in the Augusta region assure a solid future for the team. You are just as likely to see a seniors group at a game as a youth baseball team. Fort Gordon is a major employer in the area, and you will always see a good number of service members at each game. Augusta is also the hub city in the CSRA (Central Savannah Regional Area) which includes eastern portions of Georgia and several counties in South Carolina, which is just across the Savannah River from Augusta.
Augusta and Lake Olmstead Park are easily accessed via I-20, the main east/west interstate in Georgia. The city is located 150 miles east of Atlanta and 68 miles west of Columbia, South Carolina. Once departing the interstate at the Washington Road exit, you will go six miles south to reach the stadium. You will actually pass the Augusta National Golf Club, en route to the stadium.
Once you arrive at Lake Olmstead Stadium, parking is readily available next to the park. There is only one ticket stand and entrance into the stadium itself, so you may want to buy your tickets online ahead of time to avoid a long line. Pre-purchasing your tickets also provides a cost savings.
The concourse area inside the gates is a large plaza, and is home to multiple concession stands and The Hive Team Store.
Ticket prices are tiered at three levels at Lake Olmstead Stadium: Box seats are $12, reserved seats are $10 and general admission seats are $8. Seniors, children and military seating is priced at $6. (Fort Gordon is a large Army base just outside of Augusta, and frequent Military Appreciation nights are held during the season). A $1 discount is given for all online ticket purchases and all tickets purchased prior to the day of the game. The concessions at Lake Olmstead are of good quality and reasonably priced. Since Augusta is the second-largest city in Georgia, hotels are available at every price level. If Augusta has an afternoon game, many people simply drive over from Atlanta or Columbia and return home afterwards. It is less than a two-hour drive from either city.
The Augusta Riverwalk has become the entertainment and dining center for residents of, and visitors to, Augusta. In addition to beauty of the beautiful gardens and brick plazas lining the river, you will be able to enjoy boating, concerts and fireworks on special occasions.
Singer James Brown was a native of Augusta, and you will find numerous historical markers about his life throughout the city.
Obviously, the Masters is the biggest event in town. It is also an impossible ticket to get, as the waiting list is thousands of people long. However, it is possible to obtain a badge for one of the practice rounds on Tuesday and Wednesday before the tournament begins. The pro-am is especially fun, as the players are more relaxed, and you often will see a famous celebrity in several of the foursomes.
NOTE: The new ownership of the team is working with the city of North Augusta, South Carolina, to build a new stadium in a riverfront development just across the Savannah River from Augusta. The plan is still in its early stages, and construction has not yet begun. The team is likely to stay at Lake Olmstead for another few years.
If you know Augusta, GA for the PGA Tour's Masters Tournament and only the Masters, you're not alone. Here sits a young man born and raised in the same state as said city, a mere two-and-a-half hours away, who (prior to a week ago) had never seen anything but the greens of the Augusta National Golf Club on a TV screen.
And that, readers, is a shame. Not only is Augusta a perfectly pretty mid-size town on the border of South Carolina, it's also home to Cal Ripken, Jr.'s very own minor league club, the Giants South Atlantic League affiliate, Augusta GreenJackets, an organization that replicates old-time small-town baseball better than anywhere I've been so far.
Lake Olmstead Stadium is a newish ballpark that doesn't feel like a "new" park. And I mean this in a good way - despite being built in '95, they didn't follow the new ballpark template that has been so prevalent over the last couple decades. It may not have all the amenities that some fans want, but for a baseball fan like me, it works just fine. The atmosphere is pretty laid back, the concessions are affordable and tasty, and the setting is quite serene. Unfortunately, Augusta is already considering building another new park for the Green Jackets. Of course this would just be for the owners, who obviously can't squeeze any more money out of "outdated" Lake Olmstead Stadium. For my full review of Augusta's quaint ballpark, you can check it out on ballparkreviews.com.
On the banks of what looks and feels like a quiet, lazy river, Lake Olmstead Stadium is a quiet, peaceful ballpark. It comes with all the basics and a few clever additions which make it unique to the area. Just down the road from the famed golf course of Augusta National, a quiet evening or afternoon to see an Augusta GreenJackets game is well worth your time.
Lake Olmstead Stadium has been the home of the GreenJackets since the 1995 season, although Augusta has fielded a team in the South Atlantic League since 1988. Built primarily as a baseball facility, Lake Olmstead Stadium has been transformed by the GreenJackets into a versatile entertainment center for Augusta and the surrounding communities. With a seating capacity of 4,822, it is the third smallest ballpark in the sixteen-team league. What it lacks in pizzazz, it makes up for with southern charm.
The stadium has nearly 1,000 box seats, 830 reserved seats and over 2,500 general admission seats. In 2006, the Budweiser Party Pavilion was built down the right field line. This new area can host picnics for as little as 20 people to as many as 500 people. You might also find players hitting extra batting practice just behind this picnic area.
Since 2006 Lake Olmstead Stadium has seen a renovation of the Kid's Zone, the construction of the Cintas Cool Zone and the installation of six huge industrial fans in the rafters which provide comfort for those hot and humid afternoons and evenings.
Going on its 20th year and the franchise’s 25th season, Lake Olmstead Stadium has been nicely kept and modernized in many ways. It contains many little touches which make you forget it is an older ballpark that has some age on it. You can tell the team and staff appreciate fans who come to the games. You will feel like a guest in their home during your visit.
Augusta is your prototypical Minor League town. A small city with a relatively small venue to house a low class Minor League ball team. The team name is catchy, much like other Minor League names, and how they do baseball here is done well, epecially given the history.
Overall a nice place to go watch a game.
FOOD/BEVERAGE: The website seemed to post a limited menu, but when I got there, there were more options for foods, such as popcorn chicken, popcorn shrimp, pulled pork sandwiches, etc. The food overall is fine and tasty (go for the chicken fingers & fries; can't go wrong).
ATMOSPHERE: It does have a minor league vibe to it and it is very laid back here.
NEIGHBORHOOD: Across the street from Lake Olmstead, a public park. There is nothing anywhere near for foods & eats as you get away from the park, you are in projects. I was a little baffled they would put the park in that location.
FANS: They were into the game, though it felt like there were more Savannah Sand Gnats fans in the crowd. But a lot of fans here know their baseball.
ACCESS: You are well off I-20 to get to the park. And you are a healthy distance away from "downtown" Augusta. But once you get near the Masters, signs will lead you to the stadium so it isn't a big problem.
ROI: A couple of tickets behind home plate gets you $12 each, and food prices are pretty low which surprised me given the varied amounts of food they had. Plus, free and "easy" parking. Fridays and Saturdays were more expensive for tickets however.
EXTRAS: The employees here made you feel very welcomed and were one of the friendliest bunches at any venue. Could upgrade the scoreboard however.
There's really not much unique here. The park is nice enough and the views are all great. Probably the only true unique item is the upgraded box seats get waitress service during the game. Prices are reasonable if not a little bit cheap. But I was disappointed that their bar and table area is reservation only even on their beer special nights and the only southern food on the menu is the boiled peanuts. It's really just your completely generic average minor league park with very few frills or dissapointments.
Feed your face Mondays are a pretty good deal.
3044 Deans Bridge Rd
Augusta, GA 30906
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