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Official Review by David Mortimer, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
The state of Utah isn’t exactly a college baseball hotbed. Even so, Provo is home to one of the nation’s most impressive home fields. Completed in 2001, Miller Park is a baseball/softball complex that is “the first combined facility of its kind,” according to the BYU athletics website. The Cougar baseball team plays on Larry H. Miller Field.
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For a college ballpark, Miller Park gives you plenty of great options at its main concession stand. Hot dogs from Nathan's go for $2.50 (regular) or $4.50 (footlong). Other baseball staples available include peanuts, sunflower seeds, and Cracker Jack ($2 each), popcorn ($3), nachos ($3), candy ($2.50), churros ($1.50), soft pretzels ($2.50, add $1 for a cheese cup), and Freschetta pizza ($5.50).
You'll also find a Cougar Grill cart nearby with burgers ($5), grilled chicken sandwiches ($5.50), Philly cheesesteaks ($6.50), brats ($5.50), and BYU's signature item, the Brat-Tail: a bratwurst stuffed inside a maple bar ($6.50). All of these items come with chips.
Coke products are available for $2.50 (bottled), $3 (reg. fountain), or $5.50 (refillable souvenir cup).
Sweets treats include excellent BYU Creamery ice cream ($2.50), frozen lemonade ($3), flavor pops ($1.50), Dippin' Dots ($4.50-$6.50), cotton candy ($3), kettle corn ($5), and Cougar Tails (Maple bars minus the brat; $4).
Packed into a modest-sized corner of BYU's campus, Miller Park has a very collegiate feel. You'll see dorms and other campus building beyond right field, and the Marriott Center beyond center.
Nature is the other distinguishing feature of the park and its surroundings. Large evergreen trees fill the space immediately beyond the outfield, and the Wasatch Mountains fill the background.
These wonderful sights are the highlights of the Miller Park experience, as BYU has been an average team on the field for the better part of a decade. You'll see some glimpses into the past as you walk toward the park with banners showing past Cougar greats like Wally Joyner, Rick Aguilera, and Jack Morris.
You won't find many typical college-town establishments in straight-laced Provo.
One thing every college town has, even Provo, is an iconic pizza parlor. Brick Oven has been an institution since 1956, when it was called "Heaps a Pizza." Many locals, my mother included, still use the original name. My favorite pie is the Garlic Chicken, coupled with Brick Oven's signature root beer in a frosted mug. If you aren't in the mood for pizza, the Market Room Buffet gives you all-you-can-eat salad bar, fresh-made pasta, and soup.
If you want to class your meal up a bit, head to Magleby's in the nearby Courtyard by Marriott. Best-known for its chocolate cake, Magleby's also offers several solid lunch choices. I recommend the Prime Rib sandwich, affectionately known as the "Big 'n Tasty."
Provo is a pretty laid-back place, a feeling not usually reflected by BYU's basketball and football crowds. The baseball crowds (mostly made up of couples, families, and local Little League teams) more closely capture this spirit. They cheer and clap and sing, but never get too feisty one way or another. They're also relatively small, with a (generous) announced attendance of 808 during our Saturday matinee.
Plenty of free parking is available across the street in the LaVell Edwards Stadium East lot. If it's crowded (as it was for my visit, due to the Utah High School State Track Meet), the lot at the Marriott Center is also close by.
The two fields share the main concourse, making it decent-sized for a relatively small park. Three portals allow for good crowd flow in and out. Restrooms are large, clean, and easy to find, including family restrooms by the main portal behind home plate.
Just $5 gets you anywhere in the park, with reserved seats in the lower half and general admission in the upper half. BYU does not offer as many discounts and giveaways as rival Utah, but they pop up every so often. During the weekend of our visit, you could earn free tickets by donating used baseball equipment. Ancillary ballpark costs are minimal, with free parking and reasonable food prices.
One point for the view. I know I write this about just about every outdoor venue in Utah, but if any park deserves bonus points for a sensational view, it's Miller Park. The mountains feel as if they're right on top of you, with the renowned Y Mountain taking center stage.
One point for a creative meal combo. Hot dogs and Cracker Jack are ballpark staples often purchased separately. Miller Park gives you the chance to buy them together, along with a drink, in a $7 combo.
One point for unique architecture. Perhaps the most striking feature of Miller Park is the large canopy in the center of the complex. Along with reminding you of Denver International Airport, sitting near the stretched Teflon fabric could funnel a foul ball your way.
In terms of talent, prestige, and attendance, college baseball will always be led by warm- weather teams. That doesn't mean schools in colder climates have to settle for subpar facilities, and Miller Park is a prime example. BYU's baseball program may lack cachet, but its home has it in spades.
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111 East 800 North
Provo, UT 84606
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