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Official Review by Paul Donaldson, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
Tucked away on the north-side of Baton Rouge on the campus of Southern University, the SWAC baseball powerhouse Southern Jaguars call Lee-Hines Field home. While Southern baseball can at times be hidden behind the Jag football program and their famous marching band, the Human Jukebox, the baseball program has claimed the SWAC title an impressive 31 times dating back to 1949.
Lee-Hines Field has served as home to Southern baseball since 1992 and features a seating capacity of 1500. While the ballpark isn’t filled with state of the art attractions, Lee-Hines Field offers a traditional setting for college baseball at an affordable price which includes shaded seating provided by an overhead awning and a few delicious options at the concession stand.
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".
The concessions experience at Lee-Hines field covers the basics for an affordable price and also provides a few tasty items sure to satisfy the cravings of most fans in attendance.
Quality and Variety of Food Options. The ballpark favorites at Lee-Hines include hot dogs ($2), nachos ($4), and a BBQ burger ($3). Snacks include peanuts ($2), candy ($1) and gum ($1).
But don't settle for the basic fare. Southern offers a few exceptional concessions options like a bowl of jambalaya and items fresh off the grill like the hot sausage poboy and BBQ pork steak or leg quarter. One of the fan favorites is the Wings and Fries combo for $6. Any of the entrée items can be turned into a combo for $4.50 which includes fries and a 20oz soda.
Variety of Drink Options. Lee-Hines concessions serve bottled Coca-Cola products for $2.
Recommendation. While the wings are sure to please when available, give the hot sausage poboy a try. Though the term "poboy" is used very loosely here (it's more of a sausage dog), the sausage is very spicy and tasty.
Lee-Hines Field provides Southern Jaguar baseball a traditional on-campus college baseball atmosphere. While it's short of bells and whistles, you'll get to enjoy local college talent while ditching the sun under shade provided by an overhead awning.
Stadium Aesthetics. Lee-Hines Field utilizes its corner of the Southern University campus to the fullest. The first baseline is pressed up against the Harding Blvd overpass, which makes it difficult to fit in seating around the backstop. The main grandstand starts behind homeplate and wraps around towards third base. While this impacts the view some, the overhead awning makes up for it. Even though Louisiana has a strong baseball culture, hot Louisiana days can sure make the trip to the ballpark a struggle. Hiding from that heat under the awning goes a long way to improve the overall atmosphere at Lee-Hines. The ballpark features a natural grass surface. Tracks sit just beyond the outfield wall, and a couple of trains will typically pass through during the game.
In-Game Promotions and Entertainment. Music is piped in between innings. Outside of that, there's not much going on outside of the baseball game. If you are traveling with family that aren't baseball purists, be sure plan ways to keep them busy during the game.
Seat Location Recommendations. Look for a seat in the main grandstand near the top of the bleachers. The bottom sections still catch a good amount of sun, but the upper portions typically stay under the shade of the awning.
Lee-Hines field is located in the southeast corner Southern University next to the F.G. Clark Center and A.W. Mumford Stadium on the northside of Baton Rouge. While the campus is cozy and there are a couple of attractions to visit while in town, you'll want to head south towards Baton Rouge for dining and entertainment outside of the game.
Where to Eat. As the capital of Louisiana, Baton Rouge has plenty to offer when it comes to restaurants and attractions. Considering Southern is on the northside of town, we'll focus on a few spots to visit a little closer towards the campus. About 3.5 miles southeast of Southern, you'll find some of the best seafood in town at Tony's Seafood Market and Deli (5215 Plank Rd). Though there isn't a place to sit and eat while on the inside, you can get delicious fried seafood platters, boudin, and boiled seafood to go. If you have a little time before the game starts, order a few pounds of their amazing boiled crawfish to eat tailgate style in the stadium parking lot. Other options to consider nearby are Bayou Café & Catering (5068 Airline Hwy) and the Chicken Shack (3928 Pawtucket St).
Attractions & Entertainment. Continuing the focus on north Baton Rouge, Southern is located just a couple of miles from the BREC Baton Rouge Zoo. While it's on the smaller side, a stop here before or after the game could more than make-up from the lack of non-baseball entertainment for your family. On campus, check-out the Southern University Museum of Art. A little closer into Baton Rouge is the Buddy Stewart Memorial & Museum. Though not necessarily a "north" Baton Rouge attraction, it fits in well with the historical culture of the Southern campus. Locally referred to as "Buddy Stewart's Rock Shop", the store served the area for over thirty years as one of the few minority owned music stores in town.
Where to Stay. Again, there's plenty of lodging in downtown Baton Rouge, however, you'll find several closer options on the north side near the airport. Check-out the Spring Hill Suites (7980 Howell Blvd).
Typical Jaguar baseball crowds are small and loyal. While it's obvious baseball isn't the crown jewel of Southern athletics, you'll find a friendly home crowd of primarily family and friends of the players along with a few long-time supporters of the program..
Typical Attendance. Expect an average crowd of about 100-150 for the usual SWAC weekend series. If you are attending while the Jaguars face-off against a local in-state program (such as Southeastern Louisiana, UNO, or Loyola of N.O.), expect a slightly larger and more dynamic crowd. Despite being a dominant force in SWAC baseball throughout the years, attendance has remained relatively low (which is common throughout the conference).
Crowd Noise & Engagement. Southern fans get into the game during bad calls and big plays. There's not much fanfare outside of that and there's not much to be said in regards to traditions or chants. Expect a relaxed atmosphere in a traditional setting.
Lee-Hines Stadium is very accessible. Located a couple of miles from the Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport and just a few miles north of downtown Baton Rouge, you shouldn't run into many problems getting to and from the stadium.
Transit to and from Stadium. If you're coming into Baton Rouge from I-10, you'll want to head north on I-110. Take exit 6 towards Southern University, turning left onto Harding Blvd (Hwy 408). Harding runs directly to Lee-Hines Field. As you cross the over-pass just beyond Hwy 61, you'll see the ballpark on your right before the F.G. Clark Activity Center. Though traffic on I-10 and I-110 can be a major headache at times, the northside location of Lee-Hines affords you several alternate routes when the freeways are jammed.
Parking. Parking is free around the stadium. Considering that the stadium is adjacent to the F.G. Clark Center parking lot, there's plenty of parking available.
Ticketing & Gate Entry. As you approach the stadium from the parking lot, there is a single entrance next to the ticket booth. You shouldn't have any problems with a wait to get your tickets and you'll breeze through the entrance.
Moving around the stadium. There's plenty of room to move around once inside the stadium. The concourse between the concessions facility and the ballpark is very spacious. There's also a concourse separating the grandstand and row of chairback seating next to the playing surface.
The cost of attending a Southern Jags game at Lee-Hines Field is very affordable. General admission is $5 for adults. While there seems to be some assigned seating, the spirit of the venue is fully general admission. Find a comfortable spot and it's yours.
While the price is certainly affordable, the overall investment may still not be of the highest value. There are several upgrades which could be made to the venue experience which could significantly raise the overall ROI.
Lee-Hines Field has a few "extras" which contribute to the overall game day experience. Chief among those is the excellent job done memorializing past accomplishments with the listing of conference championships on the outside of the grandstand. The Southern Jaguars baseball team continues to be a force in the SWAC.
A bonus point is awarded here for the shade provided by the overhead awning. When the Louisiana heat is bearing down on you in late spring, finding shelter is essential.
Member Review by justinrsutton on Apr 24, 2014
Located on the bluffs of the Mississippi River in Baton Rouge, Southern University often finds itself having to play second fiddle in the realm of college athletics to the other school that shares the Louisiana capital as its home, LSU.
However, if grabbing a baseball game at a moment’s notice on the weekend is on the agenda, a trip to Lee-Hines Field can make for an easy and affordable way to scratch your college baseball itch.
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