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Official Review by Chad Minton, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
Nothing will probably ever eclipse the amount of excitement that goes on at Neyland Stadium, but there’s another stadium within short walking distance that has plenty of excitement of its own on the University of Tennessee’s campus.
Lindsey Nelson Stadium serves as home of the Tennessee baseball program, and man, does it have a lot to show off.
The stadium has been through two different phases of renovations since 2009, with the expansion of seating and the ballpark’s version of “club level” seating.
Fans aren’t just crazy about their football in SEC country. They’re also just as passionate about their baseball, and the Volunteers have a perfect stage on which to play America’s pastime.
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 options may be somewhat limited, but in this case, it's quality over quantity. The Hebrew National hot dogs are an excellent choice, and will only cost you $4. A ballpark concession stand wouldn't be complete without Cracker Jacks or peanuts, and they can also be purchased for $4.
Other food choices include jumbo pretzels ($4), popcorn ($4, or $6 for a bucket) and chicken strip baskets ($5).
Coke products are served, and getting the souvenir cup will earn you a free refill. The souvenir cups are just $7, and their size makes it a safe bet that you won't get thirsty during the entire game.
There is also bottled water for $3 and a frozen Jolly Rancher pop for $4.
Something happens between every inning to keep fans entertained, with things like trivia, finishing the lyrics to a song or the infamous pizza giveaway.
The patio seating in the outfield is a unique thing to see. There are several picnic tables that are equipped with umbrellas and a grill. These areas require a reservation, but you get up to 15 tickets with your reservation, if you have a large group of people attending the game with you.
You can't go to a Vols sporting even without hearing "Rocky Top", and a small portion of it plays after every run that is scored by the Vols. This seems to really get the fans amped up.
You couldn't ask for more comfortable seating at a baseball game. The seats are plenty wide enough, and there is plenty of leg space.
There is so much to do before or after the game that is within close walking distance.
Heading up Cumberland Avenue will put you right in the middle of a lot of the fun spots that Knoxville has to offer. The Copper Cellar and Half Barrel are very popular places to go and enjoy some great food and good drinks. It is highly recommended that you check these places out while you're in Knoxville.
If you are into live music, stopping by Longbranch Saloon is a solid choice. Longbranch is also located on Cumberland Avenue.
The best thing to do is find one place to park, and walk up and down the strip. You will find plenty of fun things to do to make your time in Knoxville one to remember.
The fans certainly showed the Vols plenty of support throughout the game on the day I visited in spring, 2013. They could have given up after the third inning, but they stuck it out until the end, and almost saw the Vols pull off the upset over South Carolina.
There were plenty of times when the fans seemed a little disconnected, which isn't abnormal during most baseball games.
When the Vols busted out and scored seven runs in one inning, the fans definitely made their voices heard. The strong showing of South Carolina fans probably realized that they would be unable to turn Lindsey Nelson Stadium into their home away from home. The Vol fans could easily have let that happen if they had chosen to not make their fair share of noise.
It was very obvious that there was a healthy turnout of dedicated fans at this game.
Finding the campus poses no real challenge, even if you are not all that familiar with Knoxville. First off, Knoxville is not a huge city that is tough to navigate. Secondly, there are a few main roads that will take you right onto Tennessee's sprawling campus.
Taking Alcoa Highway to Cumberland Avenue or Neyland Drive will take you directly into the complex holding all of the sports venues. There are also plenty of signs to direct you.
There are numerous marked parking lots upon entering the Tennessee campus, which makes parking a breeze. Parking is also free, which is always a plus.
The bathrooms are nothing special, but they are big enough to serve the crowds at Tennessee baseball games.
It is always nice to pay half the ticket price you expect to pay. This was the case at Lindsey Nelson Stadium, when I found out that general admission tickets were just $4, with the chair-back seats priced at $7.
This value cannot be beat, especially when you consider you are seeing SEC baseball, which is one of the top conferences in college baseball today.
Getting a chance to see a national powerhouse like South Carolina for such a bargain price was a nice surprise. The SEC has several other nationally-ranked teams that will also pay a visit to Lindsey Nelson Stadium.
An extra point goes to the porch located in left field that offers fans a unique way to watch the game. You are clearly doing something right as a venue anytime you can find a way to give the fans a different way to enjoy the game.
The kindness of the concession stand workers gets this stadium another extra point for helping a clumsy guy in need. My box of popcorn got blown into the trash as I was putting ketchup on my hot dog. It offered comic relief to the workers, but they were nice enough to give me a new box of popcorn. That is southern hospitality at its best.
Football is no longer the only thing creating a lot of excitement in Knoxville. Sure, the Tennessee baseball program is going through some tough times with such a young team, but these dedicated fans have a great place to keep cheering on their Vols. Expect to see Lindsey Nelson Stadium get plenty of attention when the Vols start playing better on the diamond.
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1807 Cumberland Ave
Knoxville, TN 37916
1829 Cumberland Ave
Knoxville, TN 37916
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