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Official Review by Jason Bullock, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
Malcolm ‘Mac’ Pitt was the head coach of the Richmond Spiders for 37 years and compiled 426 wins. A handful of his players went on to MLB careers, the most successful being Lew Burdette, who was the World Series MVP for the Milwaukee Braves in 1957. For Mr. Pitt’s service to the university, the current home of the Richmond Spiders is named after him and his retired number 1 is displayed on the front of the press box.
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Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
The concession stand is located on the first base side of the press box and offers a view of the field while you are in line, so you don't miss any action. Unfortunately, there is not too much to offer here. If you're looking for a protein, a $3 hot dog is your only option. Snack foods such as popcorn, peanuts and caramel corn are also available, along with fountain sodas (Coca-Cola products), bottled water and frozen lemonade.
No credit cards are accepted and there is not an ATM on site, so bring cash if you are planning on eating at the game. I noticed many fans brought their own drinks and snacks, and while it is not encouraged, I didn't see anybody escorted out, either. If food and drink is an important part of the game to you, your best option is to bring a picnic basket or a cooler - you'll read why in the next section.
Pitt Field is a small ballpark, but has a lot to offer in terms of atmosphere. The seating area is surrounded by tall trees that give the park a cozy feel, and the lake as a backdrop is a nice touch. Seating is aluminum bleacher-style, so feel free to bring a cushion or stadium seat for better comfort. With a capacity of about 600, there is not really a bad seat, but sitting at the far end of the third base side seating gives you the best sight line, as there is no netting or poles to get in the way of your view.
If you want a different vantage point, bring a folding chair (and your picnic basket) and grab a seat along the outfield wall. This is a pretty popular area, so get there early if you want to claim a specific place. The seating area is at the top of a slope, and with the outfield walls only eight feet high in most places, you'll have a great view of the game.
There is a nice scoreboard in center field that provides all of the pertinent information. If you need a roster of players on both teams, you can pick up a list of players and stats at the concession stand. The PA speakers are located in center field and are at a reasonable volume. While there aren't any between-inning activities to keep the younger fans entertained, they do receive a prize for turning in any foul balls they collect to guest services, which is located behind the center field wall.
Pitt Field is located in the northern part of campus, adjacent to the Robins Center, home of the Spiders basketball team. Westhampton Lake is located right behind the stadium and offers a scenic view. There is a bridge that crosses the lake with a gazebo on the other side - take some to visit before or after the game for some great photo opportunities.
After the game, you are not far from shopping, dining and entertainment options. A 10-minute drive south takes you to Stony Point Fashion Park, where you will find Champps Americana, a decent sports bar where you can catch the evening games. Fifteen minutes northeast will take you to the Short Pump area, where you will find Bar Louie, Buffalo Wild Wings and Funny Bone Comedy Club.
If you have an extended stay in Richmond, there are plenty of sights to see. The Capitol building, Science Museum and Canal Walk are all great options, and don't miss a trip to Carytown for an eclectic mix of shops and restaurants.
Home team fans tend to sit on the third base side behind the home dugout. I noticed a family-like atmosphere between the fans, calling each other by name as they arrived and discussing the team and the latest games. Most of the fans appear to be either family of the players or alumni of the university. I've attended a few games in the past and seen very few students in the stands.
You won't find any specific chants or cheers with this crowd, but they are appreciative of the effort their team puts out on the field.
The campus of U of R is easy to get to, and parking is plentiful for baseball games. There is a lot between the outfield fence and the Robins Center that offers free parking for fans. Avoid the yellow-lined spaces, as they are considered in reach of a home run ball and the university will not be liable for any damage.
Admission is free, so you will not need to worry about any lines to get into Pitt Field. You can access the stands by walking up the stairs on the first base side of the field. For those that need accessible seating, you will need to enter behind home plate and use the ramps to get to the open seating area behind home plate, as stairs are required to get to any of the metal bleacher seats. There are also some viewing areas along the first and third base sides that are accessible, along with the aforementioned outfield viewing area.
Restrooms are located at street level behind home plate in a trailer-type fixture, and are maintained at a satisfactory level.
Free Parking! Free Admission! Bring your own snacks and drinks! Your only investment here is your time and gas to get to Pitt Field, and one would assume if you didn't have an interest in the game, you wouldn't go in the first place. This is a great way to spend a spring afternoon in Richmond.
For the fans sitting in the outfield, there is a small scoreboard located on a wall in right field that shows the basic stats. This is a nice extra for those spectators that cannot see the scoreboard in center field.
The fans and team should be proud of their playing surface. The field is maintained well, and it was nice to see the players out raking and watering the infield prior to the game.
If you're a fan of college baseball and want to see a competitive team, head on over to Pitt Field and enjoy a day at the park!
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