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Official Review by Joseph Oakes, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
Marty L. Miller Field has been the home of Norfolk State baseball since 1997. It is named after former baseball coach Marty Miller, who spend nearly 45 years as player, coach, and administrator at NSU. Besides NSU baseball, Miller Field hosts numerous camps and youth baseball games throughout the year. It has hosted the MEAC baseball tournament six times, from 2006-08 and from 2012-14.
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".
There is one small concession trailer at Miller Field, which offers hot dogs, chips, pickles, and candy. A small table next to the concession trailer has hot dog condiments including ketchup, mustard, and relish.
Two coolers sit on the ground next to the concession trailer, which offer canned soft drinks and bottled water. With this setup you get the feeling that you are at a local little league ball field rather than a college ballpark.
As there are no "gates" when entering Miller Field and therefore no security, consider bringing your own food and snacks to the game if hot dogs and chips are not your thing.
The feeling you get when attending a game at Miller Field is that you are watching the game through a "cage." There is no screen netting, instead there is a tall rusty chain-link fence serving as the screen, which is difficult to see through due to all the poles. On top of this, there are several areas with ropes to prevent fans from getting close to the chain-link screen near the dugout. There are three sets of bleachers behind the plate, with the center section having bench backs. These bleachers are pushed back a bit from the backstop screen, since there is a walkway in front. A brick press box sits atop the center section of bleachers.
The playing surface is natural grass. Dimensions are 330 feet to left field, 402 feet to center, and 318 feet to left field. A green turf collar outlines the area behind home plate with gold "Spartans" lettering. An LED scoreboard sits atop the left center field wall. It is 38x14 feet and has a large Spartan head on top. It provides the traditional baseball line score, but there is no video board.
If you desire to sit in a seat with a back, you should sit in the bench back section directly behind home plate. Since there is no admission price or tickets, you are free to choose wherever you want to sit. Regardless of where you sit in the bleachers, I would recommend sitting as high up as possible so you do not feel like you are staring at the chain-link screen. It would be nice if you could stand beyond the dugouts down the lines, but a batting cage down the right field line and trees down the left field line pretty much prevent this, unfortunately.
The immediate area around Norfolk State University is less than ideal, and honestly, I would not recommend walking around off-campus after dark. However, if you head about a mile into downtown Norfolk and the waterfront area, there are many restaurants and activities to choose from.
The downtown area of Norfolk boasts many great restaurants including Freemason Abbey, Hell's Kitchen, and Shula's 347 grill. There are also chain restaurants such as Buffalo Wild Wings located in downtown Norfolk. Overall, there is a wide variety of both local and chain restaurants located in downtown Norfolk.
Town Point Park is an 8-acre waterfront park along the Elizabeth River in downtown Norfolk and is a great place to take a walk. Other can't miss attractions in Norfolk include Nauticus, which features the USS Wisconsin, and the MacArthur Memorial honoring General Douglas MacArthur.
The Norfolk Waterside Marriott located along the Elizabeth River is a great place to stay if spending the night. The Sheraton Norfolk Waterside and Courtyard by Marriott Norfolk Downtown are also within a mile of the NSU campus.
When attending a baseball game at NSU, expect a few fans to be wearing NSU gear. However, most fans in attendance do not wear school colors and appear to be there just to enjoy the baseball. On a typical weekend series, expect as many as a couple hundred fans in attendance.
Miller Field is located right next to I-264, and is only a couple turns off the interstate. However, make sure you enter the campus through the Presidential Parkway entrance. If you enter the campus through another entrance, you will not be able to drive to the ballpark. At the campus entrance, a security guard in a booth will assist you with directions if needed.
The Tide light rail runs right through the NSU campus and is a great choice to take to the ballpark if you are staying in downtown Norfolk. Prices are $1.75 per trip or $4 for a day pass.
Parking is free and is available beyond the left field fence. There are also a few parking spaces behind the seating area, between it and Dick Price Stadium. If there are spots available, then try to park here. If you park beyond the outfield wall, you will have to take the long way around to get to the seating due to the trees which prevent you from entering from the third base side.
Restrooms are located underneath the grandstand. Ramps, not stairs, lead up to the seating area, which enable the handicapped to have access to the grandstand.
Attendance is free, so no tickets are required to enter Miller Field and seating is general admission. Concessions are reasonably priced, despite the lack of any interesting selections. Parking is free as well, making this an economical trip to see some college baseball.
One point for the basketball courts, which gives you something else to do if the game is not going the Spartans way, or if your crew has a short attention span.
A second point for being located in Norfolk - there is a ton to do in the area, and the ocean is not far away, so if you end up seeing a game here, at least you can do other things while in town.
While NSU is probably not your first choice for baseball when visiting Norfolk, free admission and free parking makes Miller Field a worthwhile option if you are looking to attend a baseball game and not spend a lot of money.
Member Review by Aaron S. Terry on May 06, 2015
The baseball stadium at Norfolk State is named after Marty L. Miller, who coached the Spartan squad for over 30 years starting in 1973, leading the team to over 700 wins during his tenure; Miller also served as Norfolk State’s athletic director following his stint as baseball coach. Opened in 1998, the venue features a natural grass surface, and hosted the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) baseball tournament four times in an eight year span from 2006-2014.
235 E Main St
Norfolk, VA 23510