Medlar Field at Lubrano Park is a beautiful stadium that opened in 2006 and is the shared home of Penn State baseball and the short-season class A affiliate for the Pittsburgh Pirates, the State College Spikes. At the end of the 2012 season, the State College Spikes announced a two-year Player Development Contract (PDC) with the defending World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals through at least the 2014 New York-Penn League season. The park was built in the shadows of Beaver Stadium and the Bryce Jordan Center at the edge of the Penn State campus in State College, PA.
The playing field is named after longtime Penn State baseball coach Charles "Chuck" Medlar and the Park itself is named after former Penn State player Anthony P. Lubrano who made a $2.5 million donation to help build the stadium.
The stadium was the first ever Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified baseball stadium in the world. The stadium holds 5,570 fans and the playing field has the same exact dimensions as PNC Park, home of the Pittsburgh Pirates, except the right field wall is only 18.55 feet tall (for the year Penn State was founded, 1855) versus the 21 feet tall height at PNC Park (for Roberto Clemente).
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For such a nice stadium, the one downfall is food selection, which is typical of the stadiums and arenas on the Penn State campus. There is no real specific signature food item offered at the park. There are three main food concession areas; the third base side, the first base side and the right field patio with smaller carts sprinkled along the concourse.
The third base side is called the grand stand, and offers burgers ($4), burgers with fries ($7), hot dogs ($3), hot dogs with fries ($6), chicken sandwich ($4), chicken tenders and fries ($6.50), slices of Pizza Hut pizza ($3.50), fries ($3.50), cheese fries ($4.50) and of course you can add America's favorite topping, bacon to any item for just $1. The stand also offers ballpark appropriate snacks such as nachos ($5), pretzels, cracker jacks, peanuts and popcorn ($3.50 each), cinnamon and sugar pretzel nuggets ($4) and candy ($3).
The first base side main concession stand offers many of the same items (fries, cheese fries, pretzels, pretzel nuggets, nachos, popcorn, hot dogs, peanuts, cracker jacks, and candy) but they also have items you can't find on the third base side. Those offerings include jumbo fries ($5.50), loaded fries (cheese, sour cream and bacon) ($5.50), wings and boneless wings (buffalo or bubba sauce) ($6), carrots and celery with ranch ($2), buffalo chicken sandwich ($4) and a corn dog ($4).
The closest you will come to signature food items is out at the right field patio, where they have a grill that offers various burgers and other grilled sandwiches. Some of the food in right field is the same as the other concession stands, plus a few items specific to that stand, the boring burger ($4), corn on the cob ($3.50). The right field stand also has a specialty burger menu with the following options: Big Bacon Cheeseburger ($10, 1/2 lb burger, bacon, cheese, side fries), Pittsburgher ($8, cheese, slaw and fries), Phillyburger ($8, peppers, onions, cheese whiz, side fries), Black " N Bleu Burger ($8, Cajun seasoning, bleu cheese, side fries), Endless Love Burger ($8, glazed donut bun, bacon, cheese, side fries).
The right field patio is also home of the all-you-can-eat buffet, which can be added to any ticket for $14. Eaters are given a wrist band for the buffet and menu items include hamburgers, cheeseburgers, hot dogs, grilled chicken, grilled chicken sandwich, nachos, pretzels, side dish (varies by game), cookies and Pepsi products. Eaters can also purchase beer ($4.50 & $6.25), larger sodas ($3 & $4) and bottled water ($3), the same prices they are throughout the park.
For the smaller carts, there is a walking taco stand that offered walking tacos ($4.50) and ultimate nachos ($7), plus a few other items like malt beverages ($5) and bottled beer ($5). The lemonade stand had fresh squeezed lemonade ($3, $5 & $6) and margaritas ($5 & $6.50).
Another cart has Philly cheesesteaks, chicken cheesesteaks and buffalo chicken cheesesteaks ($6.75) and specialty draft beers (Troegs Hop Back Amber Ale, Newcastle Brown Ale, Blue Moon and a local brew The Gamble Mill Monte Weizen Ale).
The last food cart of note is the Boar's Head sausage cart, featuring Italian and Sweet sausage sandwiches for $5. That stand also has pre-made wraps and hoagies including a nice hummus wrap if you are looking for a vegetarian offering.
The last three stands are all ice cream stands, with a dippin dots stand ($3.50 & $5.50), a Penn State Creamery soft serve stand and a Penn State Creamery hand dipped stand. The hand dipped stand also has *ndulge cupcakes from a local store ($4).
The atmosphere is typical of a short season team where the players are changing not just year to year, but even series to series. Therefore, the fans don't latch onto any particular player, but more the team and the mascots. The mascots are Ike the Spike, the Nookie Monster (an odd blue creature who comes out of the center field "nook" every time the team scores), and Bob the white Labrador dog. Bob is the face of the bark-in-the-park nights and is extremely popular with the kids at the park.
The fans cheer loudly for the plays that favor the Spikes, and are basically just quiet for when plays go in favor of the opposing team. The team draws over 3,000 fans on an average night, 3,147 the night I was there, and will sell out a few games each year, especially when the rival Williamsport Crosscutters are in town. Other large draw times are mid-July during the Arts Festival and in early September when the Penn State students return.
One cool thing is the team has a dog named Bob the Baseball Dog that hangs out at the park. He is a yellow Labrador that the kids' really like. He even hangs out at the park office during the day and you can go meet him there as well.
The other unique thing is local celebrity radio announcer Jeff Brown is the PA announcer for the team and "the voice of Penn State sports" Steve Jones does the radio broadcasts, giving a real professional feel to the event.
State College is consistently listed as one of the best and safest towns in America. With the Spikes playing all but about 10 days of the season when the Penn State students are on summer break, it is extremely easy to get around town and enjoy yourself.
If you want to grab a bite to eat, try The Fraser Street Deli, where you can select from a sandwich and salad menu that has over 120 offerings, plus a create your own section with over 5 million different meat and cheese combinations. All of the sandwiches are named after Penn State and Centre County athletes, coaches, professors and University presidents.
For dessert, visit the real *ndulge cupcake bakery on College Avenue right around the corner from The Fraser Street Deli or if you are looking for something cold, try Rita's Italian Ice, owned by the Spikes first ever season ticket holders and owners of the best seats in the park.
If you are looking for a drink and food, try Rotelli, an Italian restaurant with a massive margarita menu, great food and if you visit during hockey season, a giant pull down screen and in-house goal horn during Penguins games.
The Spikes fans are your average minor league baseball fans, but the team has an issue with available fan base due to this being in a college town. There are 45,000 potential fans that leave right as the team starts the season and return with only one week left in the season.
There are no crazy fans who stick out like at some other parks, but the team has only been here for a few years so they haven't had much time to build a local following especially since the team has been awful most years.
The team has a great location just off of Interstate 99, beside Beaver Stadium and the Bryce Jordan Center on the corner of the Penn State campus. Even though the state messed up and made a small section of the access road single lane, you can be parked in less than 5 minutes. Parking costs $3 right beside the stadium, although there are plenty of places you can park for free, with the closest lot at the corner of Park Avenue and West Stadium Dr., which is the corner where you are going to come into the ballpark off of Interstate 99 anyways.
The concourses are plenty wide with lots of tables to eat at or have a conversation while enjoying your beer. The bathrooms are nice and kept clean. There is also a ton of ADA accessible seating.
Single game seats start at $6 for the right field bleachers, which are a bit high for a Class A short season team, but you can be a bargain shopper and go on Tuesdays, which are $1 bleacher seat night, and Wednesdays are half price night where those bleacher seats are $3, but you get 1/2 priced beer and soda.
There was a small kids' zone plus an arcade, but the arcade was an electrical nightmare with the cords just left lying on the floor. The lounge on the suite level has a few couches and an air hockey table, much different than the other park built by the same ownership group, Blair County Ballpark. Besides Bob the Baseball Dog, there isn't much that stands out as unique at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park compared to other minor league ballparks.
Upon my first visit to Medlar Field back in 2006, I came away extremely impressed. The park is extremely spacious, the concessions are well varied and very tasty, and the overall game presentation is well done. But upon a return visit in 2011, I was disappointed to find some "improvements" actually have slightly diminished the park for me. The team (or Penn State) found it necessary to install netting behind the dugouts, thus obscuring the views from the best seats in the house. Apparently this was done to cater to the fans who are not paying attention to the game. Frankly, this is a slap in the face to all the real baseball fans that show up. Despite this, I still really like Medlar Field. For my full review, you can check my website : BallparkReviews.com.
I attended a State College Spikes game earlier this summer at Medlar Field. The ballpark is a very nice design with up-to-date technology and nice seating and accommodations. And to make it even better the Spikes provided a nice, rare win for the crowd, which was one of the largest of the year I believe. Very nice ballpark - smaller than most big-leagues, but high-quality!
Went to one game and sat in the RF bleachers. There were other seats available but I just felt like taking in the game from there. It was pretty nice. The food was OK but nothing special. Lots of parking nearby. Stadium and field were passable but nothing special. The real gem here is the town of State College. Check out the restaurants and bars in town.
206 West College Ave
State College, PA 16801
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