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Official Review by Lloyd Brown, Stadium Journey Special Correspondent
Florida A&M University is one of the nation’s oldest Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU), as it was founded in 1887. Located in Tallahassee, Florida, it has an enrollment of more than 11,000 students on its 422 acre campus. The most popular majors are business administration, biology, criminal justice and engineering. Other unique academic offerings are jazz studies, health informatics and Black Studies. Some of FAMU’S most famous graduates are Bob Hayes of the Dallas Cowboys, Althea Gibson of tennis fame, Pam Oliver of Fox Sports, and Congresswoman Carrie Meek.
The baseball program has a long history at the university, as the first team was fielded in 1899. Some of its most famous alums include major leaguers Hal McRae, Vince Coleman, Marquis Grissom, and Andre Dawson. The Rattlers have been to 14 NCAA tournaments.
In 1983, Rattler baseball moved into its present home, Moore-Kittles Field, named for two long-time FAMU baseball coaches. The stadium has a seating capacity of just 500, and features a natural grass field.
The Rattlers athletic teams compete in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC). FAMU also has a very national schedule of opponents as many northern teams schedule games in the Sunshine State during the late winter / early spring months due to the warm climate and their own home fields still be covered with snow.
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 at Moore-Kittles are extremely limited, as the concession stand is literally a folding table behind the backstop, with a cooler for the drinks. The items available are chips, candy, and peanuts, each selling for a dollar. Coca-Cola products are available for $2. Many of the home crowd bring their own coolers with them and since there is no admission cost, people make runs to the convenience store two blocks down the road.
The atmosphere at FAMU baseball games is that of a community gathering. A large portion of the crowd are elderly fans that live in the neighborhood and simply walk over to the games for a few hours of free entertainment. It is not unusual for several generations of a family to be at a game. The neighbors really get into the games and know the players by their first name.
Another nice aspect to the game atmosphere is the interaction between the neighborhood residents, FAMU students in attendance and parents of many of the ball players. In return, the FAMU players show a great deal of respect for their supporters, by applauding them at the end of the game.
FAMU is located just south of downtown Tallahassee and is close to a wide variety of retail, dining and lodging establishments. Locals say that Cassandra's, located just across the street from the university is the place to go for great Southern food.
FAMU and Florida State University are only 1-2 miles apart and this area of Tallahassee is known as the CollegeTown neighborhood. Some of the more popular eating and watering establishments in the area are Madison Social, MODA, and Taco Taqueria.
The funky Railroad Square Arts District is home to many unique studios and galleries and the Proof Brewery. Tallahassee's main mall, Governor's Square Mall is located on nearby Apalachee Parkway, as are a majority of the hotel chains.
The area between FAMU and FSU also has a major new greenway park called the Cascades Park, which includes walking/biking trails, the Capital City Amphitheatre and a waterfall.
FAMU fans love their baseball and the bleachers are at capacity at nearly every game. They are very knowledgeable about the game and really create some noise during Rattler Rallies. There is no doubting their allegiance, as FAMU's orange and green team colors are hard to miss.
Visiting fans are very welcome at the games, as many of the northern colleges have strong fan bases that travel to Florida to escape the harsh weather at the beginning of college baseball season. FAMU followers are proud of their school and believe in southern hospitality, so you will not hear any trash talking at Moore-Kittles Field.
Florida A&M is located in the state capital of Tallahassee, which is at the midpoint of the Florida Panhandle. It is just a few miles off I-10 and is located very close to the Tallahassee Regional Airport. FAMU is a very easy campus to navigate and parking is free for baseball games. There are numerous hotels and restaurants located in close proximity to the campus. The StarMetro Transit system provides excellent service for the city of Tallahassee and also provides on-campus shuttle bus service for FAMU as well as FSU.
There is no charge to attend FAMU baseball games and parking is free immediately adjacent to the field. Hotels are easy to find in the $70-$80 range, unless there is a major event going on in the Tallahassee area. A majority of the restaurants near the universities primarily cater to a college student's budget so a good meal can be had at a reasonable price.
Tallahassee has a wide variety of extras to offer during your visit. Being the state capital, there are a number of museums to choose from. There are two that stand out from the usual government-run exhibit halls. The first is managed by FAMU and takes a fascinating look at African American culture and famous African American citizens, many of which were graduates of the university. The Black Archives Research Center also has one of the few genealogical centers that can help trace the ancestry of many visitors back to slave times and before.
Car enthusiasts will really enjoy the Tallahassee Auto Museum, which is ranked as one of the top tourist attractions in the capital city.
If the FAMU baseball game does not totally satisfy your baseball urge you can always check out Dick Howser Stadium and the Florida State Seminoles baseball program. Located right next door to the stadium is the famous FSU Student Circus, one of the most unique offerings to be found on any college campus.
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