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Official Review by Meg Minard, Stadium Journey Special Correspondent
The Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks play at Newman Outdoor Field, located on the North Dakota State University campus in Fargo, ND. The stadium is shared with the NCAA North Dakota State Bison.
The Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks began play in 1996 as a member of the now defunct Northern League (baseball). They joined the independent American Association league in 2011.
There are three retired numbers at Newman Outdoor Field: #8 – Roger Maris (he grew up in Fargo, ND); # 35 Jeff Bittiger (a former relief pitcher – now a player personnel consultant for the RedHawks); and #7 Joe Mathis (Joe played six years for the RedHawks, hit over .300 for three of those years, and his 42 doubles in one of those seasons is still a league record as of this review - beginning of the 2013 season).
Watching a RedHawks game is a pleasing experience and one worth visiting if you are in the area in the summer. The fans certainly show up for the games.
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 are lots of food and drink choices and the prices are very reasonable. There are four permanent concession areas, two each just to the left and right as you enter the main entranceway. They offer hot dogs, sausage, pulled pork sandwiches, and the like ranging from $1.50 - $5.00 depending on your preference. Snacks include the standard nachos, pretzels, popcorn, crackerjacks, candy, chips, soda (Pepsi), etc. ranging from $1.00 - $3.50.
The specialty comes with the many, many additional carts and booths selling a variety of offerings along the concourse: Dippin' Dots; super pretzels; a cart that sells Sno-Kones, caramel apples, cotton candy, and lemon shake-ups; Cloverdale meats which offers big dogs, loin pork sandwiches, and bacon wrapped hot dogs ranging from $3.50 to $6.50; a Hooters booth (a male in slacks and a golf shirt was servicing the booth the game I attended) that offers mostly wings, curly fries, and cheese curds ($4.00 - $6.00); and a Taco Shop cart (a variety of tacos and burritos) ranging from $2.00 - $6.50.
Beer booths and carts include Caps Premium Beers down the third base side (I'd recommend this place if you're more into craft beer vs. domestic) and there's a Coors Light booth on the first base side that offers beers (not just Coors Light) from $4.50 - $6.00. The permanent concessions, as well as other carts, also offer additional beer options.
And, there is a beer garden down the third base side of the field. For every Saturday home game, there is a Red Solo Cup special, a 12 oz domestic beer is $2.00. In the Beer Garden area is the Hi-Ho Burgers and Fries stand, a local to the Fargo, ND area. The Beer Garden is the only smoking area in the stadium.
Customer service is adequate. However, there are very, very long lines to the concession stands and not just pre-game but between innings, as well. So, plan timing of food and beverage purchases accordingly. No food or beverages are allowed from the outside.
Beyond the left field of Newman Outdoor Field one can see the Fargodome.
The sun sets behind the home plate area. The third base side gets the shade earlier than the first base side. One nice difference in attending a game in Fargo (in the summer) is daylight lasts forever. The game I attended was over by 9pm or so and it was another hour and a half or more to see full nightfall.
The home team is on the third base side, visitors on the first base side. There is one level of seating plus an upper suite level that contains 6 skyboxes; 3 each adjacent to the press box located behind home plate. The concourse does not run around the entire stadium; the field is viewable from all locations on the concourse.
If you want to sit behind the net, choose sections C through I. To be net free, choose sections A and B (first base) or J and K (third base). These are above the dugouts. Either of these sections are the ones I would recommend.
The PA announcer is fine and quality is sharp. The one area they need to review is when announcing relief pitchers. They seem to announce them when the music is playing so if you are keeping score, this will be a detriment. If you are a scorekeeper, my recommendation is get a roster sheet at the gift shop (no charge) prior to the game.
There are promotions and/or contests between every inning but they are not obtrusive and are fairly entertaining. Music selection and volume is perfect as you can easily talk with your neighbor (without yelling over the music) throughout any part of the game.
Starting line ups are posted in the entryway. They are on a TV monitor that is displayed up to 3 or 4 feet above an average person's height (it's to the left as you enter the main stadium entryway). Being the main entryway and the amount of fans that attend a RedHawks game, a scorekeeper will be restricting 'people movement' into the stadium as he/she records the line up and will strain their neck as they try to complete their scorecard.
There is a kid's playground beyond the first baseline. It is covered by a protective net, so kids can play without worrying about foul balls. All kids are welcome and there is no fee for using the playground.
The Newman Outdoor Field is on the campus of the North Dakota State University (NDSU) in between several other sports fields. For eats within walking distance (.5 mile) of the campus are a Buffalo Wild Wings and an Applebee's and plenty of fast food restaurants on 19th Ave N.
Although not walking distance, there is a good beer and burger place downtown Fargo: JL Beers and Burgers. They offer quite a variety of beers (two that are locally brewed by JL) and an assortment of burgers (and just burgers). It is located less than 3 miles from the stadium.
There are a few hotels within walking distance (up to .5 miles) such as Candlewood Suites (I stayed here and it was just fine) and Homewood Suites.
Tourist attractions include the Fargo Air Museum (walking distance from both hotels and the stadium), the Roger Maris Museum (about 3 miles from the stadium), and Red River Zoo (about 5 miles from stadium).
There certainly are plenty that attend the games. Attendance has averaged over 3,500 per game since joining the American Association in 2011. There are a few hecklers (especially on the first base side where the visiting dugout is located). It's funny the first few times but gets tired fast.
Fans are in their seats prior to the first pitch and they remain till the end of the game.
There are three gentlemen sitting beyond the left field wall that post K's on a billboard for each of the RedHawks strikeouts. I call it the K Zone. I was not able to get any more information than they are posting the strikes and they are regulars at the RedHawks games.
One can walk to Newman Outdoor Field from the hotels mentioned and feel completely safe. By automobile, take 19th Ave N. There is sign that says $2 for parking but I did not see anyone taking money. There are not a whole lot of signs on the street or on campus directing you to Newman Outdoor Field from 19th Ave N. Recommendation - look for the Fargodome and Newman Outdoor Field is one block south and west.
You can fly into Hector International Airport in Fargo, ND, which is 2.5 miles away (flights to Fargo are limited and you may need to do some serious searching for a price that's right this 2013 season).
The concourse flow and people movement is terrible. This includes the souvenir shop and its setup and location. There are too many people in too small of a concourse. Lines for concessions prevent natural movement of fans on the concourse. It is crowded.
There are two sets of restrooms on the main concourse and port-a-potties down by the beer garden. Expect lines.
Although noted outside the stadium, there is no bag check when entering the stadium for a RedHawks game (at least not the game I attended), although it is clearly posted that all bags are subject to search.
Ticket prices range from $4.00 - $9.00. The RedHawks charge an extra $2.00 for day of game purchase ($1.00 more for general admission). The food and beverages are very reasonable.
There are many promotions along with select games: giveaways, concerts, fireworks, etc. Check the RedHawks schedule for specific games.
Red Solo Cup for $2 is a perk for a Saturday home game, and yes, they did play the song several times.
Fans can listen to Scott Miller call the game on AM 740 The Fan. I asked around and fans enjoy listening to his call of the game.
Although mobbed, the souvenir shop does provide many selections such as t-shirts, sweatshirts and jackets, blankets (it IS North Dakota), pins, pennants, caps, foam fingers, and the like.
Both the US and CA flags are proudly displayed in center field, though only the US National Anthem was sung at the game I attended.
The foul poles are sponsored by the North Dakota Corn Growers Association.
Having a fine stadium, a good fan base, plenty of food options, and watching a baseball game make attending a game at Newman Outdoor Field a worthwhile visit if you are in the Fargo Moorhead area.
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