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Official Review by Lloyd Brown, Stadium Journey Special Correspondent
Located along the state line of Minnesota and North Dakota, Fargo, North Dakota is home to the North Dakota State University (NDSU) and its Bison athletic teams. The Bison name was chosen due to the fierce and powerful nature of the animal, and the fact that the prairies of the north central U.S. were the home grounds of these magnificent beasts.
The baseball Bison call Newman Outdoor Field their home. They share the facility with the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks minor league team of the independent American Association. Newman Outdoor Field was completed in 1996 and has a seating capacity of 4,419. Among the amenities offered at Newman are 12 luxury suites and a large LED video board. The out of town scoreboard in left field is hand-operated as a nod to old-time baseball.
In baseball, NDSU competes in the Summit League, which includes IPFW, Oral Roberts University, the University of Nebraska-Omaha, Western Illinois and South Dakota State. The Bison's primary rival however, is the University of North Dakota, which is located just 50 miles up I-29 from NDSU. Games between these two state schools are always sellouts. They have appeared in three NCAA regionals.
This review will focus on Newman Outdoor Field as it operates for NDSU games. For a look at the stadium in its minor league role, please see the review for the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks.
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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".
During NDSU home games only one concession stand is open on the concourse. The hot drinks offered are coffee, hot chocolate and cappuccino, which each sell for $2.00. (It is important to note that weather in this area of the country can be cold well into the baseball season, especially at night.) A large soda will cost $3.50, while a small soda goes for $2.75. Food selections include hot dogs ($1.50), brats ($3.75), sausage ($3.50) and a pulled pork combo plate (includes chips and a drink) for $5. The merchandise store in the stadium carries only Red Hawks memorabilia and is not open during NDSU games.
The friendliness and laid-back nature of a basically rural and farming community are evident at Bison games. The fans are here to have a good time, but do not live or die by the number of wins and losses the team has. The Summit League is made up of very similar communities, and there is a good-natured rivalry between the towns. Newman Outdoor Field also realizes that baseball is the star and does not blast theme music for every player as they come to bat or constantly try to sell you something during every break in the action. It is a very pleasant place to enjoy a game.
Newman Outdoor Stadium is located on the campus of North Dakota State University, next door to the Fargodome. The school has an enrollment of nearly 15,000 students, with the largest majors being Agriculture, Business and Liberal Arts. The immediate area around the field is filled with academic buildings, as well as restaurants that cater to the large student population. Some of the more popular ones are JL Burgers, Sammy's Pizza, Lucky 13 Pub and OB Sports Zone, and the Fargo Brewing Company. As far as the overall town, Fargo is the largest city in North Dakota, with a population of more than 113,000 people. Because of its size in a sparsely populated state, Fargo is a major destination for North Dakota residents, as far as retail, medical facilities, education and cultural offerings. West Acres Mall is the largest shopping mall in the Dakotas and is located just over two miles from Newman Field. Fargo also is home to many music and art venues, including the Plains Art Museum and the Fargodome for major concerts.
Though far north of most Midwestern cities, NDSU and Fargo area residents do share in the Midwestern love of baseball that is so evident in places like St. Louis, Chicago, Kansas City or Des Moines. Being a smaller city, there is a family feel between the university and the residents of the city, and they are mutually proud of each other's accomplishments. The fans are very knowledgeable about baseball, and the various Bison team members and are happy to share their knowledge with you. The fans around me gave me some great suggestions on where to eat and attractions I should see. The turnout at the games is excellent, as Fargo residents celebrate the end of the often frigid winters with the arrival of baseball season.
Newman Outdoor Field is easy to get to, as it is just off the interstate (I- 29) and is located right on the North Dakota State University campus. Parking is plentiful, as it shares parking lots with the adjacent Fargodome, a multipurpose facility that hosts Bisons football, trade shows and concerts. Fargo's Hector International Airport is located across the street from the campus, with multiple flights a day between Fargo and the Twin Cities or Chicago. Due to the airport's proximity to the campus, there are a number of hotels nearby, so you do not even need a rental car or a cab to get to the games.
Here's a short preview of what you can expect to see on a visit to Newman Outdoor Stadium with the NDSU baseball coach as your guide:
Tickets to the Bisons games are $5 for adults and $3 for youth under 16. The nearby hotels run an average of $80-$100. Parking is $2.00, but if you are staying at one of the nearby airport hotels, you can simply walk to the park and avoid this cost. The concessions are very reasonably priced. Attending a game here is not going to cost you a lot of buffalo bills!
Even though you are in the typically frozen North Country, there are several interesting things to do in Fargo: 1) a top attraction is the famous wood chipper from the movie "Fargo," which is on display at the Fargo-Moorhead Visitor's Center... and yes, the foot is still protruding out of it. Have your photo made with this classic prop... you betcha! The next two attractions both center on baseball and Fargo. 2) Roger Maris was a lifelong resident of Fargo and never forgot his roots. The town is very proud to have had him as a native son and sponsors the Roger Maris Museum at the West Acres Mall. Always humble, Maris first declined the idea, but finally approved the idea after making the stipulations that it be accessible to the public and that no fee be charged for persons to visit it. 3) Maury Wills, baseball's premier base stealer, also has his own museum, which is located inside of Newman Outdoor Field. Though not a Fargo native, Wills has been part of the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks minor league organization since 1996.
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301 Broadway N
Fargo, ND 58102
610 N University Dr
Fargo, ND 58102
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