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Official Review by Alex Shoemaker, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
In 2009, the University of Oregon announced its intentions of adding a collegiate baseball team to its list of Division-I programs. With that, the local MiLB Eugene Emeralds would have their ballpark for the future as well. The Oregon Ducks baseball team have played at PK Park since 2010.
The transition between parks hasn’t been all roses, however, as many old time fans have refused to make the move over. Many cited a PA system that usually played way too loud, or lack of nostalgia.
Civic Stadium, the former home to the Emeralds, was out-of-date, needed millions of dollars of repairs and a major facelift. Both locker rooms failed to meet MiLB standards, and pillars blocked many fans’ viewpoints.
To those boycotting the relocation, you will have to wait a long time. In 2009, the Ems agreed to a 20-year lease worth approximately $200,000 per season. The Ems will be at PK Park for a while.
PK Park, named after former University of Oregon athletic director Pat Kilkenny, cost somewhere between $15-$18 million and is one of the most expensive college baseball stadiums in existence.
The stadium features state-of-the-art home and visiting locker rooms, a high-definition video board and a classic manual scoreboard located in the home team’s bullpen.
PK Park can hold approximately 4,000 visitors.
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".
At PK Park, fans can find a plethora of mouthwatering foods from which to choose. A burger stand sits at the front of the park, where fans can choose what goes on their burger, dog, brat or other entrée.
To those not interested in getting something from the grill, fans can go to the upper-concourse and have the option of pulled pork sandwiches, steak sandwiches and more.
My favorite item available is Prince Pucklers Ice Cream. The local ice cream company has been providing delectable treats to Ems fans for decades and is one of the best creameries in the North West.
While Budweiser is the primary sponsor for the Ems, fans have choices of multiple local beers. Periodically during the game, half-off discounts for an Ems' extra base hit will be called out, and fans will rush to the stands before time runs out.
PK Park has one of the nicest atmospheres in the Northwest League.
The seats, like the university's basketball and football stadiums, are positioned as close to the field of play to give fans the ultimate experience and real time feel.
Hugging around the curvature of the field, seats go from behind home plate to both base lines, stopping before hitting the outfield. Bleachers are positioned, for general admission tickets, on the third base side and a plaza-like scene on the first base side.
There are no seats in "home run territory", unfortunately.
The Ems' PR team does an A+ job of making the games enjoyable for all ages, constantly performing contests for the fans throughout. Games include a "Price is Right", "What's In the Box", "Ice Cream Through", races and more.
The rating for neighborhood is one for debate. PK Park is located directly next to Autzen Stadium and several UO sporting fields, giving it a collegiate feel.
It's also, however, two miles from campus and the Ems are not affiliated with the university.
As far as food spots near the ballpark, fans can go to The O Bar and Grill. Whether you're interested in a pregame meal or a beer after, you can fill up at The O Bar.
It's hard to put much stock into the passion of fans for MiLB. Yes some teams have deep fanbases, but most of the crowd at PK Park consists of families wanting to see a good game, get some good food and just have a day off. Besides a home run or score, it's hard to electrify the masses. Fans are respectable, and security is not an issue, but overall the fans fall a bit flat.
Access to the stadium is about what you'd expect. Parking is right next to the ballpark, and at only $3, affordable.
PK Park is close to I-5, the West Coast's largest interstate. Follow the signs to Autzen Stadium, Oregon's football venue, and you should see the field.
PK Park is a great place to catch a game. Whether it's with work, family, by yourself or with friends, there is never a bad time to watch America's pastime.
Tickets range from $12-$18, and there really isn't a bad seat in the place.
Whether you're the type who likes to be right behind home, or down the first base line, you'll have a great view.
A major concern for fans with young children is safety at the ballpark. Those worries are taken care of at PK Park.
A massive net hugs the curvature of the field, blocking foul balls from fans. Of course it is advisable to watch out for foul balls, but line drives are not going to go flying into the crowd.
Also, staff members often hand out sunscreen on extra hot days.
Member Review by megminard on Jul 09, 2012
I visited this stadium just about a year ago (July, 2011). I agree with most of what was said in this review.
What I liked: Canadian National anthem was played (the visiting team was the VanCouver Canadians, plenty of leg room, excellent variety of beer including local brews, plenty of lighting for keeping score, could walk to stadium from hotel. There's a LaQuinta maybe 1/4 mile from the park.
What I didn't like (this is where I may disagree with the author but it is certainly just preferences - not good/bad; just different): Net around the entire field, there is music and noise between almost every pitch and even when announcing pitcher changes so one couldn't hear who was pitching. There was an alcohol monitor person - which I had not seen at a minor league stadium; never mind a low A team.
I'd recommend visiting the stadium.
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