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Official Review by Justin Sutton, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
Home to one of the hotter programs in SWAC baseball, Robert Braddy Field offers baseball fans a cheap ticket to catch college baseball in central Mississippi.
While the ballpark, named after the former Jackson State athletic director, does not have the thrills that nearby Trustmark Park or the stadiums of the big three in Mississippi have, fans going to Jackson State can still have a quality experience for a fair price when taking in Tiger baseball in the 800 person capacity complex built in 2006.
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With signs in the area that concessions and restrooms are available in other places, Jackson State baseball might offer more than what appears in their match-up against Florida A&M.
What is there for that game is mainly candy and sodas for sale, and not much else. With the lack of fans in the stands, having a full menu would make little sense in regards to the bottom line of the budget.
With outside food and beverages not being allowed in the ballpark (or at least that is what the sign says), fans do not have many options at the game. However, many fans do tailgate behind the outfield wall.
The seats at Robert Braddy Field provide a great view of the game, especially those behind home plate, which have many fellow student athletes in attendance. In addition, many parents make it out to the games, so there is an interested crowd.
The only downside to the seats is that they are all bleacher seats. While chair backs would be nice, the seats have good sight lines, and fans can bring in some of their own chairs to watch the game, as well.
For kids at the game, they can run down foul balls and get close to the bullpens, and they do have plenty of room to run around during the game. However, if the younger fans are looking for lots of entertainment between innings, they are out of luck.
There is not much of a way to sugarcoat this. Jackson State is not located in the greatest part of Jackson. However, with the talks of a new domed stadium in the works and the continued work to revitalize the downtown area of the city, this circumstance may change.
There is one restaurant within walking distance of the ballpark, The Penguin. A restaurant that was quite popular a half-century ago has worked to make a return to the Jackson night scene. With a kitchen open until 10 pm and a bar open much later, fans can dine before or after the game. The only drawback might be the price, as much of the menu comes in over $15 per entrée, but it looks as though some patrons are more than fine with the price given the food and atmosphere.
The fans in attendance at the game did their best to enhance the atmosphere, but for the most part, there were many empty spots in the bleachers on a great evening to watch baseball.
With the Tigers having recently clinched a share of the SWAC Eastern division crown and having the most wins in conference play when I visited, the lack of fans came as a bit of a surprise.
Getting to Robert Braddy Field is not much of a challenge for fans traveling to the game. The stadium is about five minutes off of Interstate 20 on the University exit. Parking is located within a two-to-five minute walk of the baseball field. If fans want to tailgate behind the outfield wall, they can park along John R. Lynch Street, and the raised walls beyond the outfield fence protect their cars.
The big knock on getting to the stadium is that there are not many signs to help someone unacquainted to Jackson State find their way around. Also, fans have to leave the complex to use the restroom, walking a few minutes to the tennis complex.
With tickets only priced at five dollars a person, no one can complain about the cost of attending a game. The Tigers have produced many players drafted in the MLB draft, some of whom were first-rounders. The fellow foes of the Tigers in SWAC play also bring quality local talent and MLB talent to Jackson State.
Robert Braddy Field has quality sight lines, and beyond right field, the skyline of downtown Jackson makes for a great view.
The field, which is maintained by the coaching staff, looks great, as does most of the campus, which has been revitalized over the past few years.
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