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Official Review by Paul Swaney, Stadium Journey Co-Founder
Rocky Miller Park, on the campus of Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, is a very small and cozy ballpark. There’s very little to be overly excited about, however, this is the Big Ten, so you’ll see some of the best collegiate baseball in the Midwest.
With a capacity of just 600, you may expect to see an uncomfortable set of bleachers. Instead I was surprised and pleased to find faded purple plastic seats throughout with pretty good leg room, but no cup holders. In short, this is a cozy place to see a game when you’re on the north side of Chicago.
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There's one small trailer offering food at Rocky Miller Park. The little stand has more than you may expect, with Polish dogs ($4), burgers ($5), hot dogs ($3), and brats ($4.50). Soft pretzels ($4), nachos ($4), and popcorn are also available and of pretty good quality.
Coke is available ($4), along with bottles of water ($3.50).
Even with the small capacity, there were still plenty of empty seats, and very little to cause additional excitement beyond the play on the field. I did appreciate that they did a t-shirt toss, and even more appreciative when the regular in front of me caught a shirt and handed it back to me, apparently with already too much purple in his wardrobe.
The press box is so small that the radio play by play sits at a table on the top of the concourse. It may be distracting to some to hear the play by play while watching the game in person, but I rather enjoyed it.
A stop at Mustard's Last Stand is a must when you see a game at Northwestern. The small Chicago-style hot dog stand has plenty of pictures and memorabilia on the walls, and they also serve up some delicious encased meats.
Evanston is a great little college town, so heading in to downtown is also an excellent idea. There are plenty of sports bars and restaurants to choose from. If you are staying in Evanston, and want to avoid the huge prices of the hotels in downtown Chicago, then I would recommend the Hilton Garden Inn (although still fairly expensive, but less so compared to Chicago rates), which is just across from the large movie theatre on Maple Avenue.
There aren't many fans in the house at Rocky Miller Park, but virtually everyone on had has a major vested interested in the outcome. You'll find mostly family members, students, and folks from the neighborhood that attend several games. They make for a very comfortable experience.
Parking is free if you choose to drive to a game. You may also choose to take the train. You'll want the purple line, exiting at the Central stop. From there, walk west about a quarter mile, turning right (north) on Ashland. You'll walk past the football stadium, Ryan Field, as well as the basketball arena, Welsh-Ryan Arena before making your way to Rocky Miller Park.
I thought the $7 price for admission was just a little high for what you'll get for your trip to Rocky Miller Park. Youth can gain admission for just $4.
One extra point for the shrubs that surround the seating area, adding some ambiance as well as some shade in the late afternoon. A second extra point for the bingo game they offered between innings, one of my favorite distractions when at a ballgame.
You'll be happy with your trip to Rocky Miller Park. There is nothing to knock your socks off, but it is a comfortable environment to see some Big Ten baseball.
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1454 Sherman Ave
Evanston, IL 60201
1613 Central St
Evanston, IL 60201
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