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Official Review by Andy Mantsch, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
At first glance, you'd have no idea that Russ Chandler Stadium is a classic ballpark. Its modern and bright feel does not at all indicate its rich past dating all the way back to 1930. Built from the equally historic football team's payout from the 1929 Rose Bowl, the stadium was essentially torn down and rebuilt in 2002 into the modern brick structure it is today.
Yellow Jackets baseball may not be the most successful program in college baseball history, but it's seen its fair share of success. With 13 NCAA Regional experiences culminating in a handful of College World Series appearances, most recently in 2006. Russ Chandler Stadium has been their home for nearly a century, although in different forms.
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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".
The menu options are pretty standard for college baseball, with prices that are slightly above what you'd hope for.
There is a concession stand behind either dugout. Hot dogs ($5), Johnsonville sausages ($6) and nachos with jalapenos ($5) are the "hot play" options off the menu, with pretzels ($5) making up the general list of meals. Peanuts and Cracker Jack ($5) are classic side items you can purchase, while candy, popcorn and sunflower seeds ($4) are also available.
Coke products are available in sizes ranging from regular souvenir cups ($4) up to a souvenir mug ($8). Hot chocolate ($4) is available during cold weather and Dasani bottled water ($4) is also available.
Nothing here stands out quite like the Johnsonville sausage, so grab one of those and a souvenir mug before heading to your seat.
The stadium itself is nice enough, but the outfield views of downtown Atlanta stretching into the sky make it a unique venue for any visitor.
The layout itself is pretty simple, but sometimes with baseball, simple is beautiful. The brick facade and wide walkable concourse make it a comfortable park, whether sitting or standing. Seatbacks behind home plate make for the most comfortable seating options, but the bleachers lining the baselines are more than spacious. The field dimensions are pretty basic, but the trees and frat houses beyond the walls give the park a distinct college feel. Beyond the right field wall, Atlanta's skyline reminds you that this isn't a rural ballpark setting.
On-field promotion is pretty standard for any baseball game. Dizzy bat and sack races are some of the simple between-innings promotions that you can expect. Georgia Tech fight songs and traditions get the fans involved throughout the game.
There's not really a bad seat in the ballpark, with great views from everywhere, but the third base line gives you easiest access to concessions while affording views of the city towering over the playing field. This is easily the most iconic spot to take in a game from.
You don't find many better surrounding areas for college baseball than downtown Atlanta. Bars, restaurants, attractions......Atlanta can offer you all of this. The Atlanta airport is about a 30-minute drive away, although notoriously bad Atlanta traffic can present a challenge. The stadium is in the heart of campus, so it's a very safe and comfortable area.
There's no more iconic restaurant in the area than the Varsity, and it's a short walk from campus or a five-minute drive. If you love greasy burgers and fries, that's the place for you. If you take a short drive (or slightly longer walk) to downtown, food options will be obviously abundant. Some personal favorites are Meehan's Public House, Legal Sea Foods and Der Biergarten.
Also a short drive and slightly longer walk away are some great attractions to visit. The World Of Coca-Cola is a great place to explore the history of the famous soft drink and sample every possibly known version from everywhere in the world. Right next door is the Georgia Aquarium, and across the street is Centennial Olympic Park, both great places to spend a day.
Downtown Atlanta is full of great places to stay for a visit. You could stay at the Hampton Inn just off of campus for a short walk to the game, but I'd recommend staying in the heart of Atlanta for the restaurants and attractions. The Hilton Garden Inn Downtown is conveniently located next door to the Georgia Aquarium and World Of Coca-Cola, as well as many of the excellent local restaurants. There are a variety of other options to choose from, if you'd like to branch out.
Russ Chandler Stadium is a great place to watch a game and has a pretty solid fan base, as college baseball standards go.
Georgia Tech averages just under 2,000 per game in attendance. While not among the elite NCAA programs, this is more than enough to consistently rank in the upper echelon of programs.
The crowd itself doesn't quite qualify as rowdy, but they do engage in the game, sing fight songs and make their presence known. They come to life for "Georgia Tech, You've Said It All" and support their Yellow Jackets when it's needed. They may not create the most hostile home-field advantage in sports, but they do enough to make Russ Chandler unique.
Atlanta is notoriously bad for traffic, but this isn't a Braves or Falcons game. Getting to the game will be easier that most Atlanta sports events might be.
There are MARTA stations within a relatively reasonable walk from Russ Chandler, but nothing that will arrive at the gates of the stadium. Midtown Station and North Avenue Station are the closest stops, and are about seven or eight blocks away apiece.
If you drive, there is a $5 parking garage just across the street with plenty of room. Because you're in the center of campus in the larger downtown area, this is far superior than trying to find any free parking in the vicinity.
There is a main gate to enter the stadium, and it is very easy for access. The gate enters on the third baseline onto the concourse with views of downtown. The main concessions are right there, and this is the best spot to enter. There is another gate on the first baseline, but this is further from parking and has no ticket window.
The stadium is relatively easy to move around, although the upper concourse oddly does not extend the length of the seating. To move from third base to first base, you have to descend some stairs and walk around at playing field level. Aside from the sidewalk behind the first base bleachers, everywhere has a view of the field. Restrooms are simple enough and satisfactory for the size of the crowd.
It may not be the cheapest ballpark in terms of parking and food, but the overall price of attending a game is well within affordable limits.
Tickets can be had for $5 for chairback and $4 for bleacher seats, which is well under the normal price for college baseball tickets for major programs. Food may be slightly above average, and paying for parking isn't always the norm for college, but overall, this is an affordable experience.
If you buy online in advance, there are often buy-one get-one options available to save a little money.
There are a few unique value-added items at Russ Chandler, starting with the great view of downtown. This skyline epitomizes what makes a game here worth seeing. The outfield wall is also decorated with the numbers of Georgia Tech greats, most notably Jason Varitek and Nomar Garciaparra. And overall, despite its modern appearance, the fact that Russ Chandler has been the home of the Yellow Jackets for nearly a century makes it a bit of a special venue to visit.
Overall, this is a very nice college baseball experience hidden in a city full of sports experiences. It may not be the best out there, but it's far from the worst, and is full of its own kind of character. I'd definitely recommend a lazy Sunday with a Johnsonville sausage at a Yellow Jackets game.
Member Review by Brian L Jones on Apr 28, 2014
Russ Chandler Stadium is the home of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets baseball team, and it has been home since 1930. During that span, the stadium has gone through two major renovations. In 1985 a grandstand was added, and then in 2002, the stadium was completely rebuilt.
Russ Chandler has seen its share of great baseball, as the team has been to the College World Series four times. But because of the history of the stadium as well as the team, Russ Chandler is a great place to experience college baseball. From the quality of play to the between-inning contests they have for kids, the officials at Russ Chandler Stadium understand what it takes to get fans into the stadium and make sure they come back.
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