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Official Review by Tyler Green, Stadium Journey Special Correspondent
The Eastern Kentucky Colonels play their home baseball games at Turkey Hughes Field. The venue was named for Charles T. "Turkey" Hughes, who was quite a renaissance man in EKU athletics history. During his 43 years on the Richmond campus, he was the head coach of five sports, including baseball, and even helped form the Ohio Valley Conference in 1948. His name graces this 1960s venue due to these numerous contributions to Colonel athletics.
The listed capacity of Turkey Hughes Field is 500 spectators. The stadium consists of three sections of bleachers, each with ten rows, meaning no fans are far from the action at home plate. If they choose, fans can also stand along the brick wall past the dugouts on either the first or third baseline. The playing surface has a unique character; it features a synthetic turf infield which allows EKU games to be played in a variety of weather scenarios. The outfield remains the traditional patterned grass and the pitcher's mound is the expected dirt. This field and the brick wall backstop were the result of a $500,000 renovation in 2009 and more upgrades are planned for the future.
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".
A single food cart provides the food and beverage selections at Turkey Hughes Field. The limited selections are balanced out by the extremely reasonable prices. Hot items are guaranteed to be fresh, as a charcoal grill is used to prepare hamburgers and hot dogs right next to the cart. The hamburger, cheeseburger, and hot dog sell for $1.50, $2, and $1.50, respectively. As for drinks, water and soft drinks are $1, while Gatorade is $2.
Other assorted selections are chips or candy for $1 and kettle corn for $3. For those fans still conscious of their burger toppings or previous meal, the food cart even sells 3 pieces of chewing gum for 25 cents. It may not be the biggest selection in sports, but it certainly is an affordable menu.
As with any baseball stadium, walk-up music accompanies each EKU batter on their trip up to the plate. The pre-game music and inter-inning sounds is almost entirely country music. Outside this music and sporadic cheering from the minimal crowd, there is not much in the way of atmosphere to be found at Turkey Hughes Stadium.
Turkey Hughes Field is situated in the middle of Eastern Kentucky University's sports complex. It is flanked on one side by tennis courts and the basketball gym, McBrayer Arena, and the other side by the football stadium, Roy Kidd Stadium. As found at most populous interstate exits, a variety of fast food is available on the 1.5 mile stretch between I-75 and Turkey Hughes Field. Choices include McDonald's; Qdoba; Fazoli's, a regional fast-food Italian chain; and Lee's, a southern fried chicken joint.
Visiting fans wanting to explore the Eastern Kentucky campus just have to take a short walk north of the venue to experience the central campus. Just north of campus on Main Street, or about a mile from Turkey Hughes Field, are several bars and grills. Jerzees, Madison Garden, and Paddy Wagon Irish Pub are all in this area and known as gathering places.
During my most recent visit in early 2013, a respectable number of EKU fans showed up for a Sunday afternoon conference game, mostly filling the bleachers behind the Colonel dugout near third base. The fan support is typical, with fans taking breaks from conversation to cheer and clap for the end of a defensive half inning or base hits.
Turkey Hughes Field is located on the southern end of the Eastern Kentucky University campus. Visitors should take exit 87 off I-75 and travel east approximately 1.5 miles. It's proximity to an interstate as major as I-75 makes Hughes Field easily accessible from a variety of regional cities, especially Lexington, which is a brief 40 minutes to the north.
Free parking is available immediately behind the venue in the EKU campus lots, which are off control during the times of baseball games, such as weekends and weekday evenings. Keep in mind that this is directly behind a baseball stadium; be sure to park as far from the stadium as you can, but in the same lot, as foul balls frequently land directly behind the venue.
Since fans can congregate along the baseline walls, this area along third base would be the best place for wheelchair seating. There are no restroom facilities at Turkey Hughes Field; fans needing this service should use the facilities in the adjacent McBrayer Arena.
There is no charge for admission for an EKU baseball game at Turkey Hughes Field. However, there is also not much atmosphere. For long-time Colonel fans or baseball lovers, an EKU game is an extremely affordable, accessible, and pleasant way to spend an afternoon or evening. For everyone else, Turkey Hughes Field may not be the most lively use of your time. An EKU baseball game here is simply what you make of it. If you love free baseball, catch at game at Turkey Hughes Field soon
One bonus point for the banner celebrating EKU's 16 Ohio Valley Conference championships, which leads the OVC. The most recent of these was in 2012.
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