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Official Review by Andrew Maurins, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
Many Wolf Pack fans are surprised to learn that former football coach Chris Ault was not the longest-tenured head coach at Nevada. Instead, that honor goes to former baseball manager Gary Powers, who led the program from 1982 to 2013. In the span of that 31-year career, Powers’ teams won 937 games overall, including 17 seasons of 30 or more wins, three conference titles and four NCAA Tournament appearances. His players also boast equally extensive achievements, like 17 All-Americans and more than 75 draft selections by Major League Baseball teams, including Chris Singleton, Lyle Overbay, Kevin Kouzmanoff and Braden Shipley.
The Wolf Pack’s home of Peccole Park saw its first sellout just last year, beating the previous record by more than 500 fans while accompanying the school’s first Mountain West Conference title since joining the league in 2012. New managers Jay Johnson and now T.J. Bruce have tried to add to that rich legacy in a ballpark that Powers himself had a hand in getting built in 1988. And after that first taste of success, Nevada fans and players alike are eager for more.
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".
The food and drink selection is adequate in both variety and quality, but could greatly benefit from the addition of some signature items. The short lines, availability of beer and acceptance of credit cards buoy this rating.
Food items at the main concession stand include hot dogs, Polish dogs and ice cream bars for $6, nachos or children's hot dogs for $4.75, pretzels for $5, popcorn or assorted bags of candy for $4, and a bag of peanuts or a box of Cracker Jacks for $4.50. The secondary concession stand on the third baseline offers cheeseburgers with fries for $9, bags of sunflower seeds for $4.50 and small bags of chips for $1. None of the items will overwhelm you with quality, but they also won't set you back much.
Fountain drinks like Pepsi, Diet Pepsi, Mountain Dew and Sierra Mist fetch $3.50 for a child's size, $5 for a souvenir cup and $6 for a large, while Gatorade bottles go for $4.50 and bottled water for $4 (the secondary stand has 20-ounce soda bottles for $4.50). Like other Wolf Pack sporting events, beer is also sold at the park, with a domestic draft or bottle (Budweiser or Bud Lite) fetching $8 and a premium draft or bottle (Lagunitas IPA, Red Hook ESB, New Belgium Fat Tire or Angry Orchard) selling for $8.50.
The cheeseburger with fries has crisp, fresh toppings with your choice of cheese, and is our food recommendation. Discounts on all of the above items are available to Dugout Club boosters.
A game at Peccole Park is a fairly typical college baseball experience, quainter and much less bombastic than its football or basketball counterparts.
Most of the stadium's 3,000+ seats are aluminum-backed benches near the two dugouts, with sections of individual aluminum seats behind home plate and green plastic seats in the "Dugout Club" for boosters on the first baseline. While lacking cup holders, they're all fairly comfortable for what they offer, and all but the general admission section face the infield in close proximity to the action. The turf is entirely artificial save for the dirt pitcher's mound, and its dimensions are perfectly symmetrical: 340 feet down the left and right field lines, 383 feet to left- and right-center, and 401 feet to the large wall in straightaway center.
Peccole Park's scoreboard is strictly business, with the innings, runs, hits, errors and batter at the plate the only stats shown. Ditto for the entertainment, with the game's only music confined to the short breaks every half inning on the stadium's serviceable PA system.
Assigned seats are located in the sections behind home plate and the dugouts, while open general admission seats are next to left field. If you don't mind benches, the latter seats offer a nice view of the ballpark and beyond. Things to consider before a visit include the ballpark's lack of covered seats and northern Nevada's notoriously unpredictable springtime weather. We can't emphasize that last part enough: it's not uncommon to need both sunblock and a good jacket for certain games.
Peccole Park is tucked away on the northeastern edge of the University of Nevada campus near recent additions to its medical school and a set of railroad tracks across the street.
This is also applicable for hotels and other attractions. A stroll north through campus or a visit to the Fleischmann Planetarium are both worth looking into. The University Inn offers the closest stay, while the downtown core trades proximity for a greater variety of lodging options. Shows, bars and restaurants are the name of the game in that area, and the greater Truckee Meadows offers potential day trips like Lake Tahoe and Virginia City.
The fans at Peccole are exactly what you'd expect from a typical college baseball crowd: small in number, but sufficiently engaged in the action.
Typical attendance is slightly above the average for the seven teams comprising the Mountain West Conference, which is still only about a third of Peccole Park's capacity of 3,000. While cheering and booing at appropriate times, there still aren't a ton of them for most games, which are an even mix of a few hundred diehards and a few hundred more casual fans. The singing of "Take Me Out To The Ballgame" by the park's regulars at the 7th Inning Stretch is a welcome sight in an otherwise sedate affair.
Arriving at the ballpark is easy on most days, and getting into the park is one exception shy of a perfect score in this category.
The most practical public transit option is the Sierra Spirit bus operated by the Regional Transportation Commission. For 25 cents per rider from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm most days, a bus will make half hour rounds throughout the University and downtown areas. Reno-Tahoe International Airport is about 15 minutes away by car.
Most of the parking around Peccole is behind the center field wall and foul lines, and getting into and out of these free areas on non-school days is not a problem. Knowing the usual risk involved in parking where foul balls tend to land, we recommend parking a few rows behind the high center field wall when possible.
The park's two main entry gates don't strenuously check visitors, but there's one thing in this area fans should know about before attending a game. If you plan on buying tickets at the main gate the day of a game, bring cash, as the ticket office is not set up to take credit cards at this time, and there are no paperless options, either.
For the crowds typically on hand, the park is spacious and easy to move around in, although it's not open from the main concourse area. The permanent restroom on site is also sufficient for the park's needs, and reasonably clean. There's a number of handicap accessible parking spaces behind the third baseline, and a smattering of accessible seats throughout the stadium.
An outing at Peccole Park is just about the right price for a program at Nevada's level, and is sports entertainment on a budget.
Single game tickets start at $7 for the outfield general admission section, and go up to $9 in the two reserved sections behind the dugouts and $11 behind home plate. Youth and senior tickets in the outfield section are just $5. Group purchases of 20 or more tickets can bring costs down to $5 each in the outfield or $7 each in the reserved areas. Tickets for a whole season - usually 20-25 home games - start at $130 in the outfield and "Dugout Club" booster area, $145 in the reserved sections and $190 behind home plate, with youth and senior season tickets in the outfield only $45. Mini-plans in increments of four games ($28 outfield, $32 reserved) and eight games ($46 outfield, $54 reserved) for any games you choose are also available.
Another way to save even more money at the park is the $2 Tuesday games, where general admission tickets and hot dogs are just $2 each. For most other home games, a standard ballpark hot dog and a soda won't eclipse $15.
While the ballpark itself is thoroughly adequate in most ways, one particular extra sets it apart from its peers in the Mountain West, and that's the view from inside. The downtown Reno skyline and Sierra Nevada mountains in right field and hills out in left field make for a great backdrop. This is especially true for night games, when the field and the skyline are both lit up, and you can tell the stadium was oriented with those views in mind.
Other extra features common at other ballparks include the numbers and pictures of former Wolf Pack players on the left field wall, a similar poster for retired manager Gary Powers in right center, a banner of the team's various championships near the first baseline, and some custom laid stone work of a large Wolf Pack baseball at the main concession stand. While not really an "extra," it's nice to see these dedications to the program's past displayed on the outfield wall instead of tons of advertisements.
Lastly, the Wolf Pack athletic staff members at the park are courteous, informative, and easy to work with, which is always good for a point in this area.
Member Review by ryannorris on Jun 17, 2013
During the early and mid-1980s the University of Nevada's baseball team's future was in serious jeopardy. Support for the team at their off-campus home dwindled and the program was nearly discontinued.
In steps William Peccole and his generous donation to kickstart a new on-campus ballpark. In 1988, Peccole Park opened on UNR's campus. After a few expansions the ballpark boasts a capacity of 3,000, permanent restrooms and concession stands, training rooms, and a paved parking lot.
In 2006, FieldTurf was installed to help with drainage and other issues that go along with playing in Northern Nevada.
Since Peccole opened, Nevada has been to four NCAA regionals (1994, 1997, 1999, 2000).
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