Photos by Paul Swaney, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 2.43
Alfred D. Boyer Stadium Western Ave & University Dr Macomb, IL 61455
Year Opened: 2006 Capacity: 500
Baseball at Boyer Stadium
Opened in 2006, Alfred D. Boyer Stadium is the minimal, yet functional home of the Western Illinois Fighting Leathernecks baseball team. The stadium’s namesake is a 1972 graduate of WIU, and donated $150,000 toward the facility’s construction.
The seating capacity is an intimate 500 green plastic seats, found in seven rows behind the home plate area.
Western Illinois competes in the Summit League. Since joining the league in 2008, the Leathernecks have generally finished closer to the bottom of the league than the top. In fact, it’s been since 1984 that Western Illinois has finished on top of the regular season standings, back when they were part of the now defunct Mid-Continent Conference.
Fans have to go quite a ways back for any big names to come out of their baseball program. The Reuschel brothers, Paul and Rick, played in Macomb in the early 1970’s, while Gene Lamont was a member of the Leathernecks in the 1960’s.
Food & Beverage 1
There is one small concession stand offering Coke products and bottled water ($2), along with assorted candy ($1). The 20-ounce bottled soda offerings include Coke, Diet Coke, Sprite, Powerade, and Dasani water. Don’t come hungry if you come to a Western Illinois game.
Fans are free to bring their own food and drink, but no alcohol is permitted. It would be a wise decision to pack something to get you through the contest.
The game day presentation is very bare bones, so a lot of the atmosphere is dependent upon the game and the weather. This can be a great place to spend a warm spring day. There are no lights at Boyer Stadium, so you know you’ll be seeing a day game.
There are seven rows of green plastic chairs behind home plate, with three rows in front of the concourse, and four additional rows behind the concourse. There are no cup holders, and the leg room is about average.
There are a few picnic tables down the right field line, so fans may choose to pack a picnic and have a place to spread out their food. More fans choose to sit along the left field line, in part because the Western Illinois dugout is on that side. Here you’ll find fans with chairs or blankets that they brought with them, or fans who simply choose to stand along the fence.
Also on the third base side, the school put out two sets of bean bag toss (also known as cornhole) for fans to use. This is an especially good distraction should you have young kids with you during your visit.
The field itself is a dirt and grass field, which always adds to the fan experience (as opposed to an all-turf field). The outfield is fairly large with the distance down the left field line being 325 feet, and 330 feet to the right field foul pole. Straightaway center field is 395 feet to the wall, and the power alleys are 365 feet to left center, and 375 feet to right center.
The scoreboard is less than adequate, as it doesn’t display hits or errors. There’s a simple line score, with the current balls, strikes, and outs as well as the number of the player at bat.
A one sheet program is available along the first base side. If you like to keep score at the game, you’ll need to have your own scorecard as the program simply gives you each roster, the WIU schedule, and a few other odds and ends.
Boyer Stadium is located near the other Western Illinois athletic facilities including Western Hall and Hanson Field. It is about a two mile walk, or six minute drive to get to the quaint downtown Macomb. Chicks on the Square is a popular stop to pick up some of their “chicken lips,” which are essentially very large chicken tenders drenched in their exceptionally good Buffalo sauce. There are also a couple of TVs here, and a decent beer selection.
Pag’s Pizza is also located in the Square. It’s a modest pizzeria serving only pizza, pasta, and pop. But their thin crust is really good, and may be the kind of thing that you want to order to go and take to the field with you.
As is the case with many fan bases in the Midwest, you’ll find mostly family and friends at a Western Illinois game, along with a few students who decide to come out to watch a few innings. On the one hand, these fans really have a personal interest in the outcome, or at least a player. On the other hand, there aren’t a lot of them. This results in a fairly laid back, but pleasant atmosphere when seeing a Leathernecks baseball game.
There is some parking available along the left field side of Boyer Stadium, but it is also marked as student parking for the dormitory across the street. Several fans park here, and it doesn’t seem to be closely monitored, so if you can find a spot, you’ll probably be alright. Keep in mind though that these spots can easily be hit by foul balls, so park at your own risk.
Parking is also available nearby at Western Hall, where there is a much larger lot, and then there’s just a short walk over the ballpark. This is probably the safer bet. In either case, parking is free of charge.
Port-a-potties are available as your restroom facility, although you could also cross the street and use Western Hall, which will almost assuredly be open with more proper facilities should you prefer that.
Return on Investment 4
Parking is free, admission is free, and the most you’ll likely spend on food is $3 per person (although all you’ll get is a sugar high). It’s hard to quibble with a sports experience at the Division I level that will cost you nothing. If you’re in the area and the weather is nice, then this is a fine way to spend your afternoon.
On the outfield walls, you’ll find a tribute to two former Leathernecks who died before their time. Devin VanBrooker is memorialized by a sign that reads, “In Loving Memory,” from Mom, Dad, and Tony. VanBrooker died in a motorcycle accident in 2010 at the age of 21. He was a left handed pitcher for the Leathernecks.
Another sign down the left field line reads, “Forever a Leatherneck,” and memorializes both VanBrooker, as well as Stan Hyman, the WIU all-time winningest baseball coach, who passed away in 2009 after a battle with leukemia. Hyman led the Leathernecks for eight seasons and amassed 116 victories during his time as coach.
If you are a fan of the Leathernecks, or are following your team to Macomb for a game, you will have a very comfortable experience at Boyer Stadium. While this venue is on no one’s bucket list, it is a fine facility in which to enjoy college baseball.