Ball Diamond – Ball State Cardinals
Photos by Marc Viquez, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 2.86
3031 N Tillotson Ave
Muncie, IN 47306
Year Opened: 1971
Chirp Chirp at the Ball Diamond
Baseball has been played at Ball State University since 1920. The Cardinals are members of the western division of the Mid-American Conference and have captured eight division titles, four regular season titles, and one tournament title. There have also been three trips to the NCAA regionals in 1965, 1969, and 2006.
A new era for the program began in 2016 when the university completely renovated its 45-year-old Ball Diamond. The results feel more like a brand new facility since the new ballpark bears little resemblance to the previous stadium.
A $20 million fundraising effort renovation included new dugouts, modernized press boxes, grandstands, and concession stands. The field has a capacity of 1,500 and has added a FieldTurf surface to the infield and outfield that allows the Cardinals to compete in nearly any weather condition. The locker room has also been upgraded and features individual wood lockers for each player plus a team area with large screen television and computer workstation.
The benefits of the new stadium help assist Ball State in recruiting as other schools in the region have also upgraded their ballparks.
Food & Beverage 2
There is one main concession stand underneath the grandstand and outside of the playing area. The lines can get long during heavily attended games, but the crowds move swiftly. You will find your basics such as hot dogs, hamburgers, brats, nachos, peanuts, candy, and Pepsi products. It is enough to keep you satisfied during the game, but not fill you up. It would be recommended to enjoy dinner somewhere else in town before or after the baseball game.
The ballpark provides great seating that is up close and personal. The field is always in pristine condition and there are various spots down the right and left field lines to enjoy the game while hunched over the fence with plenty of space to have the kids run around.
The atmosphere will depend on the weather, opponent, and promotion. When it’s Senior Day the crowd is rather large and boisterous, but when commencement is taking place down the street, the crowds are somewhat tepid. The customer should expect a somewhat relaxed atmosphere with baseball being the number one factor for why people are there. If you enjoy baseball without all the noise and gimmicks of the minor leagues, then a Ball State game will satisfy your old-school needs.
There are not many options to choose from within walking distance, but Muncie is a small town and your best choices for nightlife or dining would be downtown or near the shopping center to the north.
A few downtown options include Scotty’s Brewhouse, Savage’s Ale House, and Cleo’s Bourbon Bar. Amazing Joe’s offers giant tenderloins and steak dishes. Savage’s Ale House is your typical brewpub that features juicy burgers, chicken wings, and a bevy of fried appetizers. Try the aloha burger.
Downtown Muncie features Elm Street Brewing Co, The Guardian Brewing Co, Heorot Pub and Draught House, and the Fickle Peach. You will find great beers, pub food, and a college atmosphere during your visit.
Muncie is a nice-sized college town. There are more than enough hotel options, including the Hampton Inn, Fairfield Inn, Courtyard, Best Western, and Holiday Inn & Suites.
Most of the fans in attendance are diehard Cardinals fans. Many of the supporters can be heard talking about the fundamentals of the game, errors that the players made on the diamond, and past stories of former greats. Ball State has a friendly, knowledgeable, and dedicated fan base, a nice little touch to this small-town ballpark experience.
The ballpark is located north of the main campus off Tillotson Avenue, directly across from Scheumann Stadium, home of the Ball State football team. Parking is free, available, and plentiful on-site. Once inside the ballpark, it is easy to get around and bathrooms are located adjacent to the concession stand.
Arriving at the game can be a little tricky since the baseball field is not identified on most GPS systems. I would suggest searching for the football stadium and you will easily find it across the parking lot.
There are various ways to enter Muncie off of I-69, but make sure you take Exit 241 onto IN-332 towards town; it is the easiest and most direct way to campus and only eight miles away. If you decide to follow other routes to town, you may find yourself waiting at a train crossing or two on your way to the game.
Return on Investment 4
Admission is free to baseball games, much like many other small collegiate ballparks in the region. There are many new and modern baseball facilities in the state and each one is a vast improvement over its predecessor. They are worth a visit and affordable on anyone’s budget.
One extra point for the modern facility that is perfect for collegiate baseball during the truculent Indiana spring season.
A second extra point for the synthetic field will hold up quite nicely during wet March and April games during the season. It may take a little getting used to watching from a baseball purist, but the college kids seem to enjoy the playing field.
The original baseball field was quite charming and had a very unique aura about it. The wooden grandstand creaked, seemed a bit off-center, and the faded lime green paint added a little character to the rickety structure. The new ballpark is nothing like that and is quite an impressive-looking facility. The stadium fits in very nicely with the other athletic fields at Ball State University and should provide an excellent day of watching college baseball for anyone in attendance.
Follow all of Marc’s stadium journeys on Twitter @ballparkhunter and his YouTube channel. Email at Marc.Viquez@stadiumjourney.com.