Baylor Ballpark - Baylor Bears
Photo by Michael Davis, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.57
Baylor Ballpark 1612 South University Parks Dr Waco, TX 76706
Year Opened: 1999 Capacity: 5,000
Sic 'Em Bears Baseball
Baylor Ballpark is celebrating 20 years being home to the Baylor University Bears baseball team. The ballpark is located on the campus of Baylor University, and is constructed of red brick and green steel beams, keeping with the décor and architecture found all around Baylor University. The ballpark has a capacity of 5,000, but the largest crowd ever exceeded that number on April 21, 2012 in a game versus Texas A&M, with a record crowd of 5,911.
The ballpark’s surface is Bermuda grass with dimensions of 330-400-330. The Baylor program has been successful over the last two decades since the ballpark opened in 1999. The program has close to a 70% winning percentage, which has helped Baylor host four regionals and three super regionals during Baylor Ballpark’s history.
Food & Beverage 3
Baylor Ballpark has the basic fare expected at a sports venue. There are two permanent concessions stands, with one located behind home plate at the entrance of the park – the other is called Hot Corner and is near third base. The menu at Baylor Ballpark is limited, but the prices are not outrageous – the most expensive single item is the chicken wrap at $7, with nachos at $5 and hot dogs, pretzels, candy, and peanuts at $4. The popcorn might be the best option at $3, but if you want to eat before the game that is an option, as there are plenty of restaurants in Waco to satisfy any food craving.
In terms of drinks, Baylor Ballpark offers fans both Pepsi products and of course Dr Pepper products; Waco is the birthplace of Dr Pepper. The largest drink here is the souvenir cup at $6, but the 32-oz. souvenir is the cup sold at Baylor football games, and not a baseball cup. The smaller drinks at Baylor Ballpark are 20- oz. for $4, with other choices for the same price, being bottled water and Gatorade. There is also lemonade sold at a mobile stand on the concourse along with funnel cakes, corn dogs, and fruit ice chills.
Baylor Ballpark is a wonderful ballpark for college baseball fans to take in a game. The ballpark is architecturally simple and complementary to the surrounding campus. The park seems to be a visit from the past, yet very well maintained for a ballpark built in 1999. The unique part of Baylor Ballpark is the grass berm along the first baseline, were fans can throw down a blanket or set out lawn chairs, and the berm provides kids with entertainment as they slide down the grass.
The seating area has 3,200 basic green seats, with the box and reserved seating wrapped around home plate from first to third base. There are several access points to this area, including a walkway between the box seats and reserved seats. In addition, the scoreboard in left center field includes a video replay screen, and the fences are covered with local business advertisement just like you would see at a minor league ballpark.
The ballpark seating faces northwest to give a view of the Brazos River and McLane Stadium beyond the outfield fence. There are two bear statues near the Baylor Ballpark’s main entrance, which can be a great photo opportunity for fans. Games also feature the typical contests and music between innings, and after every inning, Baylor’s slogan of Sic ’em is shown on the videoboard, and Baylor’s song “Baylor Line” is played whenever the Bears have a meeting on the mound. Overall the atmosphere is what is expected for a college baseball game, however, the atmosphere can easily be heightened when a rivalry series with Texas or Texas A&M comes to Waco.
Baylor Ballpark is part of Turner Athletic Complex on University Parks Drive, next to the Ferrell Center and Gutterman Stadium (Baylor Softball). Buzzard Billy’s Restaurant is along the Brazos River, near McLane Stadium, and is the closest restaurant. However, the City of Waco has numerous restaurants to enjoy, especially BBQ, while attending a Baylor sporting event. BBQ places to choose from while in town include Rudy’s “Country Store” BBQ, located off the Interstate exit on Circle Drive, and Coach’s Smoke, located in downtown Waco on Austin Avenue – Coach’s Smoke is a good choice for beer and BBQ.
However, the most popular BBQ restaurant in Waco is Vitek’s BBQ at 1600 Speight Ave, which is on the south side of Baylor’s campus. Vitek’s BBQ is home of the Gut Pack, a dish which includes brisket, sausage, Fritos, and beans; if you decide on this dish you won’t need to eat for the rest of the day, as it is heavy and filling, as well as delicious. You should plan on arriving early, however – Vitek’s does serve outside as well as inside, but the wait can be long no matter which one you choose.
If you aren’t in the mood for BBQ, George’s Restaurant is another popular place to meet before, during, or after the game. This restaurant has been serving Waco since 1930, and the crowds here are large, so be prepared to get there early. But the newest craze in town is Magnolia Table, a lunch spot created by TV personalities Chip and Joanna Gaines. Of course being in Texas there is also Tex-Mex cuisine, and a strong recommendation would be Trujillo’s Comedor Y Cantina on La Salle Avenue. All of these choices mean Waco have great options besides fast food, so you’ll easily be able to find something that suits you.
If you are looking for something to do while in town, Waco is home to the Dr Pepper Museum, which is open on Saturdays. You’ll get to see how the popular Texas soft drink is produced, walk through its history, and even get your own Dr Pepper drink. Or, if you want to stay closer to the ballpark, on campus you can visit the Bear Habitat; this exhibit is home to Joy and Lady, Baylor’s two live black bear mascots. Joy and Lady are from Bandon, Oregon, and weigh in between 270 and 280 pounds each. These black bears are sisters, and can be visited daily throughout the year.
Another option is the Texas Ranger Museum – the Texas Rangers are a law enforcement treasure, and the museum does a great job chronicling their history. And of course, the gift shop has plenty of fun items for the kids to commemorate their visit, from Ranger badges to toy shotguns.
If these options do not sound appealing, a short drive west from downtown is Waco Mammoth Site, a re-creation of an on-site mammoth dig, or you can visit Cameron Park Zoo, either of which would mean a great time for the family, and ensure unlimited memories of your trip to Waco.
Baylor Bears fans are what you expect at a college baseball game – the average attendance at Baylor Ballpark is about 2,000, which is respectable for college baseball. The university is a 14,000-student undergraduate private school, and this reflects the fan base made up of alumni, students, friends, and player’s family members. The fans can get loud at certain points during the game, especially, when Baylor scores or makes a good defensive play on the field.
Baylor Ballpark is one of the most accessible stadiums around, with parking available just outside the entrance. The parking is free and is large enough to hold fans for both baseball and softball games being played at the same time. The ticket booth is just outside the main entrance, and buying a ticket is quick.
There are four entrances into the main grandstand, plus an additional ramp for disabled fans, and all seating has green chairback seats, except for the metal bleachers behind left field. There is also a grass berm hill, on the first base side near right field, for blanket or chair seating. The ballpark does have an awning for protection from the weather, covering the upper portion of the reserved seating, so remember that when choosing whether to sit in the more expensive box seats.
The small number of bathrooms at Baylor Ballpark is interesting, but the one set of bathrooms in the main concourse seem to have no issues with long lines. The seating area also has a walkway between the box seats and reserved seating, and signage is very good around the ballpark.
Return on Investment 5
Baylor Bears baseball single game tickets could be the best bargain in the Big 12 Conference. The closest seats are $20, with these box seats in the first five rows around the dugouts and behind home plate. However, a better choice is the reserved seating around the infield for $7, which is the upper portion of the seating area. A side note, however – these tickets increase to $20 for the series against Texas and Texas A&M.
The low-cost tickets, free parking, and inexpensive concessions make a day at Baylor Ballpark a highly scored return on investment.
Baylor Ballpark has a great relaxing setting, with the Brazos River and McLane Stadium just beyond the outfield. Also, recycling the 24’-7.5” by 68’-7” video board from Baylor’s old football field is a nice touch, and provides instant replay and video highlights for fans. In addition, Baylor Ballpark is located on the site of Ferrell Field, Baylor baseball’s home from 1977–98, thus continuing the program’s baseball history, as seen throughout the concourse.
Baylor Ballpark is certainly a great place to take in some college baseball action. The ballpark is very accessible, the atmosphere is relaxing, and the fans are knowledgeable, respectful overall, and consistently inject themselves into the game. Baylor Ballpark, Baylor Baseball and Waco combine to make beautiful trip for everyone.