Photos by Paul Baker, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 2.14
Bill Beck Field
Kingston, RI 02881
Year Opened: 1966
Baseball at Bill Beck Field
Baseball was first played at the University of Rhode Island in 1898, just six years after the founding of the school. The Rams have played on the site of their current ball field, Bill Beck Field, since the program’s inception. Since 1981, the team has competed in the Atlantic-10 Conference.
Named for the former URI baseball and football coach, Bill Beck Field has undergone multiple renovations in recent years, including a new FieldTurf surface, backstop, scoreboard, fencing and bullpens. An indoor batting facility was completed in 2011.
The Rams have qualified for the NCAA Tournament twice, in 2005 and 2016. In addition, Rhode Island has won three Atlantic-10 conference titles. Three former Rams (Dave Stenhouse, Nick Greenwood and Angelo Dagres) have played in the major leagues.
Food & Beverage 0
There are no concessions available to fans at Bill Beck Field. Fans can bring their own snacks or drinks to enjoy during Rams baseball games, provided no alcohol is brought on premises. During the chilly spring months of the college baseball season, it’s not unusual to see a bunch of hot Dunkin’ beverages in the stands.
You wouldn’t expect an elaborate gameday presentation with the limited resources available at Bill Beck Field. Distractions are kept to a minimum here at Kingston. Music is played between innings and batters, and the PA announcements are limited to lineup changes. A simple scoreboard beyond the left field fence displays basic game information.
While there is a lot of energy coming from the stands here, there’s only so much noise that 100 or so people can make. If you’re a fan who likes to hear the chatter coming from the dugouts or conversations between players and coaches, you’ll truly enjoy your time here.
Visiting baseball fans looking for dining or recreational activities within walking distance of the University of Rhode Island may be disappointed with the school’s rural location. The URI campus is fairly self-contained, without many attractions nearby.
Those willing to travel a short distance will be rewarded with many wonderful restaurants and sights. The Mews Tavern in nearby Wakefield boasts 69 beers on taps and an extensive bar menu. It is a favorite of the student body. In addition, Narragansett, located 8 miles to the south, Newport, 16 miles to the east, and Providence, 29 miles to the north, offer a wide variety of dining, lodging, and tourist options for the adventurous baseball fan.
There are no lodging options directly adjacent to the URI campus. The closest option is a Holiday Inn out on Route 1 in South Kingstown (the different spellings of “Kingstown” and “Kingston” are most likely a colonial thing). Fans looking to make a weekend of their trip to URI would be advised to check out Newport or Providence, both short drives from campus. In addition, Boston is a short 90 minute drive from Kingston.
The crowds at Bill Beck Field would certainly fall into the “friends and family” category. Ranging in size from 100-200 fans, virtually everyone in attendance has a close personal connection with someone on the field. This makes for a crowd that is really into the action going on down on the field, and a high level of enthusiasm.
The small town of Kingston is located 29 miles south of Providence and 20 minutes south of T.F. Green Airport. Driving to Kingston from Providence will take you about 40 minutes on a normal Saturday. The campus is located on Route 138, approximately a 10-mile drive from I-95 as it passes through southern Rhode Island. The URI campus is served by public transportation, as RIPTA busses have several routes that serve the campus from Providence. In addition, the Kingstown train station is about two miles away from campus, with Amtrak making regular stops at the station.
Bill Beck Field has had several improvements in access in recent years, most of which have focused on the playing field and training facilities. For fans, there is little in the way of seating available, with only a single small aluminum bleacher section located behind home plate. There is a nice, terraced seating area on the first base side of the field. There is plenty of room all around Bill Beck Field for fans who wish to bring their own lawn chairs or roam around the field throughout the game. The next phase of the Bill Beck Field renovation project will feature a new grandstand/press box.
There is ample parking available in the lot adjacent to Bill Beck Field. In addition to a pair of port-a-johns located near the ball field, rest room facilities are located in the Boss Ice Arena next door. It’s a little walk, so plan ahead.
Return on Investment 5
There is no charge to attend a Rhode Island baseball game at Bill Beck Field. Likewise, ample parking is available adjacent to the ball field at no charge. With no concessions available for purchase, local baseball fans can watch a game at the sport’s highest level without spending a single red cent.
The outfield wall has some nice graphics honoring Rams NCAA Tournament appearances and conference titles. Also honored on the outfield wall are two former URI players, Rick Ligi and Joey Canicola, who both passed away during their playing careers.
Bill Beck Field is a simple facility that meets the needs of the URI Rams perfectly. For fans, there is little going on here to distract from the action on the field. Some may not enjoy this most relaxed of settings, but you can bring your own chair and a cooler, and you won’t have to reach for your wallet even once. It doesn’t get much better than that.
If planning a trip to Kingston, remember that the baseball season here in New England largely takes place in March and April, when the weather can be unpredictable at best. Postponements, cancellations and even changes in venue are common. Be ready to be flexible when coming to Rhode Island.