Photos by Marc Viquez, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.29
Bittinger Stadium 1324 McCormick Rd. West Lafayette, IN 47906
Year Opened: 2015
A Good ‘Ol Softball Game at Purdue
Bittinger Stadium opened on March 20, 2015, as Boilermaker Softball Stadium. The $13-million stadium was part of the Mackey Complex master plan approved by the Purdue Board of Trustees in 2007. The cost included related site work and infrastructure.
A little over a year later it was renamed in honor of Marvin L. and Elaine Bittinger and their family for their generosity and support of Purdue student-athletes. Marvin earned his Ph.D. at Purdue in 1968 and has been teaching mathematics and writing textbooks for over 50 years.
The stadium is adjacent to Alexander Field and Folk Field on the northwest edge of campus, and two miles from Ross-Ade Stadium and Mackey Arena. It’s built in the traditional Purdue style with brick masonry exterior facades and a concrete concourse with bench and chairback seats. The capacity is 1,000 with room for growth when needed.
The ballpark is a miniature version of a baseball stadium a few feet away, except for a grassy knoll beyond the right-field area of the outfield fence. This area is known for folks who pull out a blanket or lawn chair and watch the game for free on a warm spring afternoon.
The softball program began in 1994 with the Boilermakers earning the school’s first win on March 6 against UNC-Wilmington. Since that date, the university has made two regional tournament appearances and has thrown 19 no-hitters.
Food & Beverage 3
There is a small concession stand that serves hot dogs, brats, nachos, popcorn, candy, and warm pretzels. The basic ballpark foods are hot and tasty and should satisfy anyone’s appetite during the 7 inning contest. Alcoholic beverages are served during the game and end after the 5th inning of play.
The wide-open concourse welcomes fans to the stadium as they make their way down to the seating bowl to catch a game. Most of the attention is on the play of the Boilermakers and during our visit, it was a nail-biting 2-1 loss to Maryland. The cheers of the crowd and the chants from both benches provide a little different soundtrack compared to a baseball game.
The little kids are entertained with an inflatable batting cage and an old train car that is located on the first base side of the concession stand. Purdue Pete made his rounds around the concourse posing for photos with fans of all ages.
A small hill beyond the outfield wall in right field offers a unique view of the playing field. A few fans take their place on the grassy knoll with a chair and blanket and enjoy the game from afar. You can also bring your dog to this area, but you can also bring them into the stadium for Bark in the Park on select dates.
The Chauncey Village neighborhood features quite a bit of funky little shops and restaurants, plus some great nightlife destinations. Von’s Shops offers an impressive array of new and used books, clothing, and other items in an eclectic building and storefront.
A few stores down the street is Harry’s Chocolate Shop which has been described as a boisterous pub offering American pub fare in a vintage setting dating back to 1919. Burgers, wraps, subs, and appetizers that include fried banana peppers and breaded mushrooms with tiger sauce can be found along with a good pint of beer.
The famous Triple XXX Family Restaurant is where one can enjoy a peanut butter burger or homemade root beer inside its small, cozy, and narrow booths. The small building features narrow countertops and bar stools.
If you are a craft beer fan, People’s Brewing Company is located 3 miles north of the high school and is one of the better places for local beer in the state. Pints are $5 and are a dollar less on Wednesdays. Lafayette Brewing Company is the other craft beer option in town with $2 off of pints on Wednesday nights as well.
The crowds are above the friends and family type at the stadium. The Boilermaker supporters are decked out in black and gold and can be seen and heard cheering for their baseball team to victory. They are respectful to the visitors and one can expect a laid-back atmosphere from the fans in attendance.
The wide-open concourse makes navigating inside the stadium quite comfortable and easy. Access areas are well signed and a small bridge is located that takes fans between the baseball stadium and the softball venue.
Return on Investment 4
A ticket costs $5 for an adult and $2 for a youth. There are weekend games where kids can run the bases after the contest and post-game autographs take place. Purdue offers a few giveaways and promotions that include half-off hot dogs, $2 beers, and Bark in the Park that might be circled on your calendar if you are planning an event. Parking is free for all home games but does fill up if a baseball game is taking place. However, more than enough ushers assist on where and how to park your vehicle.
One point for the old train car on the third base side of the concourse. A nice little nod to boilermaker tradition and a source of curiosity for the young fans. A second point for the grassy knoll that allows fans to enjoy the game free of charge. A final point for the various promotions that should attract a few more folks to a beautiful venue for a softball game during the season.
This was my first college softball game since I was a student at Indiana State University. I found it a nice little deviation from a baseball game and with certain promotions and food specials. A perfect excuse to watch a ballgame. It is quite an impressive venue and a great place to spend some time during the spring months in Indiana.