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  • Writer's picturePaul Baker

Eddie Pellagrini Diamond at Harrington Athletics Village - Boston College Eagles

Photos by Paul Baker, Stadium Journey

Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.29

Harrington Athletics Village

129 Lake St

Brighton, MA 02135

Year Opened: 2018

Capacity: 1,000

Boston College Baseball

From 1961 to 2017 the Boston College Eagles played their home baseball games at Commander John Shea Field, which was located in the shadows of Alumni Stadium. It was a totally nondescript home field, notable only for the presence of a large parking garage along the first base side of the field. Fans would line up along the ramps of the garage to take in the action below and tailgate throughout the game on the top level of the garage. When Boston College joined the Atlantic Coast Conference in 2006, Shea Field was deemed inadequate for hosting conference games and competing for recruits, making clear the need for a new home field. In 2016 Boston College set aside $200 million for various projects to benefit the athletic department, including a new baseball field to be located on the school’s Brighton campus.

Boston College’s new baseball field is named for former Major Leaguer and longtime Boston College coach Eddie Pellagrini. Pellagrini led the Eagles baseball squad from 1958-1990, earning 359 wins during that time. The complex that contains Pellagrini Diamond, the adjacent Boston College Softball Field and the Pete Fretas Training Center are part of the Harrington Athletics Village. They are named for Boston College trustee and class of 1957 alumnus John L. Harrington. Boston baseball fans will recognize Harrington as the former CEO of the Red Sox. The ballpark, which features 1,000 permanent seats, is expandable to 2,500 seats for tournament play.

Boston College has qualified for the NCAA Tournament eight times, advancing to the College World Series on four occasions, most recently in 1967. Forty-five former Eagles have played in the major leagues.

Food & Beverage 4

A portable concession stand is set up on the terrace between the baseball and softball fields for Eagles games. It’s a surprisingly diverse menu for this type of facility. In addition to ballpark standards such as sausage and pepper sandwiches, burgers and dogs, special items such as pulled pork sandwiches and clam chowder are available.

A wide variety of chips, candy, popcorn and ice cream treats are sold here. Coca-Cola products are featured at Boston College. Warm drinks, including coffee and hot chocolate, are popular items on chilly New England spring days. No alcohol is sold at Eagle baseball games.

Atmosphere 3

The gameday presentation at Harrington Athletics Village is a laid-back one, which will certainly appeal to traditional fans. Extraneous noise is kept to a minimum here, with music played between innings only. PA announcements are kept to basic lineup and game announcements. There’s a simple scoreboard beyond the right field fence that displays basic game information. Fans looking for an elaborate presentation should look elsewhere. The Eagles mascot, Baldwin, can be found here during selected games interacting with the fans.

Most of the excitement at Pelligrini Diamond comes from the fans in attendance. Even though Boston College draws good crowds for this part of the country, there’s not an overwhelming fan presence here. The fans that do show up are personally invested in the action on the field, knowledgeable about the game, and enthusiastic in their support. It’s also not unusual to see a good turnout from visiting fans, as Boston has become a popular road trip destination for other ACC fanbases.

Neighborhood 3

Boston College is located in Chestnut Hill, a village in the suburb of Newton, Massachusetts. Downtown Boston is located about six miles to the east. Newton is a very well-to-do town which frequently ranks near the top of many “best place to live in America” lists.

The Harrington Athletics Village is not located on the main Boston College campus, but in the nearby Brighton campus, on the site of St. John’s Seminary, about a half mile from the main campus.

For visiting fans looking for a bite to eat before or after an Eagles baseball game, Cleveland Circle is located about a 15-minute walk from the BC campus. Here you will find, among other places, Eagle’s Deli, which is known for its massive hamburger challenges. This no-frills diner is a favorite of Boston College students and is known for its appearances on Man vs. Food and other television shows.

You won’t find any dining or lodging options immediately near Pellegrini Diamond, but in a city the size of Boston, there are no shortage of excellent options around. If you’d like to stay closer to the BC campus, check out the choices near the Mass Pike or Interstate 95. Otherwise, head downtown. You’ll be sure to find something that works for you.

Fans 4

For the most part, college baseball isn’t a very big deal in New England. The weather during this time of year tends to keep crowds small. Boston College is no exception to this rule, although they do attract bigger crowds than do most local squads.

Boston College competes in the Atlantic Coast Conference, which assures that nationally ranked teams regularly visit Pellagrini Diamond. It’s not unheard of to see crowds of 500-plus descend on Brighton on beautiful spring afternoons. Capacity crowds of close to 1,000 are not unusual. Even when smaller local schools play at Boston College, several hundred fans will be in attendance.

Access 3

The Boston College campus is located in the Chestnut Hill section of the suburb of Newton, Massachusetts, about six miles west of downtown Boston. Despite its location in the suburbs, Boston College shares many of the same access issues familiar to Boston residents. Anyone who has tried to navigate the crowded, crooked streets of greater Boston by car can tell you how difficult driving in and around the area can be. If you are visiting from out of town, your best bet may be to find a copilot who knows their way around town.

Most native Bostonians will tell you that your best method to get to Boston College is to take public transportation, known in these parts as the “T”. The green line’s B train terminus is located on Commonwealth Ave., right across the street from the Chestnut Hill campus. If heading to an Eagles baseball game, driving may actually be the easiest way to get to Pellagrini Diamond. The best route to arrive at Boston College avoids the city entirely. The Brighton campus is located across the street from the main campus, about a half mile away. Complete driving directions can be found here. The area around Boston College is quite scenic, with a suburban feel, but traffic can be very heavy at times. Give yourself plenty of time to arrive on campus.

Once inside Harrington Athletics Village, fans will enter onto a plaza along the first base line of the softball field. To your right will be a terrace that contains the concession stand and restrooms. The heated restrooms are most appreciated during frigid spring days. Beyond this is the baseball field.

From the terrace level, fans will walk down into the seating bowl. All seats consist of individual maroon stadium seats. There is ample standing room along the top of the seating bowl, as well as accessible seating. With plenty of room to move around, crowds are not an issue at Harrington Athletics Village.

Return on Investment 4

Admission and parking at Harrington Athletics Village are free of charge. Concessions here are a bit pricey, which brings down the overall score a bit. Cash and credit/debit cards are accepted at the concession stand.

Extras 2

The Eagles played in the longest game in NCAA history, a 25-inning tilt against the Texas Longhorns in the 2009 NCAA Tournament. The Eagles dropped this contest 3-2 in seven hours, three minutes. Speaking of long games, Pellagrini Diamond opened on March 20, 2018 with a 7-4 loss against Northeastern that lasted 18 innings.

There are a couple of numbers honored on the right field fence. Longtime Eagles coach Eddie Pellagrini’s number 13 is retired, as is the number 3 worn by Pete Frates. Frates, who was an outfielder for Boston College from 2004-2007, gained international exposure when his social media fundraiser, the Ice Bucket Challenge, raised over $200 million for ALS research in the summer of 2014. Boston College plays a game at Fenway Park in Frates’ honor to help raise awareness for ALS research every spring.

Final Thoughts

If planning to visit Boston College for a baseball game, remember that the college baseball season runs through March and April, when the weather in these parts can be most unpredictable. Postponements, schedule changes, and even changes in venue are a regular occurrence in these parts. Be sure to be flexible with your plans when visiting Chestnut Hill.

If comparing Eddie Pellagrini Diamond to the other wonderful facilities in the ACC, Boston College’s home field may come up lacking. But longtime Eagles fans who remember the “good old days” of Commander Shea Field will undoubtedly be most impressed. The Eagles have themselves a home that will allow them to compete for recruits, fans and attention.

Follow Paul Baker’s stadium journeys on Twitter and Instagram @PuckmanRI.


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