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  • Writer's pictureGregory Koch

Bud Metheny Baseball Complex – Old Dominion Monarchs

Photos by Aaron S. Terry and Gregory Koch, Stadium Journey

Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 4.00

Bud Metheny Baseball Complex 1446 W 43rd St Norfolk, VA 23529

Year Opened: 1983 Capacity: 2,500


Baseball at the Bud

Old Dominion University is located in Norfolk, Virginia, in the Hampton Roads area of the state. The school’s athletic teams are known as the Monarchs and will compete in Conference USA through the end of the 2021-22 season when they will move to the Sun Belt Conference. Monarchs baseball plays their home games at the Bud Metheny Baseball Complex. The Bud was built in 1983 and is in dire need of renovations on the player side of things. The lack of player facilities cost the Monarchs the opportunity to host a regional in the NCAA Tournament in 2021. As a result, fundraising efforts are underway to make these changes. However, as far as fans are concerned, Bud Metheny Baseball Complex is nice as it is.

Food & Beverage 4

There are two concession stands at Bud Metheny Baseball Complex. One is located right in front of you as you come in and serves a good variety of items including freshly grilled hamburgers and hot dogs, pulled pork, Beyond Burgers for vegetarians, and assorted soft drinks and snacks. A second stand is located down the right field line in a beer garden-like area known as the Rally Alley. This stand also sells beer for $6-$7 a can in addition to many of the same items as the main stand. Fans can hang out in the Rally Alley with their beverages and food and watch the game, but beer cannot be brought outside Rally Alley into the main stands. Note that all stands only take credit cards, so be prepared.

Atmosphere 4

There are several places at The Bud from which fans can watch the game. Walking into the stadium through the main gate will put you on an asphalt concourse. From there, fans can walk up some metal stairs to three sets of metal bleachers without backs. They can also watch the game from the Rally Alley down the right field line. Finally, there is an area directly under the home plate bleachers where some fans choose to stand and watch the game. This provides the best view of the action but limited seating options, so you may have to stand for the whole game here. However, the bleacher seats are also close enough to the action to offer a great view. There is a large video board in right-center field.

Rally Alley at Bud Metheny Baseball Complex, Photo by Gregory Koch, Stadium Journey

The Monarchs do a lot to create an exciting atmosphere here, including Baseball Bingo, giveaways, a pre-game hype video, and more. Some of the sound effects they play during the game are taken from the popular PC game Backyard Baseball, which will be nostalgic for anyone who grew up in the 90s. The Monarchs have a mascot, a lion named Big Blue, who will make appearances at the games from time to time.

Neighborhood 3

Bud Metheny Baseball Complex is located along a residential street so there isn’t much in the immediate vicinity. However, if you head a few blocks east on 43rd Street to the vicinity of Chartway Arena, there are many options for visitors to enjoy. La Herradura is a popular Mexican restaurant, and Del Vecchios is known for its pizza. If you make the short drive into downtown Norfolk, you will find even more options.

Fans 4

The Monarchs typically draw about 400 fans a game, which for this level is a good crowd. Some of those who show up are students at ODU, some are friends and family of the players, and others are just Monarchs fans. Whatever brings them out to the ballpark, the fans are loud and passionate. When the Monarchs make a big play, it can get quite loud here. These are not just some casual fans who show up – many come out decked in ODU colors and cheer on the team loudly and proudly for the whole game.

Fans Enjoying a Monarchs Game at Bud Metheny Baseball Complex, Photo by Gregory Koch, Stadium Journey

Access 4

The city of Norfolk is accessible via many highways, including I-64, I-564, I-264, and I-664. The ODU campus is easily accessible from all of them. However, if coming from points north and west of Norfolk, you will likely need to take one of the bridge-tunnels across either the harbor or the bay. These can have long backups at times, particularly later in the season as summer approaches and people start heading to the beach. Be sure to allow extra time to get across.

Once you are on campus, parking is available in Lot 43 by the field hockey stadium as well as in the Elkhorn Avenue Garage across the street from the baseball stadium. However, both are about a one-block walk from the front entrance to The Bud despite the garage appearing closer on a map. Parking there is free on weekends, but you will be charged an hourly fee on weekdays. Getting around the stadium is easy enough. There are restrooms located to the right of the main concession stand which are of a sufficient size for the crowd.

Return on Investment 5

Tickets are $6 for adults, available at the gate, with discounts available for youth and seniors. Concessions are affordable, with nothing more than $7 and most things significantly less. Parking is free on weekends, so we suggest going then to maximize your value. Although some teams in the area don’t charge for admission to baseball games, the experience at an ODU game is worth the small price of admission.

Extras 4

Look for the graphics along the outfield fence honoring ODU baseball accomplishments.

Free programs and scorecards are available at the entrance. Pencils for keeping score are also available, something many teams don’t think to provide anymore.

The Rally Alley is a unique feature and vantage point to watch a game.

A fourth and final star for the friendly and helpful staff here, who go above and beyond to make this a great game day experience.

Final Thoughts

On the player side, the Bud Metheny Baseball Complex certainly needs improvements. If ODU ever wants to host a postseason event, they will need to make them, which is why fundraising is underway to do so. However, as far as fans are concerned, the Bud is already a very nice stadium to watch a game. Although it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of some fancier ballparks, a trip here is still a very enjoyable experience for any baseball fan in Virginia.

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