Photos by Marc Viquez, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 2.57
451 W 52nd St
Indianapolis, IN 46208
Year Opened: 1991
Let’s Play some Bulldog Baseball
Bulldog Park serves as the home to the Butler University baseball team. It is adjacent to the track and field stadium, down the hill from the Butler Bowl, and a few yards down the hill from Hinkle Fieldhouse where the basketball team plays. Originally a multipurpose field, it was converted to a baseball diamond in the 1990s with upgrades to seating, a press box, and the addition of a clubhouse and batting cages. Bulldog Park is a very small venue with just 500 seats, but you are as close to baseball as you will ever be.
Food & Beverage 0
If you attend a baseball game, bring food and drink. There was once a time when a small concession stand offered chips and drinks and, on weekend games, hot dogs. However, that does not appear to be the case anymore at the ballpark. The fans in attendance had coolers and picnic baskets filled with goodies, a few even had a few cans of ice-cold beer, but probably would be frowned upon since it's a campus facility.
A game at Bulldog Park is quite relaxing if you are a baseball fan. The 500-seat stadium is suitable for college baseball at this level and with its intimacy, you might fall in love with the game again. You hear every single word from the players during the contest from the infield talking during a play, teammates from the bench yelling at their peers to take an extra base, and a few choice words if either an error or a questionable call is made.
The game I attended featured the center fielder from Fordham University breaking his arm as he made a diving attempt at a fly ball. Yes, I heard the bone snap, the player’s angst, and the sound of silence that gushed through the stands.
All of the seats are bleachers on each side of the working press box, but there are a few single rows of park benches in front of the home plate. These benches are somewhat odd features to the ballpark, but a nice touch nevertheless. The setting in the outfield is of the residential Kessler-Meridian Hills neighborhood and if you wanted to park your car on the street and walk up to the game, you might just be able to do that at the spur of the moment. There is an ample parking lot that is located at the front of the stadium where spots are usually available for games.
The ballpark is in one of the city’s better sections and is probably one of the better reasons to visit the ballpark. College Avenue is located within a few blocks of the campus and it is full of local restaurants and bars to satisfy any palate.
The closest restaurant is on campus called Chatham Tap. It is modeled after traditional English pubs offering burgers, sandwiches, wings, and pizza. It is also the spot to watch EPL football on the weekends or other matches from around the world.
Twenty Tap has an abundance of craft beers along with a vegetarian Vietnamese sandwich, deep-fried cheese curds, and burgers served on a toasted muffin. If you are looking for somewhere inexpensive, there is Yats which specializes in Cajun-creole fare, and Fat Dan’s which customizes its Chicago-style food and offers up smoked chicken wings.
The Bulldog is the official hangout of the Butler students. The pub offers the usual items of chicken wings, burgers, sandwiches, salads, and pizza in a casual environment with large-screen TV. The restaurant has a self-serve wine and beer menu that is quite creative; patrons are charged by the ounce.
The fans that are in attendance are among the faithful or friends of either players or coaches. If you are at a Butler baseball game, you are at the game solely to watch baseball. The weekend crowds usually bring out a nice collection of Bulldog supporters to the stadium, many are friends and family members of the players, but the stadium does fill up nicely during the last home schedules of the year. This makes for an enjoyable game at the small ballpark with quite a few baseball fans.
The campus is situated in a residential area and if you are from Indianapolis, you know exactly where to find it. However, for an out-of-towner, it can be a little bit tricky navigating to and from the interstate. However, with GPS systems in our smartphones, trouble accessing the stadium may be a thing of the past. There is ample parking adjacent to the stadium and if that is full for whatever reason, your next best option is street parking or the parking lot a few yards up the hill at Hinkle Fieldhouse.
Return on Investment 3
It does not cost a dime to attend a Bulldogs’ baseball game and this could be a hidden gem in the sports-rich city of Indianapolis. How many people do you think would plan a day around a Butler game during the spring? It may be a nice treat for many who might want to witness college baseball at its finest within easy distance of their homes.
If you like your baseball without the distraction of whacky gimmicks, loud music, people milling around the stadium, or silly promotions, you might have found a great investment. However, it would be nice to have a hot dog and soda as I watch the game.
The Butler campus is beautiful to walk around with historic buildings and pristine gardens; also, if you want to take a nice walk along the canal, it is a close trek to make for a beautiful day outside with friends or family.
A second point for the relaxed lawn seating down the right field line in front of the bubble. Some fans will sneak in alcoholic drinks or pull up a blanket or chair with a picnic basket and enjoy the vibe of the game. You might even see little furry friends on leashes in this section as well.