Photos by Paul Baker, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 2.57
CCSU Baseball Field 413 Ella Grasso Blvd New Britain, CT 06050
Year Opened: 2010 Capacity: 500
CCSU Baseball Field
Baseball has been played at Central Connecticut State University since 1935. For the majority of its existence, the Blue Devils played at Balf-Savin Field on its New Britain campus. In 2010 construction was completed on a new facility located on the same site. In fact, this new ballpark, which consisted of a new artificial turf field, scoreboard, bullpens, batting cages, dugouts and press box, continued to be referred to as Balf-Savin Field for a few more years. In 2014 the facility was re-christened as CCSU Baseball Field.
Founded in 1849 as the State Normal School, CCSU is Connecticut’s oldest public university. Total enrollment at CCSU is almost 12,000 students, over half of whom live off campus. 96 percent of the student body hails from Connecticut.
The Blue Devils compete in the Northeast Conference, where they have won seven conference titles and qualified for seven NCAA Tournaments. Five CCSU alumni have reached the major leagues, most notably pitcher Ricky Bottalico.
Food & Beverage 0
There are no concessions available at a Blue Devils baseball game. There is a lovely little pavilion in between the baseball and softball fields, but it is utilized to prepare meals for the teams and not as a snack bar for fans. Fans are welcome to bring their own snacks into CCSU Baseball Field.
An afternoon at a Blue Devils baseball game is as old-school as it gets. There is nothing to distract your attention from the action going on down on the field. No music is played at all during the game. No walk-up songs, no between innings tunes. It’s a rarity today, for sure. The PA announcer does his job unobtrusively, adding to the laid-back presentation. A small scoreboard in left-centerfield displays only basic game information.
If you enjoy being able to chat with your neighbors in the stands, hear the chatter of the fielders and coaches barking instructions to the players, then CCSU Baseball Field is the place for you. If the schedules line up, you’ll be able to move about the athletic complex and take in several games at once.
Central Connecticut State University is located in a residential neighborhood on the northeastern edge of New Britain, a suburban city of 73,000 people located 12 miles southwest of Hartford. CCSU Baseball Field is located on the eastern edge of campus, alongside the school’s other athletic facilities, including CCSU Softball Field, Arute Field and Detrick Gymnasium. While the area around campus is bustling, there are not many attractions in the immediate vicinity for visiting fans.
Fans wanting a unique experience before or after a CCSU game should check out the East Side Restaurant, a German-themed pub complete with staff in traditional Bavarian gear and all the bratwurst you could possibly desire.
For a twist on a traditional American dish, visit Ted’s Steamed Hamburgers in nearby Meriden. Their method of cooking hamburgers in steam trays is unique to central Connecticut, and Ted’s has been featured on several travel shows such as Man vs. Food and Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. It’s a favorite spot for this writer.
Fans looking for a place to stay near campus should check out the Courtyard by Marriott and the Extended Stay America, both in neighboring Farmington. Beyond the local options, Connecticut’s capital city of Hartford contains a plethora of dining, lodging and entertainment options. Sports fans may want to pair a CCSU game with a Hartford Yard Goats game at Dunkin’ Donuts Park or a Hartford Wolf Pack game at the XL Center.
While CCSU baseball crowds can best be described as “friends and family,” the Blue Devils draw pretty well for a college team in the northeast. Stadium Journey attended a Sunday afternoon game in late April with a crowd of about 350 present. This appears to be on the larger side for a CCSU baseball crowd.
With the majority of the crowd enjoying a personal connection with the players down on the field, it’s not surprising that the fans here are really invested in the game and knowledgeable about the team. Still, this is a very laid-back, friendly crowd. With CCSU’s location near the geographic center of the Northeast Conference, it’s not unusual to see many visiting fans in attendance on a nice spring afternoon.
The CCSU campus is located on the New Britain/Newington town line, about a 15-minute drive from Hartford. Route 9 passes directly to the east of campus, connecting to Interstates 84 and 91 nearby. Driving is the primary method for arriving at this suburban campus. For fans utilizing public transportation, several CT Transit busses access CCSU, with the 140 bus stopping right at Arute Field.
Seating at CCSU Baseball Field consists of metal bleachers without backs in the small grandstand behind home plate. Fans wishing to stand for a bit will find areas where they can spread out and take in the action. Some fans opt to bring their own lawn chairs and set up shop further down the foul lines. There is plenty of room for alternate seating. Netting and fencing obstruct views from all points in the ballpark.
Parking is available in a small lot adjacent to the field. Should this lot fill, and it may on a spring afternoon where there are several events taking place, additional parking is available in the large lot on the far side of Arute Field. Restrooms are located in the Pavilion located on the right field side of the ballpark. They are clean and plenty large enough for a typical Blue Devils crowd.
Return on Investment 5
There is no charge for admission or for parking at CCSU Baseball Field. With no on-site concessions, you will not spend a single cent at a Blue Devils baseball game. Free programs are available for all fans.
The grandstand here is christened as the “Ricky Bottalico Grandstands” in recognition of a $100,000 contribution the CCSU alumnus donated to the school’s scholarship fund. Banners honoring Blue Devils conference championships hang on the back façade of the grandstand. NCAA Tournament appearances are listed on the outfield wall.
If you’re looking for an over the top game day experience, a CCSU Blue Devils baseball game isn’t the place for you. At CCSU Baseball Field, you’ll get a ball game presented without distraction, where you can hear the chatter on the field and conversations with your fellow fans. It’s a simple, enjoyable place to watch some quality baseball on a spring New England afternoon.