- David Welch
Cleveland S. Harley Baseball Park - USC Upstate Spartans
Photos by David Welch, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.29
Cleveland S. Harley Baseball Park 305 N Campus Blvd Spartanburg, SC 29303
USC Upstate Spartans website Cleveland S. Harley Baseball Park website
Year Opened: 2004 Capacity: 500
Cleveland S. Harley Baseball Park
There is something that can be said about the simpleness of the game of baseball. As teams at so many levels look to grab fans attention through on field contests, giveaways, and fan-scoreboard interactions, at times the simpleness of the game is the most beautiful part of it.
In larger college stadiums, the uniqueness of the dugout chatter can easily be lost. It is at smaller stadiums like Harley Park where the appreciation of the one-of-a-kind college bat ‘ting’ is amplified, and the emphasis of every strike call can be felt. At the University of South Carolina-Upstate, the game is presented in its simplest form, where the beauty of college baseball is highlighted.
Food & Beverage 3
The concession stand at Harley Park is built into the third base side of the press box. Prices are kept wonderfully low, but there is not a lot in the way of substantial options outside of hot dogs, nachos, or soft pretzels. One uniquely southern treat is boiled peanuts, though, which have a definite acquired appreciation.
Harley Park is among the other sports venues in the Louis P. Howell Athletics Complex, on the USC-Upstate campus. The baseball and softball fields are in the same area of the complex.
Approaching the park, fans are greeted by a shrub-lined walkway that leads to the back of the press box. The press box has a distinct early-90s vibe with its glass and textured cinder block design.
The grandstand is built into a large slope behind home plate, so fans enter from above field level. Spartans fans head left to the home side of the press box, with most visiting fans heading to the right of the seating bowl, or to the sloped berm behind the primary seating area. The wall down the right field line is also a popular vantage point for many. Restrooms are built into either side of the press box.
Harley Park is a large, symmetrical field enclosed with a well battered, aluminum covered, chain link outfield fence. Each of the lines play 335’, with both power alleys going 383’ and dead center 402’. A basic scoreboard sits just over the left centerfield wall which provides fans with score by inning, ball-strike-out counts, and run-hit-error totals.
Most of the time between innings is filled with music and ads from the public address announcer. There are no between inning promotions to speak of. Some might think this would make the game boring, but it is a bit of a nice break from constantly having your attention consumed.
USC-Upstate is located just on the outskirts of downtown Spartanburg, South Carolina. There is one small neighborhood near the USC-Upstate campus, but most of the area is populated by businesses and industrial companies. The area is a bit of a transitional part of Spartanburg as it moves from the highway to the downtown area of the city. Though not in the immediate vicinity, the BMW Zentrum Museum is in neighboring Greer, South Carolina, and provides an in-depth look at the history of the German automaker, and what goes into creating their vehicles.
Harley Park is less than 5 miles from Wofford’s Russell C. King Field. Spartanburg is the smallest city in the country to be home to multiple NCAA D-I schools.
Fan turnout for USC-Upstate games is rather modest. It is not uncommon for opposing fans to outnumber the Spartan fans. Attendances are reported in the range of 100 to 200 per game. The fans here are into the game, but just don’t have the numbers to provide much of a home field advantage.
The USC-Upstate campus is directly off the I-585 bypass that runs around Spartanburg. The campus is just 4 miles from the junction of Interstates I-85 and I-26, which run locally from Greenville, SC to Charlotte, NC (I-85) and Asheville, NC to Charleston, SC (I-26).
There is a parking lot at the field that is shared with softball, which can fill up quickly, but is worth a shot to find parking close by. There is also an overflow lot directly behind the softball field if spots at the baseball stadium itself are full.
Accessing the stadium itself is rather simple as there is no fencing or walls forcing fans to access only one entry point.
For the most part, fans are contained either to the stands behind home plate, the grassy hill on the visiting side of the field, or along the wall down the right field line. The batting cages on the home side of the field do not lend themselves to watching the game from there.
Return on Investment 5
If you like free things, you are in luck because just about everything at Harley Park is free! There is no charge for parking nor admission, and concession prices top out at just $3. It is hard to get prices any lower than they are here.
A large water tower with “Upstate” and the Spartan logo painted on it sits in the distance, behind the third base side of the field. While not part of the stadium complex, it does give the area a bit of extra character.
If looking to kill some time prior to a game or between the games of a double header, there is a disc golf course just outside the right field fence.
A magazine box conveniently has copies of both teams' rosters available for fans to grab as they approach the seating area.
There is not a lot that stands out about Cleveland S. Harley Baseball Park, which in a way is what makes it special – it is a baseball park at its truest form. Despite the modest number of seats in the grandstand, a good number of fans bring their own lawn chairs and blankets to watch from the hillside, or lean over the side wall down the first baseline to get up close to the action.
For a casual fan of baseball it might not be a destination to seek out, but given its overall affordability, baseball at USC-Upstate is a decent weekend afternoon activity to get outside for.