Conaty Park - Bryant Bulldogs
Photos by Paul Baker, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 2.57
Conaty Park 1150 Douglas Pike Smithfield, RI 02917
Year Opened: 2000
Bryant Bulldog Baseball
Bryant University is a private university located in the Providence suburb of Smithfield, RI. Founded in 1863 as Bryant College, the school was traditionally known for its business programs. The school now boasts an enrollment of over 3,700 students in 27 majors.
Conaty Park is located on the northern edge of the Bryant University campus, adjacent to the school’s other athletic facilities, including Bierne Stadium. Situated adjacent to Sutton Field, the site of the New England Patriots’ training camp from 1976-2002, the ballpark is named for Bill (class of 1967) and Sue Conaty, benefactors of the university’s baseball and softball programs.
The Bulldogs joined Division One in 2009. They will be moving from the Northeast Conference to the America East Conference in 2023. The team has qualified for the NCAA Tournament three times in Division One (2013, 2014, 2016) and five times while in Division Two. The Bulldogs reached the D-II World Series once, in 2004. Two Bryant alumni, Keith MacWorther and James Karinchak, have played in the Major Leagues.
Food & Beverage 0
There are no food or beverage options at Conaty Park. Fans are welcome to bring their own items into the ballpark to enjoy during the game. This being New England, you can expect to see lots of Dunkin’ coffees on those cold spring afternoons.
As you might expect at a small ballpark like Conaty Park, there is not an elaborate gameday presentation here at Bryant University. If you are a fan who enjoys being able to hear managers barking instructions to their players, the chatter going on down on the field and being able to talk to your neighbors in the stands, you’ll enjoy your time here.
There’s not much going on at Conaty Park to distract one’s attention from the game. Music plays between innings and for the Bulldog hitters, but it’s not turned up too loud. There’s a scoreboard in right field that displays basic game information. The PA announcer does his job unobtrusively.
Conaty Park Scoreboard, Photo by Paul Baker, Stadium Journey
Bryant University is located in Smithfield, RI, a Providence suburb about a twenty-minute drive from downtown. Although Smithfield is a very nice place to live, it’s certainly not a destination location, and there is not much to see or do in the immediate vicinity of the Bryant campus.
Dining options near Bryant University are few. J’s Deli serves up an impressive variety of grinders (that’s what we call submarine sandwiches in these parts). You’ll likely see a few of their sandwiches being enjoyed in the stands at Bryant. Parente’s and Blackie’s are popular local spots offering traditional neighborhood pub grub. Several national chain restaurants and shopping options are located about a 10-minute drive away on Route 44. Fans visiting from out of town may prefer to take the 20-minute drive to Providence, which has no shortage of top-notch restaurants.
The same can be said for lodging options in Smithfield. There are a few decent options on Douglas Pike near campus, but visitors may be better served to check out Providence or Boston for places to stay or things to do. Twin Rivers Casino is in nearby Lincoln. If spending time in a casino is on your agenda, you’d be better served to visit the twin resorts of Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun, located about an hour away over the Connecticut state line.
The crowd at a Bulldog game can accurately be described as a “friends and family” type of crowd. While Bryant often lists their attendance as 500 fans or more, these figures appear to be greatly inflated. A typical crowd at Conaty Park is more accurately described as between 100-250 fans. It’s not a bad crowd by any means, and certainly in line with other schools in the area.
Many of the fans in attendance have a personal connection with the players on the field, and as a result are very knowledgeable and enthusiastic in their support. With many of Bryant’s opponents located near Bryant’s Rhode Island campus, it’s not unusual to see many visiting fans taking in the action. There’s usually a modest turnout from the student body, particularly when the weather breaks and students wander around campus enjoying a warm weekend afternoon.
Bryant University is located in Smithfield, Rhode Island, 13 miles from downtown Providence. The campus is most easily accessed by car. Visitors to Bryant will simply take exit 15B off Interstate 295. The campus is just over a mile away from the Interstate on Route 7.
Fans using public transportation to arrive at Bryant will find a Rhode Island Public Transportation (RIPTA) bus stop on the Bryant campus, offering service every 40 minutes to downtown Providence. T.F. Green Airport is 20 miles away, with Boston’s Logan Airport an hour’s drive away. Train service to the area is provided by Amtrak, which has its downtown Providence station 20 minutes away.
Conaty Park is located on the northern edge of the Bryant campus alongside the school’s other outdoor athletic facilities, including Bierne Stadium. Parking is available in the large lots a short walk from the ball field. Bryant used to primarily be a commuter school, so there is a lot of room for parking here. The Chace Athletic Center is on the opposite end of these large lots. To get to the ballpark from the parking lot, fans will have to follow a paved path around the soccer field, or simply walk across it.
Seating at Conaty Park is contained in an attractive brick grandstand that seats 500. Center sections consist of molded plastic seats, with metal bleachers in the outer sections. All seats are behind netting, but still have excellent views of the action. There is a terraced area down the right field line where fans can set up lawn chairs and take in the action. Some fans opt to hang out on the hill beyond the outfield fence in left field. Restrooms are located in the Conaty Field House a short walk from the field. The grounds are nicely maintained and easy to traverse.
Return on Investment 5
There is no charge to attend a Bulldog baseball game. Parking is also free in the large lots near Conaty Park. With no concessions at the ballpark, you won’t spend a single cent at a Bryant game.
Bryant’s conference titles and NCAA Tournament appearances are commemorated on the outfield walls at Conaty Park. In a nice touch, the team’s Division Two titles are also posted.
A second extra point is awarded for the Bulldog’s mascot, Ironclad Tupper II, who frequently shows up at Conaty Park to mingle with the fans. This pup’s first ever appearance was at a Bulldog baseball game four years ago.
Conaty Park is frequently mentioned among the nicer small ballparks in the northeast. While a trip to Smithfield, Rhode Island may not be on the radar of many ballpark travelers, If you find yourself in the area, you’ll be glad you made a visit to Bryant.