Photos by Joseph Oakes, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.57
Doak Field at Dail Park 1081 Varsity Dr. Raleigh, NC 27606
Year Opened: 1966 Capacity: 3,048
Home of the Pack 9
Across the nation, the popularity of college baseball has increased drastically over the past several years. This is the case at NC State, as well, as attendance and interest in the Wolfpack baseball program are at an all-time high. A few years ago, extra bleacher seating was added in left field to push the capacity over 3,000, and those seats have remained in place ever since.
Much of this increased interest is due to the success the program has experienced over the past few years. NC State has hosted NCAA regionals in 2012, 2013, 2016, and 2018; and hosted the program’s first-ever super regional in 2013. That same year (2013) the Pack made their second-ever trip to the College World Series in Omaha. The Wolfpack also reached college baseball’s promised land again in 2021.
Doak Field is currently in the midst of a $15 million renovation, which included adding new seats, a new video board, and new LED lights before the 2023 season. Enhancements to take place after the 2023 season will include premium space, concession upgrades, and shaded areas.
Even though Doak Field may not be considered one of the ‘premier’ ACC venues, it does provide the Wolfpack faithful with a wonderful facility to watch some of the best college baseball in the country.
Food & Beverage 4
For those fans who come to the ballpark hungry, there are several choices to fulfill their desires. Two permanent concession stands offer a wide variety of choices including Loaded BBQ Nachos ($11), Pizza Hut Personal Pan Pizza ($8.50), Chick-fil-A Sandwich ($7.50), Hot Dog ($5), and Pretzel ($4.50).
Snack items include popcorn ($5), peanuts ($4.50), Cracker Jacks ($4.50), sunflower seeds ($4.50), candy ($3.50), and Carolina Kettle Chips ($3.50). Howling Cow Ice Cream from NC State’s creamery is $3.
Beverage options include bottled water for $4, bottled soda (Pepsi products) for $5, and Powerade for $5. Beer options are available and range from $9-$11.
Since NC State’s men’s basketball and football teams both play off-campus, it is nice that the baseball facility is still located on campus. Dormitories rise beyond the left field wall and pine trees line the right field wall, which gives Doak Field a quaint college atmosphere. While the location of Doak Field has been the home of the Pack 9 since 1966, the current seating areas, press box, office tower, concessions, and restrooms were all built in an extensive renovation in 2002.
The majority of the seating at Doak Field is below ground, with a spacious open concourse running above the seating area. All of the seating in this area are red chair back seats, which have cup holders. While the chair back seating is nice, these seats are a tad cramped, with not much legroom. At the end of the seating area down the left field line is a spacious grassy berm for general admission seating. Above the berm is a section of bleacher seats that also have chairbacks.
The playing surface at Doak is natural grass, with all of the foul ground being artificial turf. There is a new video board beyond the right field wall, which features line scores, stats, player bios, and video replays. There is not a bad seat in the house; however, the sun sets over the first base side of the stadium. If you are sitting on the third base side for an early evening game, the sun will be in your eyes until it sets as you look toward home plate.
Since Doak Field is located on campus, there are no eateries within walking distance of the ballpark. However, there are a couple of places within a mile of Doak Field. If you are looking for something quick before or after the game, Cook-Out is the place for you. It is located down the street from campus on Western Boulevard and is famous for its “trays” which feature a burger (or chicken sandwich), two sides, and a drink for less than $8.
Amedeo’s Italian Restaurant is also located on Western Boulevard across the street from campus and was started by a former Wolfpack football player. There is a large variety of NC State memorabilia located throughout the restaurant, and their Italian food is some of the best in the area.
Being located in Raleigh, there is no shortage of other activities to participate in when visiting the city. A good activity before or after a game would be to take the short drive to downtown Raleigh and take a stroll around the state Capitol. The North Carolina Museum of History and the North Carolina Museum of Science are both located within a block of the state Capitol.
The closest hotel to campus is Aloft Raleigh on Hillsborough Street directly across the street from the NC State Bell Tower.
The fan's support at most college baseball parks around the country depends on two things: the weather and the time of the game. This is often true at NC State as well. Early-season games on a Tuesday afternoon in 40-degree weather will typically draw 1,000 fans or less. However, as the weather warms up, one can expect 2500 plus fans, especially for a weekend game. Weeknight games against local rivals, such as East Carolina, will also draw near-capacity crowds.
NC State fans are both loyal and passionate, and when the Pack has an ACC power on the ropes, expect the Doak to be rocking. It is not uncommon to hear the Wolf-Pack chant ring out when the Pack is playing well. Pack fans can be rough on the umpires in a good-natured way. Expect to hear “Come on Blue!” when a ball or strike call does not go the Pack’s way.
Aside from rush hour traffic, Doak Field is easily accessible from both I-40 or I-440. If coming to a game on a work night, it is wise to add a few minutes to work your way through Raleigh traffic.
Raleigh-Durham International serves the Triangle and is about a 20-minute drive from NC State. Parking for baseball games is free in the West Deck on Varsity Drive, just off Western Boulevard. It is about a five-minute walk to Doak Field from the West Deck.
Fans without a season or weekend parking permit will need to obtain a free virtual parking permit for any games Monday-Friday that begin before 5 pm. The permit will allow fans to park on the West Deck. Fans can park in this location for any games beginning after 5 pm Monday-Friday or on the weekends without having to request a virtual permit.
The main entrance at Doak is located near the ticket office behind home plate. While there is a gate down the third baseline, it is reserved for students only. Security is present at the games but only checks large bags and purses. NC State fully utilizes mobile ticketing.
Once inside Doak, you will notice a large concourse that runs above the seating bowl. The concourse offers an outstanding view of the field, and often many Wolfpack faithful will just stand on the concourse to watch the game while talking with other fans. Men’s restrooms are on the first base side, while women’s restrooms are on the third base side. Handicapped seating is available on the concourse above the seating bowl.
Return on Investment 3
NC State utilizes a sliding ticket pricing schedule as non-conference games are $10-15 and conference games are $25. Occasionally you can find game tickets cheaper on the secondary market, as the majority of the stadium is sold out through season tickets, so many season ticket holders will sell tickets for games they cannot attend for $10-15.
One neat aspect of attending a game at Doak Field is the duck call that plays when “ducks are on the pond” (Pack players on base). This tradition was started years ago by two gentlemen who would sit behind home plate and blow their duck calls when the Pack had players on base.
For weekend games, the NC State mascots (Mr. and Mrs. Wuf) are usually in attendance.
Another extra is the picnic table on the concourse which offers a view of the game.
While Doak Field may not be known as a highly regarded ballpark, it is still a great ballpark and a fun experience for college baseball. Upcoming renovations should further improve the fan experience!