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  • Writer's pictureDavid Welch

Doug Kingsmore Stadium - Clemson Tigers



Photos by David Welch, Stadium Journey


Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 4.71

Doug Kingsmore Stadium

114 Baseball Dr

Clemson, SC 29634



Year Opened: 1970

Capacity: 6,272

Where's that Tiger?

Just a relay throw away from the banks of Lake Hartwell, Doug Kingsmore Stadium has been the home of Clemson Tiger baseball since 1970. Initially known as Beautiful Tiger Field, the stadium was dedicated to Doug Kingsmore, a former Clemson baseball star and three-time Clemson trustee, in 2003.


Baseball at Clemson dates to before the 20th century, with the first games played in 1896 at Bowman Field, in the shadows of Tillman Hall – this is where football legend John Heisman served as the head of both the football and baseball teams. Later baseball moved to neighboring Riggs Field, which now hosts the soccer stadium, but occupied the area now used for intramural sports.


Clemson baseball started as members of the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association in 1896 and would go on to be founding members of the Southern Conference in 1921. In 1953 Clemson was among the founding schools of the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), where they have played ever since.

 

Food & Beverage   5

The concession options here are a mix of the usual fare like hot dogs and nachos, with a bit of an extended menu to include corn dogs, burgers, and smoked sausage, all available as combo meals. Additionally there are daily specials, which could feature items such as chicken tenders or iced coffee. For those looking for something different, secondary concession kiosks scattered around the stadium also offer kettle corn, Cheeto-dusted popcorn, Dippin’ Dots, and shaved ice.


If standard concessions are not the call, the Tiger Bites stand along the left field line serves freshly grilled bacon cheeseburgers and chili cheese dogs. However, those in the general seating area might be a bit disappointed to find that the Cajun Cafe, offering a menu of Louisiana’s finest, is only accessible to those seated in the Cajun Cafe suites – this limitation may be understandable, considering the challenge of preparing a specialty menu for such a large crowd.

 

Atmosphere   5

Doug Kingsmore Stadium would give many minor league stadiums a run for their money, in terms of both practical amenities and entertainment value for fans. The facility offers a diversity of seating options for just about any seating preference, including up-close field level seats and more unique, non-traditional viewing areas.


The seating closest to the action spans ten rows deep and is divided into premium and field level sections between each dugout, while upper grandstand seating extends from first base and wraps around behind home plate and up to third base. Additionally, there are also individual sections of outfield seating available.


Many fans opt to stand along the fences down each line, or on an elevated walkway leading from left field down the third base line; even the cutout of the left-center field fence attracts a crowd. In addition, if hillside seating is your preference, Doug Kingsmore Stadium has you covered with a grassy hillside on the left field side, where many fans spread out blankets to watch the game. Lastly, for those looking for more of an old school, Wrigley Field-type vibe, a handful of fans bring tailgating chairs and sit on the walkway of neighboring Jervey Athletic Center, which overlooks the baseball field.


When choosing between any of the various seating options, it is hard to go wrong. The sun does set beyond the first base side of the field, however, so seats along the third base side and left field grandstand have a tough sun field to contend with in the early innings of evening games.


The in-game presentation is built around fan engagement, keeping mid-inning events to a minimum other than ad reads and an occasional round of ball cap mix-up, finish the lyric, or name the year contests.  Clemson does use a lot of mid-at bat audio drops, but it is the combination of the drops paired with the player reactions that really garner the fan involvement – there are several of these musical insertions that elicit a reaction from the players in the dugout, but it is probably the Venga Boys “We Like to Party” clip that gets the biggest reaction. The song is played on repeat when the opposing pitcher is having difficulty finding the strike zone, and becomes so annoying it is difficult to hold back a smirk when it is played for the twentieth time in a half-inning, as it seems to rattle the pitcher enough to throw ball twenty-one.



The stadium layout and wide variety of seating options are great, but from an entertainment standpoint the atmosphere created is so memorable that it becomes the backbone on which the fun of the whole game experience is built.

 

Neighborhood   5

Clemson, South Carolina is a quintessential college town where the university is the center of most of what goes on in the area.


College Avenue, the hub of activity on weekends and the scene of much of Clemson’s nightlife, is located just under a mile from Doug Kingsmore Stadium. Situated near the northern edge of campus, the area is heavily populated with an array of bars and restaurants, making it a popular destination for both pre or post-game gatherings. During the spring, as days lengthen and temperatures rise, College Avenue buzzes with visitors exploring its shops, bars, and dining spots.


While College Avenue has the highest concentration of popular establishments, The Esso Club, a renowned Clemson watering hole, is just a short stroll from Doug Kingsmore Stadium's home plate gates.


On campus, Doug Kingsmore Stadium is part of the athletics complex, which includes softball’s McWhorter Stadium, beyond the left field confines and just across the street from both Littlejohn Coliseum and Memorial Stadium.

 

Fans   5

Fans here seem to pack every nook and cranny of available space to the tune of 4,000+ fans per game, one of the highest in the ACC and in the top 20 nationally. However, what sets Clemson's baseball experience apart is not just the sheer number of fans, but their active participation in creating an electric atmosphere that's among the best in college baseball.


Give Clemson baseball fans a lot of credit, at a school with such a strong football following their fanbase shows up dressed specifically to support Clemson baseball. Fans dressed in football t-shirts or jerseys are the exception rather than the norm, which is not necessarily the standard at many other schools in college football strongholds.


Much of the credit for setting the tone of the fan involvement in the stands needs to go to the Flamingo Gang, or at least an offshoot of the 2017 student fan group that would express its fandom by waving plastic or inflatable flamingoes about.



When Clemson fans show up for a weekend series they are prepared for the full weekend, populating Jervey Meadow with pull-behind campers, RVs, and even what some might consider a tour bus – while many weekend tailgating encampments are modest, a handful go all out with elaborate tent set ups, some even including satellite television and live bands playing.


Clemson fans are a passionate group regardless of the sport; they show up in large numbers to support their Tigers and are extremely involved and ready to burst into a round of “Tiger Rag” at the drop of a hat.

 

Access   4

Located just about 15 minutes off I-85, Clemson’s campus is easily accessible for fans traveling from Charlotte or Atlanta, with a drive of about 2 to 2.5 hours from each. Once on campus parking is readily available around the stadium – for those parking in the handicap area, however, be alert for batting practice home runs that might leave the stadium.


Visitors parking near McWhorter Stadium (softball) or in Jervey Meadow will likely access the stadium through the outfield gates, while those parking on the northern side of campus can easily enter through the home plate entrance.


Regardless of the entry point, fans will find wide concourses that encircle the stadium. As you approach the grandstand the concourse splits into a field walkway and a concourse behind the grandstand, the latter which provides access to restrooms, concessions, and an apparel tent.


With ample parking surrounding Doug Kingsmore Stadium and wide walkways, accessing the stadium is straightforward and hassle-free, limiting the size of crowds that might otherwise make the walkways difficult to navigate.

 

Return on Investment   4

Midweek game tickets typically begin around $5 for a get-in-the-door price, with weekend games starting at $15 for standing room only and $20 for outfield tickets. Although these prices may seem a bit steep, considering there is no parking fee and that the game offers great entertainment value, it is a worthwhile investment.


It might be a good idea to check the secondary market for discounted ticket prices, as lower priced tickets are commonly available.

 

Extras   5

For fans of ballpark Easter Eggs, Doug Kingsmore Stadium has its fair share. A cluster of Crape Myrtles at the home plate entry are arranged in large planting beds designed to take the shape of the Clemson Tiger paw print logo. Also, a further inspection of the concourse pattern reveals striping reminiscent of tiger fur.


As if any more hidden treats were needed, when you first look at the field there seems to be something off, but it might be tough to place a finger on it right away. Upon closer inspection, though, you may notice there is no warning track – much like the former home of the Cincinnati Reds, Crosley Field, rather than having a warning track, the outfield grass gently slopes to warn outfielders of a possible impending collision with the outfield fence.


In yet another testament to the role the Tigers most passionate fans play in creating the elite baseball experience at Clemson, just beyond the right field foul pole are “The Cheap Seats”, a section of bleacher seating that was once a mobile fan club/tailgating set up, but has now become a fixture of outfield seating – the purple, orange, and white minibus has become synonymous with Tiger baseball fandom.



The stadium is also a virtual history lesson of baseball at Clemson; Clemson greats Rusty Adkins, Seth Beer, Kris Benson, and Khalil Green, along with coaching legends Jack Leggett and Bill Wilhelm, are immortalized both with plaques at the entry point of the stadium, and with their numbers recognized on the outfield wall. The wall also boasts team championships and tallies of the number of MLB first round draft picks and players from Clemson who have gone on to reach the majors. The history lesson continues along the main entry concourse with displays of Clemson’s best teams, as well as the top players who have helped create the Clemson baseball legacy.


It is always refreshing to see teams honoring the timeless traditions of their university – following the game’s last out, the Tiger players, coaches, and staff gather beyond first base to sing the Clemson alma mater, capping it off with the alma mater salute, extending their arms and shaking their hats as the song ends.

 

Final Thoughts

Clemson baseball might be one of the most interactive fan experiences in the country; there is a symbiosis between the players in the dugout and the fans in the stands that infects the stadium with a fun air that it is impossible not to get caught up in.


Baseball at Clemson offers a delightful blend of entertainment and high-caliber collegiate play. The atmosphere is also organically festive, built around the fun-loving nature of the Clemson Tigers in the dugout but with spirited fans in the stands contributing to the experience. It would be hard for even the most hardened of baseball purists not to appreciate the humor and fun of it all.  

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