Earl Lorden Field - UMass Minutemen
Photos by Paul Baker, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 2.43
Earl Lorden Field Mullins Way Amherst, MA 01003
Year Opened: 1971 Capacity: 1,000
The University of Massachusetts Amherst (better known as UMass) is the flagship and largest campus in the Univeristy of Massachusetts system. Its enrollment of over 30,000 students participate in 109 undergraduate, 77 graduate and 49 doctoral programs taught by 1,300 faculty members.
Baseball was first played at UMass in 1877. In 1971, their present home was named in honor of long-time coach Earl Lorden, who coached the Minutemen for 20 seasons beginning in 1947. The bleachers are dedicated to his successor, Dick Bergquist, who coached at UMass for 21 years.
UMass competes in the Atlantic 10 Conference. The Minutemen have appeared in 11 NCAA tournaments, most recently in 1996. They have reached two College World Series, in 1954 and 1969. 18 UMass alumni have played in the Major Leagues, including Gary DiSarcina, Mike Flanagan and Jeff Reardon.
Food & Beverage 0
There is no food available at Earl Lorden Field. Fans are welcome to bring their own snacks to enjoy during the game.
As you may expect at a basic facility like Earl Lorden Field, the game day presentation is pretty basic as well. This is an old-school experience, where you can hear the chatter on the field, the calls of the umpires, and coaches barking instructions to the players.
There is a simple scoreboard beyond the left field fence that displays basic game information. Music plays between innings and Minutemen players have their own walk-up songs. The public address announcer does his job without being intrusive. It all adds up to a pleasant, old-school atmosphere.
Earl Lorden Field Scoreboard, Photo by Paul Baker, Stadium Journey
Amherst is consistently rated as one of the best college towns in the country. Amherst Center is about a mile and a half from Earl Lorden Field and is chock full of restaurants, shops and museums. With five colleges located in and around Amherst, the options are many and varied.
From quaint book shops to museums celebrating the works of Emily Dickinson and Eric Carle to art galleries and libraries, the area around UMass has something for everyone. Visiting fans looking for something to eat before or after a game will find no shortage of options along Main and Pleasant Streets. UMass students swear by Antonio’s, home of some legendary gourmet pizza slices. For a complete listing of things to do, places to eat and lodging options in Amherst visit AmherstDowntown.com.
Just up the road from Earl Lorden Field is the town of Hadley, where many more dining and shopping choices are located. Most of the eateries in this area consist of chain restaurants and fast food options. The Hangar Bar and Grill, a popular campus hangout with numerous craft brews on tap, is located near McGuirk Stadium.
There are lodging options near UMass in both Amherst and Hadley. With Springfield only a half hour away, you won’t have to travel too far to find a place to stay after the game. For those wishing to eliminate the commute after the game entirely, the UMass Hotel and Conference Center is located at the center of campus and is run entirely by students in the hospitality and tourism management program.
As is the case in most college baseball fields in the northeast, the crowd at a UMass game can accurately be described as a “friends and family” type of crowd. Typically numbering between 100-200 people, the fans add to the laid-back vibe of Earl Lorden Field. Most of the people who do attend a Minutemen baseball game have a personal connection with the players and are very invested in the action going on down on the field.
There’s not a huge turnout by the student body for UMass baseball, but several students do stop by the field for a little while as they wander around campus, particularly on a nice spring day. The UMass campus is a bustling place on these weekends, with plenty to do that draw the students in several directions.
The University of Massachusetts is located in rural western Massachusetts, about a half hour north of Springfield. There are no highways that directly serve the UMass campus, but Interstate 91 is only six miles away if traveling from the north, south, or west. If traveling from the east, the Mass Turnpike (Interstate 90) will bring you about 20 miles from campus. From the Mass Pike you’ll follow some winding country roads to the college town of Amherst. The scenery in the spring months of the baseball season don’t compare to the colorful foliage of the fall, but it’s still a nice ride.
Springfield is located 16 miles south of Amherst, served by both Amtrak and the Peter Pan Bus Lines. The larger cities of Boston, Albany, and Hartford are all less than a two-hour drive from campus. The closest airport is Bradley Airport, just over the Connecticut state line. The ski resorts of Vermont’s Green Mountains are only a couple of hours to the north.
Earl Lorden Field is located in the shadows of the Mullins Center on the western edge of campus. Tucked in at the bottom of a hill behind the arena, there’s nothing around to point you in the direction of the ballpark. The two lots that flank the tennis courts across the street from Earl Lorden Field are more than large enough to handle a typical Minutemen baseball crowd.
Ballparks don’t come more unassuming than Earl Lorden Field. Seating consists of three sets of bleachers behind home plate. There’s also room down the foul lines where fans can set up their own lawn chairs and take in the action with a little bit more room to spread out. The community rink on top of the hill has public rest rooms available. A row of port-a-johns provide facilities closer to the field.
Return on Investment 5
Admission to a UMass baseball game is free of charge, as is parking in the adjacent lots. If you bring your own snacks, you won’t spend a single cent at a Minutemen baseball game.
There are dedication plaques honoring Earl Lorden and Dick Bergquist, as well as a display commemorating all the UMass Tournament teams on the back of the press box. Hidden on a small corner of the UMass dugout on the third base side of the field are bronze plaques honoring Lorden and Bergquist. Bergquist’s number 26 is displayed on the left field wall.
It’s rather disappointing to see that a school with the stature of UMass plays in such a basic facility as Earl Lorden Field. When you consider the history of the baseball program here, and that it faced elimination not so long ago, the lack of facilities and resources makes more sense. As you gaze beyond the field to the beautiful Mullins Center overlooking the ball field, one can’t help but think the Minutemen baseball team deserves more.
Follow Paul Baker’s stadium journeys on Twitter and Instagram @PuckmanRI.