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  • Writer's pictureMarc Viquez

Estadio Antonio Escarre - Asociación Deportiva Beisbol Master



Photos by Marc Viquez, Stadium Journey


Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.00

Estadio Antonio Escarre Av. 22A San José, San Cayetano, Costa Rica

Asociación Deportiva Beisbol Master website Estadio Antonio Escarre website

Year Opened: 1955 Capacity: 3,800

 

Costa Rica Baseball


When you think of baseball in Central America, Costa Rica does not come to mind. However, there is a ballpark worth visiting when in San Jose. Estadio Antonio Escarre is the largest baseball stadium in the country. Built in 1955, the stadium holds 4,000 with a covered roof, bleacher seating on each foul line, and a manual scoreboard in a mixed-residential neighborhood of San Jose.


Baseball has been played near the ballpark’s site since 1921 when the city’s first official baseball field was dedicated at nearby Plaza Gonzalez Viquez. In 1941, a new ballpark was constructed 300 meters away that would later bear the name Antonio Escarre, the General Director of Sports. The ballpark would be remodeled in 1955, with lights added in 1961.


The stadium would be heavily renovated between 2012-2013, seeing improvements to the concrete stands, seats on the second floor, new lights, and a dressing room. During almost 70 years of operation, the ballpark has hosted two World Championship series (1961 and 1973) and two Central American Championships (1972 and 2013).


The stadium is home to numerous amateur leagues. The Asociación Deportiva Beisbol Master (Master Baseball Sports Association) offers two levels: a 7-team league of 40-year-old players from April to September and a 6-team circuit of younger talent that operates from October through April. No matter when you are in San Jose, there is more than likely a game on a Saturday afternoon starting at 1:15 PM.


Costa Rica is not known for its baseball; there hasn’t been a player from the country to make it to the major leagues. Most players in this league are from Venezuela, Nicaragua, Cuba, and Puerto Rico. However, how does a sport thrive in a soccer-mad country? Keep reading to find out more about Estadio Antonio Escarre.


Food & Beverage 3


There is a concession stand near the entrance of the ballpark offering inexpensive items: hamburgers, fries, hot dogs, and local dishes that include salchipapas (fries covered with slice sausage and topped with ketchup, mustard, or mayonnaise) and vigoron (cabbage salad, boiled yuca, and chicharrones, all wrapped in a banana leaf). Also, empanadas are sold and are filled with chicken, cheese, or beef and cheese.


The stadium does not serve alcoholic beverages but offers Coca-Cola, Fanta, Gatorade, coffee, and tea. Local sodas include Jet, Big, Raptor, and Jugo. Items are served in combination platters, and some of the bottled drinks come in two sizes. Some of the food items sell out towards the end of the game.


Photos by Marc Viquez, Stadium Journey


Atmosphere 3


The ballpark’s main entrance has a distinct look that feels like it's frozen in time from another era of the game. The colors and texture would look right at home along Miami Beach’s Art Deco hotels and buildings. The stadium sits on the main streets and avenues with little room for moving cars zipping by the outside of its doors.


Most stadiums of its era have a main concourse directly underneath the seating bowl; however, Le Escarre has five rows of plastic seating that provide a unique view of the game. The first few rows are as close as the suite-level seats at the Jimmy John’s Field outside Detroit. These seats are ideal since it rains frequently during June and early July.


The upper deck of the stadium is fully covered. The individual seats offer comfortable views of the game down below. There is a large netting that protects fans from foul balls or thrown bats during the game. Upstairs are views of the surrounding neighborhood.


There is a manual scoreboard in left field, two seats of small bleacher seats down each foul line, and a small general store that sells gear to the players. The concession stand offered tables and chairs, but most fans enjoyed their food and drink from their seats. The majority of the noise comes from the players on the field or the dugouts.


Neighborhood 3


The ballpark is in the San Cayetano neighborhood, boarding Barrio La Cruz, a few miles south of downtown towards the west side. The ballpark is between Avenida 22A and Calle 7. The mixed residential and business district houses many local businesses and a few fast-food restaurants.


The small restaurants include The Baseball Player Soda across the street from the main entrance. They offer hamburgers, nachos, burritos, empanadas, and traditional dishes served cafeteria-style with rice, beans, potatoes, chicken, beef, and maduros (fried sweet plantains). Huaraches offers Mexican cuisine, while Pollo Granjero is a local fried chicken chain. 

Don Cleto Gonzalez Viquez Statue, Photo by Marc Viquez, Stadium Journey


On Saturday mornings, there is a farmers market that takes place near the stadium with street vendors and fresh produce for sale. Plaza Viquez also houses a small soccer field that is home to Esuadran FC, a lower-level football club, 300 meters away from the baseball stadium.


Downtown San Jose is filled with many places to see including the Children’s Museum, National Museum, Museo del Jade, Central Market, and pedestrian-only streets that are filled with shops, restaurants, and street vendors. A bit outside of town is Irazu Volcano National Park offers close-ups of a dormant volcano.


Fans 2


Sadly, only a few people attend games at the ballpark. There were 50 people in the 3,800-seat stadium cheering on family members and friends on the field. You could always tell who's family member was up at the plate due to the loud screech in their voices. The atmosphere is similar to a small college ballpark or Limeport Stadium in Pennsylvania.


Access 3


The stadium has two levels with staircases on the outside of the main grandstand. There is also bleacher seating down the foul line that has walkways behind the dugouts. There is plenty of seating on the first level and much more on the second level. Parking is available on the streets around the ballpark’s perimeter. If driving, or taking Uber or DiDi, use Waze to access the streets to arrive at the ballpark.


Return on Investment 4


The price of admission is free and menu items are extremely affordable. The price of a burger, fries, and a drink is 2,000 Colones ($3.82 US dollars). An empanada is 1,000 Colones ($1.91 US dollars) and some of the smaller drinks are under a dollar. The stadium does not offer programs, or merchandise, or have many fans in the seats. However, the price of admission and food items is hard to beat.


Extras 3

The stadium earns a point for its variety of food, and affordable prices. The food is tasty and offers traditional and local fare for the customer.


The stadium earns a second point for its seating structure. There are seats underneath the main grandstand, and a roof covers the grandstand seating structure. 


The final point is for the ballpark’s asthetics. It does not look quite like other buildings I have been to in my life. It has a style that has been captured in time.


Final Thoughts


I was unaware of a baseball stadium in San Jose until recently, but it is worth grabbing something affordable to eat while watching the game. It makes for a great way to spend a few hours on Saturday in between travel plans in and around the city. 


_____


Follow all of Marc’s stadium journeys on Twitter @ballparkhunter and his YouTube channel. Email at Marc.Viquez@stadiumjourney.com 

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