Photos by Chris Green, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 2.86
Infinity Insurance Park 11491 SW 17th St Miami, FL 33199
Year Opened: 1996
The Other Miami Baseball Power
Without a doubt, FIU baseball has been one of the school’s few steady contenders year after year. However, they get overshadowed by the University of Miami all too frequently. FIU Baseball Stadium’s generally uninteresting exterior also makes it easy to drive right by without paying too much attention to it.
Once inside the facility, there isn’t too much optically to blow one’s mind, but the seating and viewing angles are quite good for college baseball.
Food & Beverage 3
FIU’s concessions are generally good, but nothing too exciting. Prices are moderately average, with chicken sandwiches and nachos running $6, sausages at $5, pizza, burgers, peanuts, Cracker Jack, hot pretzels, and hot dogs costing $4, and popcorn going for $3 to $5. Assorted candy and snacks run anywhere from $1 to $5 as well, with sodas and water costing $4. The school does offer arepas for $5 and plantain chips for $3, giving you a few staple south Florida options not always available everywhere else.
The students do tend to turn out for FIU baseball, with fans packing it in during popular games against bigger teams and rivalry matchups. Sellouts are frequent for in-state rivalry games against Miami, Florida State, Florida Atlantic, and others. However, while those games may have a playoff feel, games against lesser known and district opponents tend to be snooze-fests at times, drawing a smaller crowd than others.
The fans here are sport knowledgeable, and know the FIU players well. The students and fans do lack that passion you see at some schools, where those in attendance tend to go all out with face paint, homemade signs, and specialized cheers for specific players or opponents. However, this laid-back atmosphere also makes FIU baseball an ideal place to bring young fans to.
FIU Baseball Stadium is on campus, like all of FIU's athletic fields, which makes it convenient to attend. Unlike stadiums in the middle of a city, there is a sense of security on campus, as you are seemingly separated from the rest of the neighborhood around it. However, there still remains the issue of how that surrounding neighborhood looks, and it isn't exactly the best in Miami – Sweetwater is a town known for political corruption and severe street flooding during hurricanes, and not much else. Put a college campus in the middle of it, and you have FIU.
The campus itself is growing by the day, with new construction all over the place, and new buildings popping up. FIU Baseball Stadium is on the far west end of the campus, situated in a corner behind US Century Bank Arena (home of FIU basketball) next to FIU Soccer stadium, and across the street from Riccardo Silva Stadium's parking lot. Very few hotels are nearby, making the idea of an overnight trip hard if you wanted to stay close to the action.
The fans at FIU Baseball Stadium aren’t exactly rowdy or hardcore into the game, but they aren’t people who have no idea what is going on either. There is a nice mix of students, locals, and alumni who attend, with the occasional celebrity sighting at the games. The laid-back atmosphere makes it great for kids, and younger fans can get engaged during game breaks on days when the staff has giveaways and games for them to take part in.
Getting to any stadium at FIU isn't too hard, but traffic can sometimes be problematic. As is typical in Miami, traffic backs up right around the exits nearest FIU's campus on a daily basis. If you find yourself hoping to get to a game and rush hour happens to have lasted a little longer on that day, you may be in for a late arrival.
FIU’s campus is right off of Florida's Turnpike, and FIU’s softball field is actually visible from the freeway itself. There is free parking available for FIU baseball games across the street from FIU Baseball Stadium.
Return on Investment 3
Tickets are not expensive by any means, and with the smaller crowds, you can move around pretty much to any seat you wish to sit in. That said, the moderately low cost of concessions means you aren’t spending a million bucks to go to a college baseball game, which in itself is a pretty great deal. However, with nothing to really set itself apart from anywhere else in college baseball, FIU Baseball Stadium doesn’t offer anything to draw you into their games, other than the prospect of watching D1 baseball.
There are free posters given away to fans who come to games, as well as free game programs. The seats are also not assigned, so you can pick from the standard bleacher seats in the upper seating, or the individually-backed chair seats in the first few rows up from the field itself.
Despite its flaws, FIU Baseball Stadium offers close views to the field from all seating areas, and generally low prices for concessions. That said, it feels like a stadium that is missing that special something to make it truly feel worthy of a special visit just to take in a Golden Panthers baseball game.