Photo courtesy of Notre Dame Athletics
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.29
Frank Eck Stadium
Dorr Rd and Leahy Dr
South Bend, IN 46556
Year Opened: 1994
Baseball in Notre Dame
Frank Eck Stadium is the home to the Notre Dame baseball program and is a few yards away from Notre Dame Stadium, Compton Family Ice Arena, and the Joyce Center. In fact, it blends in quite well with the other sports facilities as incorporates the same brick color pattern that is made by the Canton, Ohio, based Belden Brick Co.
The ballpark opened in 1994 and has a capacity for 2,500 spectators. Frank Eck, a wealthy benefactor, and alumnus helped subsidize the cost of the new stadium with a sizable contribution; the total cost of the new stadium would be $5.7 million. For his generous donation, the stadium would be named after Eck.
Although Notre Dame is known for some of the better facilities for its individual sport, Eck Stadium is merely for the die-hard baseball fan. The Fighting Irish have an impressive home record of 415-144-2 that includes 11 NCAA Tournament appearances, 6 conference tournament championships, 5 conference championships, and a College World Series appearance in 2002 since the ballpark opened.
If you enjoy winning baseball in a beautiful college setting, then this might be your place.
Food & Beverage 3
There is a concession stand directly in front of the stadium’s entrance and underneath the main grandstand offering basic ballpark staples of hot dogs, brats, nachos, popcorn, and pretzels. The hot dog and brat are hot and tasty, while the popcorn is nicely popped and buttery. You can wash them all down with a 20-ounce or 32-ounce Coca-Cola product. However, you cannot wash your hot dog down with a beer; no alcohol is served at the ballpark.
Frank Eck Stadium is a rather small ballpark that includes a decorative main entrance, an inner concourse, grandstand and bleacher seating, and a few nice touches that stamps the ND brand throughout the facility. The atmosphere is about the ballgame on the field and fans in the stand provide their own soundtrack with clapping, cheering, and stomping of their feet.
The seating itself feels somewhat cramped at times, but crowds are never large enough where you feel cumbersome. The entire stadium feels somewhat cramped in certain sections, especially when accessing the bleacher-style seating down the first and third baselines.
The outfield walls are painted navy blue with gold trim, the foul lines are imprinted with Notre Dame lettering, and a list of the baseball program’s championships are listed in the right field corner. A simple scoreboard is located behind the left field wall that does not offer instant replay or any video graphics.
The Eddy Street Commons is within walking distance and is home to regional and local chains along with apartments, a hotel, and two urban parks. The full development will be completed by the summer of 2020, but it makes for a great spot to grab a bite at either Brother’s, Chipotle. Five Guys, or McAllister’s Deli. Unfortunately, the Indianapolis-based creole and cajun restaurant Yat’s closed in April 2019–which would have been my recommendation before or after the game.
Legends of Notre Dame is located on campus and also within walking distance of the ballpark. During the day the establishment offers pub food but at night the location becomes a night club offering entertainment and live music.
South Bend is in the midst of a renaissance with old buildings being converted into places to live and work, new companies moving headquarters to downtown, and a population book. A little further away from campus is Mulligans–a highly recommended spot for pizza, wings, Italian beef, and beer. South Bend Brew Werks and Studebaker Brewing Company are two craft beer choices that offer funky decor and tasty suds.
Attractions include the Studebaker National Museum for the car enthusiast, the Potawatomi Zoo, or you may want to see a little more baseball during your visit. The South Bend Cubs play at Four Winds Field and it has become quite the place to be seen in town, along one of Stadium Journey’s favorite minor league ballparks.
The fans, like in many college ballparks in the Midwest, are usually a collection of friends and family of both the home and visiting teams. At Notre Dame, there is a bit of a mix, but they are a fairly low-key group of fans during the year. It should be noted that the game we attended was on Mothers Day and about two weeks after the end of the school year.
Frank Eck Stadium is easy to locate on GPS or if you follow directions to the football stadium. There is plenty of parking that is free of charge and you can even find a spot near the stadium’s entrance if you don’t fear foul balls possibly dinging off your car. There is one restroom (men and women) in the ballpark that is kept clean and with crowd sizes very small, no waiting lines. The only concern with access are the bleacher seats down the left and right field lines due to the design and aesthetics of the stadium.
Return on Investment 4
The price of a ticket is only $5 and concession prices are also around the same price point. On a beautiful spring day, the investment might even be higher, but penciling a game at Frank Eck Stadium is for the die-hards of both Notre Dame and college baseball fans.
The Notre Dame campus offers a beautiful setting for a quick tour before or after the baseball game. The football stadium, basketball arena, hockey rink, and Touchdown Jesus mural are nearby for possible photo opportunities.
Notre Dame has been playing winning baseball the past several seasons that has resulted in something to cheer about from the stands.
South Bend offers quite a bit for the stadium traveler with museums, craft breweries, dining options, and one of the best college campuses in the country. However, taking in a baseball game at Frank Eck Stadium is strictly for the die-hards.