Photos by Chris Green, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.71
Levine-Fricke Field Centennial Drive Berkeley, CA 94720
Year Opened: 1995
Softball in Secluded Splendor
Sitting at the bottom of Strawberry Canyon lies Levine-Fricke Field. This small stadium features beautiful green hills surrounding the home of the 2002 National Champions. However, what you may not know is that this also is one of the more unique facilities at Cal Berkeley, and is a fan-friendly facility. A closer look reveals the beauty that exists here, as well as the potential for what could be.
The school unveiled a brand-new stadium re-design and upgrade project several years ago that has been tied up in court, thanks to noise concerns from neighboring landowners. While the future, should it ultimately come to pass, looks bright, the current home of Cal Softball is one to be admired.
Food & Beverage 3
The name of the game here is simplicity. The menu is short and sweet and that is perfect for the setting here at Levine-Fricke Field. Leading off are hot dogs ($6) and specialty sausages ($7). Nachos come in at $6 while candy, peanuts, corn nuts, and sunflower seeds cost $5. All drinks (soda, water, and Gatorade) also cost $5. Everything is served quick and hot, meaning you won’t be waiting forever for your meal.
The stadium is situated at the east end of campus, high above the rest of the school down below. Along the outfield are the verdant hills of Strawberry Canyon, providing a beautiful background for softball. Behind home plate are more trees, offering shade in the afternoon from the sun. The outfield seats are elevated to the top of the tall outfield fence line, meaning you have a great view of the entire playing field. The seating stretches from the left field foul pole to center field. Along center field’s outfield wall is also a standing-room-only area for fans as well.
The stadium is situated on Cal Berkeley’s campus itself. This is one of the country’s most historic and revered colleges, and the beauty of the campus is evident from the moment you set foot here. Just outside of campus is Berkeley, a college town that has everything from hotels (Residence Inn by Marriott and Hotel Shattuck Plaza are your closest options to campus) to restaurants and shopping. Shattuck Avenue and University Avenue both are full of shopping and dining options. Nearby fans can find hiking trails that lead from the softball stadium area up to the Big C on the hillside, overlooking the Cal football stadium.
The Cal faithful love their softball. Even a weekday game against an in-state rival brings a respectable crowd for a mid-day matchup. Once there, they cheer and yell along with every big play. They’re sport-knowledgeable and know the roster and coaching staff like diehards.
The hardest part about getting to games here is the parking. On campus parking is limited, and if you were to find a spot, you will need to pay the meter or have a parking pass. Outside of campus there is metered street parking, but again this can be hard to come by. Fans likely are best off parking in a lot or garage off campus and walking from there. Getting to campus is also something that requires a lot of side streets, as there isn’t a highway exit immediately adjacent to the stadium. That said, heading due east from I-80 will get you there without an issue.
There are parking lots on site for the softball games themselves, but as the lot is small and shared with the campus pool and rugby/soccer field, parking here is also limited.
Return on Investment 5
Seats behind the home plate area cost $25 on weekends, while general admission in the outfield grandstands cost $20 (kids and senior tickets are $10 for general admission). On weekdays, admission is free to all fans. Coupled with low cost for concessions, watching top collegiate softball in a beautiful facility is a stellar value here.
The left field wall in the outfield features a championship banner for the 2002 National Championship winning squad. There is also a free giveaways table at games, next to the concessions stand. Here, fans can get free posters and information on tickets for other Cal athletics events.
Finally, down the left field line is a standing room only area where fans can get up close to the field of play for a unique field-level view, that isn’t offered at many other sports facilities for free.
Taking in a softball game at Levine-Fricke Field is a great option for fans looking to catch some Cal Golden Bears athletics action. The stadium is in a beautiful part of campus, and the weather is almost always stellar. With the affordability of tickets and concessions, you’ll be hard pressed to find a better softball facility in the Bay Area.