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  • Gregory Koch

Marty L. Miller Field – Norfolk State Spartans


Photos by Gregory Koch, Stadium Journey


Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 2.43

Marty L. Miller Field 50 Presidential Pkwy Norfolk, VA 23529

Norfolk State Spartans website

Marty L. Miller Field website


Year Opened: 1997 Capacity: 1,500

 

Miller Time

Located in Norfolk, Virginia, Norfolk State University is one of many historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) in the country. Their athletic teams, known as the Spartans, compete in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC), one of two Division I conferences composed entirely of HBCUs.

The Spartans baseball team has played at Marty L. Miller Field since 1997. Located next to the Spartans’ football stadium on the south side of campus, it is named after Marty L. Miller, who spent more than 50 years as a player, coach, and administrator at Norfolk State.

Food & Beverage 2

There is a food truck down the first baseline near the ramp to the bleachers which serves basic options, although prices are affordable. Hot dogs are $2, sausages are $3, and there is a wide range of snacks available, from chips to candy to gum, for no more than $1. Rather bizarrely, individual pickles are available for 50 cents each. Presumably, they are supposed to be put on the hot dogs and sausages, but they are listed as a separate item, not an add-on, so fans can order just a pickle as well.

Sodas are available for $1, bottled water for $1.50, and Gatorade for $2. On cold days early in the season, Swiss Miss hot chocolate and coffee are available for $1. Note that the stand is cash only, so be prepared.

Atmosphere 2

Marty L. Miller Field is a rather basic stadium with a few sets of bleachers accessible up a ramp from the entrance area and not much else. There is a scoreboard in the outfield which shows the linescore, but there isn’t much else here. The two sections of bleachers directly behind home plate have backs, but the back bar is so far back that it may be more comfortable not to use it. The other two sections of bleachers do not have backs.


There are the usual announcements and walk-up music, but beyond that, there isn’t much going on here. The school doesn’t do much to promote the baseball team at all or keep fans engaged, unfortunately.

Neighborhood 3

There is not much to do in the immediate vicinity of campus, but if you’re willing to drive a mile or two away, downtown Norfolk is a lively area. Whether it’s local comfort food like Tony’s Diner (which you will likely pass on the way in) or a sports bar like Baxter’s, almost everyone will be able to find something they enjoy. If you arrive during one of the first couple weeks of the season, you can make a short drive down to Virginia Beach and make a long weekend out of it.

Fans 2

There were only about 100 fans in attendance when Stadium Journey visited, and many of them were fans of the opposing team. However, those Spartans fans who do attend are extremely passionate and vocal throughout the game. They come decked in the Spartans’ colors of green and gold and cheer the team very loudly throughout the game. If there were more of them, the atmosphere here could be quite intimidating for visiting teams, but unfortunately, there aren’t nearly enough people to have that kind of impact.

Access 3

The Norfolk State University campus is located either right off I-264 or a few miles off of I-64 depending on where you are coming from. Regardless of how you get to campus, you will need to use the gate off of Park Avenue which will put you on Presidential Parkway. From there, the stadium and lot are straight ahead on your right. However, if for some reason you don’t know where to go, the guard at the gate can direct you. Parking is free and there are additional spaces by the softball stadium and tennis courts if that lot fills up. Although the baseball stadium lot is generally far enough away to be protected from foul balls, many of the spaces at the softball stadium are within foul ball range, so if there is a game there on the same day, plan accordingly.

Restrooms are located behind and under the bleachers and are of sufficient size but are dimly lit by strange buzzing lights.

Return on Investment 4

Admission is free, parking is free, and concessions are extremely affordable. However, given the rather basic experience and paltry attendance, there isn’t enough here to offer the top score.

Extras 1

There are free programs available at the concession stand. They aren’t that extensive, but it’s hard to argue with the price, particularly with so many places eliminating physical programs.

Final Thoughts

Norfolk State baseball has a very small but very passionate fan base. If the team would put more effort into promoting the team, they could attract more fans and a visit to Marty L. Miller Field would be a better experience. The reality is, however, that like many HBCUs, Norfolk State is a football school first and foremost, and the baseball team operates in their shadow figuratively as well as literally in this case.

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