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  • Writer's picturePaul Baker

Parsons Field - Northeastern Huskies


Photos by Paul Baker, Stadium Journey


Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 2.86

Parsons Field 178 Kent St Boston, MA 02446



Year Opened: 1933

Capacity: 3,000

 

Husky Hardball

Parsons Field is a multipurpose facility located a mile and a half from the Northeastern University campus in Brookline, MA. It hosts the Northeastern baseball and soccer teams, and formerly served as the home of Husky football until the university disbanded the program following the 2009 season.


The park itself dates back to the turn of the 20th century, when it is rumored the public playground known as the “Kent Street Field” was often frequented by a young professional ballplayer named Babe Ruth. In the 1920’s Northeastern University began using the park for baseball, soccer and track. The school eventually purchased the lot from the YMCA’s Huntington Prep School in 1930. The university dedicated the field after former athlete, coach, and athletic director Edward S. Parsons in 1969, and renamed the baseball diamond the Friedman Diamond in 1988. Northeastern built the John “Tinker” Connolly seating pavilion and press box in 2015.


The ball field was originally configured with the baseball diamond at the east end of the football field (which would place home plate in what is now the right field corner). This setup made for a very short porch in left field. When artificial turf was installed in 1972, home plate was moved to its present location.


The Huskies have a long and storied baseball history. The earliest Northeastern teams played their home games on the site of the old Huntington Avenue Grounds on campus, which had been abandoned by the Red Sox in 1912 (I think we all know where the Sox moved to). The Huskies moved their games to Brookline in 1925. The Huskies have qualified for nine NCAA tournaments and made it to one College World Series, in 1966. Eight Husky alumni have made it to the major leagues.


Food & Beverage 0

There is no food available at Parsons Field. There is an old Powerade vending machine next to the Connolly Pavilion, but it’s not clear if it’s working. Fans are welcome to bring their own snacks to Husky baseball games. In fact, on the day of Stadium Journey’s visit, some visiting fans were actually tailgating on the grounds.


Atmosphere 3

You wouldn’t expect an over-the-top game day presentation here at a small, historic venue such as Parsons Field, and you won’t get one. What you do get is a laid-back, comfortable atmosphere that hits all the right notes.


Music plays between innings and batters. The PA announcer does his job without being too intrusive, and the fans, many of whom have a personal connection to the players on the field, are into the game. Great plays by both teams are met with applause and support. An old scoreboard provides basic game information.


Some students make the trek from campus over to Brookline, and bring with them some of the traditions made famous by the Dog Pound over at Matthews Arena, albeit on a smaller scale. Fans can even win a taco from local establishment Jefe’s Taqueria if a Husky player steals a base during the game.


Neighborhood 4

Parsons Field is located in the town of Brookline, which borders the city of Boston to the west. Located about a mile and a half from the Northeastern campus, Parsons Field is located in a residential neighborhood adjacent to the Muddy River section of the Emerald Necklace in the shadow of some of Boston’s largest and most prestigious hospitals.


Fans will find little in the way of dining or lodging options within immediate walking distance of Parsons Field, but with all those hospitals, universities and even Fenway Park located within a mile radius, there are plenty of options for someone visiting for a Northeastern baseball game. The proximity of Fenway Park makes for an easy doubleheader day during April and May, with plenty of time to explore the Kenmore neighborhood in between games.


Beyond the immediate neighborhood, Boston offers an almost endless variety of shops, restaurants, historic sites and things to do. It’s one of the country’s top tourist destinations for a reason.


Fans 2

A Northeastern baseball crowd can accurately be described as a “friends and family” type of crowd. You can expect to see between 100-250 fans per game at Parsons Field. Many of the fans in attendance have a personal connection with the players on the field, and are therefore very much into the action and very supportive. This isn’t generally a place where you’ll see a rowdy crowd.


Since Parsons Field is located off campus, you won’t see very many students at a Husky baseball game. Those that do show up try to continue the traditions of the infamous Dog Pound that rules the roost for hockey games at Matthews Arena, although on a scaled-back basis.


Access 4

The city of Boston has a robust public transportation system, the MBTA, known locally as “The T.” Visitors to Boston will be able to access the T to reach Parsons Field. The Green Line’s D train Brookline Village stop is less than a half mile away. The 60 and 65 busses stop on Brookline and Aspinwall Avenues, about a quarter mile from the ball field.


While driving is not the best method for getting around Boston, fans who drive to Husky fans will find it fairly easy to park in the neighborhood around Parsons Field on the weekends. On-street parking is plentiful, and most amazing for Boston, FREE! If visiting for a weekday game, pay attention to the signs regarding parking restrictions. There is limited parking on site, but beware the real danger to your windshields.


Depending on whether you enter Parsons Field from Kent or Harrison Street, you will enter the facility either behind home plate or in deep left field. Seating is available in the newly constructed Connolly Pavilion. Consisting of individual stadium seats and metal bleachers, it seats 400. The old football bleachers which run from the right field foul pole to center field are also open during baseball games. In addition, there is standing room available at several points around the field, including at the top of the seating pavilion.


Getting around the Parsons Field grounds is easy. Rest rooms are located in the Zabilsky Field House on the right field side of the field. They are clean and easily large enough for a typical Husky baseball crowd.


Return on Investment 5

There is no charge for admission to a Northeastern baseball game. Parking is free both on-street and in the small lot at Parsons Field. You will not spend a cent going to a Husky game.


Extras 2

The sense of history around Parsons Field earns an extra point. Displays honoring Huskies’ conference titles, tournament appearances, retired numbers and Husky alumni to reach the major leagues are located on the back side of the Connolly Pavilion.


A husky statue is located in the front of the Zabilsky Field House. It’s a great spot for a photo while visiting Parsons Field.


The Parsons Field artificial turf ensures that the field is usable throughout the cold early spring months. Check out the black mound and some of the other unique features of this facility. The view of the nearby hospitals from the left field line makes for an interesting backdrop (or sidedrop, as it were).


Final Thoughts

Parsons Field is a very interesting place to catch a college baseball game. It’s got history paired up with modern features. Sitting at this quaint field surrounded by century-old residences, it’s hard to believe that Parsons Field is located just a few blocks away from one of the busiest areas in Boston. That may sum up the Northeastern baseball experience perfectly; close to the big time, but still pretty far away.

Follow Paul Baker’s stadium journeys on Twitter and Instagram @PuckmanRI.

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