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  • David Welch

Reese Smith Jr. Field - Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders


Photos by David Welch, Stadium Journey


Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.71

Reese Smith Jr. Field 635 Champion Way Murfreesboro, TN 37130


Year Opened: 1979

Capacity: 2,600

 

Reese Smith Jr. Field – Middle Tennessee State University Blue Raiders

About thirty miles south of Nashville is the town of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, home of the Blue Raiders. Middle Tennessee State athletics garnered a great deal of notoriety with the men’s basketball program’s 15-over-2 upset of Michigan State in the 2016 NCAA basketball tournament. The women’s program has also seen its own successes, first in the Sun Belt Conference and now in Conference USA. The track and field program has been highly touted in its own right.


Middle Tennessee State baseball has seen its own successes, having made 13 NCAA tournament appearances in the program’s NCAA Division I history.


Food & Beverage 4

The Blue Raiders concession stand offers a well-rounded selection of options. There is the typical ballpark fare of hot dogs, burgers, nachos, popcorn, and peanuts. What sets concessions apart though are some of the secondary items – Italian sausage, various versions of mac and cheese (BBQ, Korean style BBQ, and sriracha chicken), pulled pork nachos, and bacon grilled cheese help liven up what might be an otherwise typical concessions menu.


The Blue Raiders offer Pepsi products, Gatorade, and bottled water, along with various domestic beers, craft beers, and hard seltzers.


Atmosphere 3

Reese Smith Jr. Field is almost an exclusively brick facility, trimmed with the university’s strong hue of blue. Season ticket seating consists of four rows of blue seatbacks that run dugout to dugout, as well as along some of the upper grandstand directly behind home plate; there are only a handful of these seats available for purchase though. General admission seating makes up most of the second tier of seating and mostly consists of multiple rows of aluminum benches with seat backs.


The Blue Raiders play on mostly natural turf, with a synthetic turf halo around the home plate area. The field plays with symmetrical distances around the uniform, 8-foot fence. Both lines run 330’, power alleys go 365’, and center field 395’. The medium-sized scoreboard sits over the right centerfield wall and provides fans with player-by-player, in-game statistical information, inning-by-inning scoring, and pitch speed. Between innings, the time is filled with a handful of fan-interactive activities, either in the stands or as features on the scoreboard.

The grandstand is uncovered, which can create a bit of an uncomfortable experience if there happens to be rain or extremely hot, sunny weather. The only place to escape and get relief from the elements is in the concourse area below the stadium, where you cannot see the game being played.


Neighborhood 3

Reese Smith Jr. Field is at the front of the Middle Tennessee State campus, amongst most of the other on-campus athletic facilities. The university’s football field, Floyd Stadium, is a towering presence behind the left field wall – the football stadium is so close to the baseball field that the back side of some of the concession stands and restrooms there are used to tout the baseball successes in conference and NCAA tournament play.

Middle Tennessee State University’s campus is just under two miles from downtown Murfreesboro, which features numerous shops and restaurants built around the town square. One of the more popular eateries here is Jack Brown’s Beer and Burger Joint.


Civil War buffs might enjoy a visit to the nearby Stones River National Battlefield that is about 5 miles from the MTSU campus.


Fans 3

The Blue Raiders have a decent turnout at their baseball games, but they probably will not be breaking attendance records. For the most part fans are engaged in the game, but are more reactionary to the action on the field, rather than anticipating or willing the Blue Raiders to a big play or strikeout in a key situation.


Access 3

The Middle Tennessee State University campus is conveniently located less than 4 miles from I-24. Even though it is not directly off the interstate, it is still easy enough to get to. Once at the stadium, parking is a bit trickier. There is some parking alongside the stadium, but while classes are in session these spots can be tough to come by. There is also a large lot in the area, but due to ongoing construction, navigating from the lot to the field is a bit of a challenge.


Once at the stadium, ticket booths are adjacent to the main entry point that leads to the concourse area below the seating bowl. Here fans are instantly greeted by the concession stand before making their way up the aluminum stairs to the main seating area. For the most part, all seating is accessible from this location. There are some areas for fans to stand down the line, but it is limited mostly to the third-base side of the field.


Return on Investment 4

With general admission tickets running $5 and reserved seats $10, ticket prices are consistent with most other schools of its size. However, there just doesn’t seem to be much reason to pony up the extra $5 to sit closer to the field.


Parking is free and concessions are priced reasonably, so a day with the Blue Raiders comes at a reasonable price.


Extras 3

The Lee Victory Wall of Champions looms over the left centerfield wall – the large blue wall lists the conference and tournament championships, as well as the NCAA Regional appearances.


The school’s fight song is played after each home run; this goes a long way in creating the atmosphere that is unique to college baseball.


The radio broadcast is played throughout the concourse to allow fans to keep up with the game while grabbing concessions or taking a quick restroom break.


Final Thoughts

Baseball at Middle Tennessee State is a nice college baseball atmosphere that lends itself to an overall enjoyable game experience. While it might not be a destination visit for baseball enthusiasts, it is located just outside of Nashville, so it is easily paired with a visit to the Music City as a part of a bigger swing of baseball in the heart of Tennessee.

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