Daily Egyptian

Ranking the MVC’s Baseball Stadiums

By Thomas Donley and Sean Carley, @tdonleyDE

If one takes a tour of Missouri Valley Conference baseball stadiums, he or she would see a wide variety of settings. Some of which are obviously better than others. After taking into account stadium capacity, amenities, atmosphere and player facilities, here’s what we, along with the Saluki baseball players, are the best (and worst) stadiums in the Valley: 

1. Hammons Field – Missouri State

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It’s a tight race between Hammons Field and Horner Ballpark for the top spot, but the outside training facilities push Hammons Field over the top.

In addition to the 7,986-seat stadium itself, there’s separate facilities for the Bears to train in just outside the right field wall.

Sure, it’s a bit unfair that some funding comes in because of the Springfield Cardinals playing there; but overall, it’s no wonder why MSU plays there as well. Every team that plays at Missouri State gets a taste of professional baseball in college.

2. Horner Ballpark – Dallas Baptist

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As far as ballparks where the student-athletes are the only ones to play there, Horner Ballpark takes the cake. 

A relatively new stadium — built in 2013 — the home of the Patriots is the perfect example of smaller being better.

“Their facilities are incredible,” junior right fielder Jake Hand said. “The conditions are usually pretty consistent.”

The 2,000-seat facility features a dark red brick architecture, a personal favorite, creating an intimate atmosphere for the 5,319-student school. Plus, with closed circuit televisions and audio broadcasts describing the action in the concourses, fans are never too far away from the game.

3. Dozer Park – Bradley

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Another entry on the list that is shared between university and minor league team is Dozer Park. Splitting its usage between Bradley and the Peoria Chiefs, this stadium held the 2015 Midwest League All-Star Game.

While the stadium itself is nice and offers many amenities such as a playground in center field, the 7,500-seat complex seems almost too big for the Braves.

4. Itchy Jones Stadium – SIU

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“The Itch” as it’s called by Saluki fans is the MVC’s most laid back stadium.

Between the Hill along the right field line where fans can enjoy their favorite alcoholic drinks and the pavilions on the third base side complete with tables to picnic on, fans and families alike can enjoy an SIU ballgame.

5. Eck Stadium – Wichita State

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Eck Stadium is not the most aesthetically pleasing on the outside, yet the 7,851 packed seats behind home plate create a close-knit atmosphere for Shocker fans.

Even if the fan experience isn’t the best, junior pitcher Chad Whitmer said he enjoys playing at Wichita because of Eck Stadium’s facilities.

“They’ve got a nice place there,” he said. “Big stands with a great field.”

6. Bob Warn Field at Sycamore Stadium – Indiana State

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While Indiana State fields a strong baseball team, its field itself is not as strong.

Recent renovations such as new seating, which boosted the capacity up to 1,000, and a larger press box have improved the home of the Sycamores, but the decision to install a FieldTurf infield and leaving a natural grass outfield creates a two-tone field that just doesn’t look good.

Despite this, the host of this year’s MVC tournament is pleasing to the players, giving it the nod over Illinois State’s stadium.

7. Duffy Bass Field – Illinois State

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The major downfall of Duffy Bass Field is the same as it is at Bob Warn Field: the turf infield, natural grass outfield combo.

Illinois State’s 1,200- seat stadium has also gone under recent renovations, including a crisp new scoreboard and concession stands which improve the fan experience.

8. Charles H. Braun Stadium – Evansville

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Both Hand and Whitmer deemed Evansville to have the worst stadium in the MVC. It’s not a terrible stadium by any means, but the no-frills experience that the Aces present at the 1,200-seat complex leaves a lot to be desired for their fans.

Thomas Donley and Sean Carley can be reached at [email protected] or at [email protected]

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