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March 9 - At The Ballpark: Foley Field, Athens, GA

The University of Georgia is an institution of great history and stature both here in the southern United
States and nationwide.  Founded in 1785, UGA has produced a number of memorable performances
on the athletic fields, including multiple College World Series appearances.  How did my first review
of a college stadium go?   Let’s find out.

Concessions: B-
The selections at Foley Field are plentiful, and they feature both the ballpark standards and a few
things you are less likely to find at a game.  They also have Coke Zero as one of their soda
selections, which is a very welcome sight.  However, the prices are much less reasonable than one
would expect at a college game ($4 for a large soda, $6.25 for pizza, etc.), and professional prices
should not be charged at an amateur venue.

Between-innings entertainment: C
The entertainment was fairly pedestrian, which is to be expected at a college game.  The music
selection between innings was pretty good, and even involved the fans with a jukebox-type
promotion.  This allowed fans to vote on which song they wanted to hear between innings.  There
were also several giveaways (t-shirts, etc.) between innings.

Sight lines:  B
Foley Field is surrounded mainly by campus buildings and athletic facilities.  There is a residential
street behind home plate and the first base line that features a hill from which fans can watch the
game.  There were several fans sitting outside a house above the right field line.  There are no
outfield seats, so any outfield views have to come from the top rows of the athletic facilities behind the
outfield walls.  Some of the seats in the top of the general admission section on the third base side
are obscured by a pillar, which creates a bit of a hassle.  Also, the concourses are completely
enclosed, with no views of the game action.

Promotions: B
Again, with this an amateur game, promotions were not as prevalent as one would see at a
professional game.  There were several lucky number program selections that earned fans $10 gift
cards or other small gifts from local merchants.  

Parking: F
There are almost no “official” parking places near the stadium for fans.  There was also a basketball
game at nearby Stegeman Coliseum while this game was taking place, making parking (and the
traversal of campus) that much more difficult.  I had to park on a surface street nearly a mile from the
stadium.  A number of the parking facilities on the campus are listed as permit only, which creates an
added headache.

Player accessibility: A
I arrived at the game after the pregame activities, so I cannot comment on these; however, the players
seemed rather accommodating after the game, particularly to the kids who sought autographs.  This
is the easiest way to foster goodwill with the community, and requires no money and very little time.

Quality of baseball: A
It has been a decade or so since last I saw a college game, but I was particularly impressed with the
way Purdue played the game.  They are a very well-skilled team, doing the small things like backing
up throws, getting bunts down and moving runners along.  Georgia also played rather well.  Their
freshman outfielder Matt Cerione will be a really good one in short order.  All three games in the
weekend series were shutouts, which is rare.  Georgia won 9-0 in the Friday game, then split a
Saturday doubleheader, losing 5-0 and winning 2-0.

Overall grade: C
Foley Field is a place I really wanted to like, as it is a beautiful facility and has a lot around it to offer.  
However, the parking and concession situations make it really unfriendly for families, which should
be the main focus of this stadium.  The park has very large dimensions (350 feet to every part of the
stadium except the right-field wall, which is 314) and some nice trappings like a video board and
chair-backed general admission seats.  One other comment – charging the same price for reserved
seats that you do for general admission ($6) is ludicrous, and does not happen in any other facilities
to which I have paid a visit.

How to get there:
Foley Field is in the center of campus at the University of Georgia in Athens.  Athens is located about
an hour northeast of Atlanta via Georgia 316.  Take I-85 north to exit 106 (GA 316) and follow the signs
to the University of Georgia campus.  The stadium is near Stegeman Coliseum and the visitors'
center.

You may also want to see:
--Atlanta:  As mentioned above, Atlanta is a mere hour from Athens, and features one of the largest
metropolitan areas in the southeast United States.  There are attractions such as Zoo Atlanta, the
Georgia Aquarium and Turner Field, among others, in this city that serves as Georgia's epicenter.  
Downtown Atlanta is served via interstates 75, 85 and 20, the Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport
and the MARTA system of trains and buses.