Rating the Sun Belt Ball Parks – #7 -From the Bird’s Nest
#7 WARHAWK FIELD—ULM
THE GOOD--When they built the park, they raised the grandstand, which enabled them to have clubhouses for both teams adjacent to the dugouts. They’ve added a new scoreboard with a small video board. They’ve also added a barbecue area down the left field line where fans can park and semi-tailgate during the game. Those guys can get a little carried away at times, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The park was recently repainted, adding a bit of a facelift. They’ve done some remodeling in the press facility and now there are separate booths for radio and the PA guys. Definitely a hitter’s park if you’re into that sort of thing. Dimensions are small and the wind frequently blows out. The raised grandstand gives a very good vantage point for the fans. There are banners around the concourse honoring the All-Americans.
THE BAD—There’s so much more that needs to be done. Chairback seating is a must here. And, bench back seating for the rest of the grandstand as well. While adequate, some of the media has to be housed outside as evidenced by the last time ULM hosted the conference tournament and, with television becoming a big part of sports in the Sun Belt, a new press facility probably needs to happen sooner rather than later. The concession areas are small and there aren’t a lot of choices there. The aforementioned clubhouses need upgrading. While the raised grandstand is good, it’s a pretty good trek to get up those ramps. And, if you’re in the media, there’s a really steep staircase once you get up the ramps, which is fine. Unless you’re old. Like me.
ANALYSIS—When built in 1983, the ball park was better than any collegiate facility not located in Baton Rouge. But until recently, they’ve just let it sit there. The coat of paint helped, but they really need to sink some money into this place. Still, this is a better than average facility and when the team is playing well, attendance isn’t bad at all. They are in the same situation as the park in Arlington. But they’ve got more to work with here. It wouldn’t take a ton of money to move this park into the top five in the league.