Nielsen Field at CSU Ballpark – Charleston Southern Buccaneers
The Bucs Stop Here
Charleston Southern University is a Baptist affiliated school located in North Charleston, South Carolina. It is a relatively young school, as it was founded in 1964. Today it has grown to an enrollment of 3,459 students on its 300-acre campus.
The sports teams at Charleston Southern are known as the Buccaneers and participate in the Big South Conference. The home field for the Buccaneers baseball program is the on-campus Nielsen Field at CSU Ballpark. The stadium is located at the southeastern end of the Charleston Southern campus, with a nicely landscaped entrance into the park and a wooded area beyond the outfield wall. The grandstand consists of primarily aluminum bench seating, with two rows of premium seat back seats behind the backstop. It is a simple, yet charming place to watch a ballgame. The seating area is very close to the field, providing excellent views of the action. The only other elements to the stadium for fans are the restrooms, a single concession stand and a ticket booth.
Food & Beverage 2
CSU Ballpark has a single concession stand located down the first baseline just beyond the home team dugout. It is housed in a cottage style building which helps to keep the food temperature controlled. There are picnic tables arranged along the first base plaza where you can enjoy your purchases without worrying about spilling them in your lap in the bleachers.
The Bucs offer a good selection of traditional baseball foods to choose from. The menu includes burgers ($4), hot dogs ($3), pretzels ($3), corn dogs ($2.50), pizza ($2), peanuts ($2), candy ($1), pickles ($1) and chips ($1). Beverages include Pepsi brand sodas ($2), bottled water ($2) and Gatorade ($2).
The Bus ballpark offers a pleasant way to spend a spring afternoon watching America’s game. The baseball complex at CSU sports the cream and navy colors of the school on its press box building, the dugouts, the concession building and the baseball building. The school has kept the stadium advertising free, so the backstop and the outfield walls bear only the crossed swords logo of the Buccaneers. The scoreboard is located in left field and provides you with just the basics with no video board. The field is kept in immaculate condition, with a forest of pines providing the backdrop beyond the outfield walls.
Most of the seating at CSU Ballpark consists of aluminum bleachers directly behind the plate with an additional set of bleachers available to the visiting team between home plate and the dugout. Early arrivers and season ticket holders are entitled to some premium seating located just behind the backstop wall and the netting. On the first base side these seat backs are two rows deep and as they go immediately behind the plate towards the visitor’s side, they return to one row deep. Truthfully there is not a bad seat in the house, as the bleachers are very close to the action.
CSU has kept the game as the central focus, with no “official song “ for each batter as they come to the plate. It is simply baseball the way it used to be played.
Charleston Southern University is located in a somewhat isolated area away from the city of North Charleston. However, with its easy access to I-26, you can be in the city center or downtown Charleston in a matter of minutes.
Two restaurants that locals recommend close to the school are Smokey Bones Bar and Grill and Willie Jewells Old School BBQ, which is famous for its Low Country style of BBQ. As far as accommodations, you can’t get any closer to the school than the Wingate by Wyndham Hotel located next door to the university. You can leave your car at the hotel and just walk to the stadium. The Hampton Inn is also located in the vicinity of the university.
The greater Charleston area is known for its beautiful plantation homes along both the Ashley and Cooper Rivers. Middleton Place is by far the most visited of the homes along the Ashley River. In addition to the beautiful home, it offers beautiful formal gardens and terrific views of the river unspoiled by any development. If you have kids with you, you’ll want to include a visit to the North Charleston Fire Museum. It offers a large collection of vintage fire engines and other fire fighting apparatus dating back to the last century.
The city of Charleston with its myriad sightseeing options is just over a half hour away from the Charleston Southern campus. Fort Sumter, the Battery, the South Carolina Aquarium are just some of the sites you will want to visit. Lodging in the North Charleston area is much cheaper than the hotels in downtown Charleston.
The fan base at CSU baseball games consists primarily of parents of the players and their friends and classmates. The field is a short stroll from most of the dorms and residence halls on the campus, so getting to the game is no problem. Most of the players on the CSU squad are from the Palmetto State, so it is a short drive for many of the parents to get to the games. Many of the schools the Bucs play also carry a large number of South Carolina-bred players and often a game will feature high school classmates battling it out for their respective colleges.
Because CSU is a church-based school, you will not hear a lot of trash talk from the players or the people in the stands.
Charleston Southern University and the CSU Ballpark are easily accessed via I-26 at exit 205. The school is located directly off the interstate. The baseball field is located at the rear of the campus and offers ample free parking.
The stadium is very compact and is built at field level so persons with mobility issues should have no difficulty in negotiating the seating area. In addition to the bleachers there is a broad plaza where people can sit at picnic tables or even bring their lawn chairs if that makes them comfortable.
Return on Investment 4
All tickets for CSU baseball are considered general admission except for a few of the seat backs that are reserved for season ticket holders. Parking is free and abundant just outside of the stadium. Lodging in the North Charleston area is much cheaper (under $100/night) than hotels in downtown Charleston, which is just a 30-minute drive away. The concession prices at CSU Ballpark are quite reasonable and feature the same types of foods that are located in proximity to the campus.
CSU Ballpark is pet friendly, which is a nice touch for travelers from outside of the Charleston area.
There is a small grove of nine palm trees planted just in front of the Baseball Complex Building. These trees are a memorial to the nine church members who perished in the Mother Emanuel AME Church shootings in Charleston. One of the victims was the mother of a CSU baseball player. The memorial is designed to remind people that the way to handle these situations is to show love and forgiveness rather than lashing out in violence.
CSU sees its mission as one of teaching, serving the community and developing leaders. It offers a very competitive athletic program with several teams winning league or higher championships. However, it succeeds without many of the bells and whistles employed from the larger schools. It is simply the Charleston Southern Way… and that is refreshing these days.
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You probably aren’t coming to Buccaneer Ballpark for an elite baseball experience, and it’s not going to rate as one, either. But don’t be scared away by the small school and unheralded team. There’s a lot to be said for the purity of being this close to the diamond with a local feel that makes parks like this across the country good for the soul.