Hoglund Ballpark – Kansas Jayhawks
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Jayhawks of a Feather Flock Together
The University of Kansas has one of the oldest college baseball teams in existence, as the program began in 1880. During that period of time the baseball Jayhawks have been to one College World Series, taken part in five NCAA Tournaments, and won two conference championships. They presently play in the Big Twelve Conference. Some of the most famous baseball alumni are Andy Van Slyke, Terry Sutcliffe, and Bob Allison.
Since 1987, Hoglund Ballpark has served as the home field for the Jayhawks. With a seating capacity of 2,500, it is one of the finest parks in the Big 12 Conference. The field has an AstroTurf 3D playing surface and dimensions of 330 down the foul lines and 400 to dead center. It has gone through numerous renovations over the years, with the most recent taking place in 2014. These renovations included new padding for the outfield walls and backstop, a rebuilt pitcher’s mound and totally reconstructed bullpens for both the home and visiting teams. It has a very prestigious neighbor on the KU campus, the fabled Allen Fieldhouse, home of the University of Kansas basketball program.
Food & Beverage 3
Hoglund Ballpark has several concession stands, so you will not encounter any lines in between innings, or before/after a game. Unfortunately, the location of the stands does not allow a view of the field as they are beneath the bleachers. There are a wide variety of items, but they are somewhat pricier than usually found in other college ballparks.
Bottled water and sodas are $4.50, brats are $6, cheeseburgers are $6.50, pretzels are $5, and peanuts, hot dogs and nachos are all priced at $4.50. One option you might want to try is tailgating in the large parking lot across the street from the ballpark which is free and open to the public for weekend games only. A number of people actually bring barbecue grills on trailers and cook for large groups of their friends.
The Jayhawks do a great job in promoting a fun and interactive atmosphere at their games. They offer a picnic area where families can celebrate birthdays, hold little league team functions and other celebrations. There is also a children’s play area within the stadium if the kids get restless. In between innings there are usually zany sports competitions involving the fans which are very entertaining.
At the beginning of the game, each Jayhawk starter is “shadowed” by a youngster to their position, where they remain until the National Anthem has been played.
The Jayhawk mascot circulates through the crowd for the entire game, which is unusual as many mascots appear for short skits then disappear for a few innings or perform on field only. This bird of a different feather really interacts with the fans, which brings a thrill and a smile to a youngster’s face.
Almost every home game features some type of giveaway (it was a very nice baseball cap the day I attended) to all the fans. It is truly a fun way to spend your day at Hoglund Ballpark.
Hoglund Ballpark is an on campus facility at the main University of Kansas site in Lawrence, Kansas. The school has a student population of more than 27,000 and opened in 1865. It is one of the most highly rated public universities in the country (U.S. News and World Report) and is in the top ten schools in the country for NIH grants and contracts for pharmaceutical research.
Surrounding the campus is the city of Lawrence, with a population of more than 90,000 citizens. The university dominates the town both economically and geographically. It is the largest employer in the city and the campus is built on the highest spot, “Mount Oread,” in the city. The academic buildings are visible for miles before you arrive in the city. A majority of the restaurant and entertainment offerings in Lawrence are clustered along Massachusetts Street, one of the city’s main thoroughfares. Dining establishments that are unique to the area include the Free State Brewing Company, Merchants Pub and Plate, the Jayhawker, and PepperJax Grill among many others.
Lawrence is also known for a thriving indie music and art scene. The Replay Lounge is noted as one of the top ten bars and music venues in the country by Esquire magazine. Other entertainment venues to check out are The Granada, the Sandbar and the Liberty Hall Theatre. A unique lodging choice would be the Oread Hotel, as it is on the KU campus and provides “rooms with a view” of the Jayhawk nation below. Less pricey selections are the Baymont Suites, The Eldridge and the Hampton Inn – University.
Basketball still rules the roost for the Jayhawk fan base, but baseball enjoys a very loyal, although smaller following. Expect to hear some unique language (nothing dirty!) such as “Rock Chalk Jayhawk” come from the feathered faithful as one of many cheers you will hear during a game. The Jayhawk fans are very friendly and will be glad to share the story of this cheer with you. Expect to see lots of bright blue and red outfits and lots of bird paraphernalia on the heads of many of the fans. The baseball games have a very high percentage of students attending, as the stadium is within easy walking distance of both the dorms and fraternity/sorority row.
Lawrence is located just 41 miles west of Kansas City via I-70. Once in the city limits, there are two public transportation options available. Lawrence Transit services the downtown areas, while KU on Wheels handles on campus boarding sites. Both systems are free of charge to faculty, students and staff. There is a nominal fee for visitors to utilize these services.
Parking access for Hoglund Ballpark on campus is limited on weekdays, so there are two viable options. You can park in the park/ride lot at Clinton and Crestline and take the free shuttle directly to the park. Or you can park in the large parking lot outside the Lied Performing Arts Center and take a leisurely 15 minute walk over to the field. On weekends, the lot across from the ballpark (marked Student Recreation Center) is free and open for the fans.
Return on Investment 4
Tickets are a flat fee of $8 for general admission. Season ticket holders are seated in the lower level of the concourse and have seatback seating, while anything above the concourse level is considered general admission and features aluminum bleacher seating. Parking in the above mentioned areas is free, but the concessions are a little pricey. The Jayhawk bookstore has a trailer filled with team merchandise parked immediately outside the main gate of the ballpark. If you plan to tailgate, a trip to a Jayhawks baseball game can be very affordable. You also get your money’s worth from all the interactive activities during the game.
Lawrence is a town with plenty to offer in the way of restaurants, culture, sports and entertainment. There are some extras you might want to consider that are within walking distance. Next to Hoglund Ballpark is the Allen Fieldhouse, home of the storied Jayhawk basketball program. Within the Fieldhouse, the Booth Athletic Hall of Fame is a fascinating look at greats from all the Jayhawk sports teams, not just basketball. If you make the climb up Mt Oread to the academic campus you will be rewarded with a visit to the Kansas University Natural History Museum, one of the largest of its kind in the country. The view from atop Mt Oread also affords you with some great vistas of the town of Lawrence, Memorial Stadium and the areas surrounding the campus.
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Food and Drink Recommendations
Free State Brewing Company
636 Massachusetts St
Lawrence, KS 66044
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