Darryl & Lori Schroeder Park – Houston Cougars
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Welcome to the Cougars Den
The University of Houston has fielded a college baseball program since 1947 – in the years since the Cougars first took the field, the squad has made the NCAA Tournament an astounding 16 times, has made the College World Series twice, and in 1967 were the runners up. They have sent dozens of players to the big leagues, with the most prominent arguably being former Cy Young Award winner Doug Drabek.
The Houston Cougars baseball team first took the field at Darryl & Lori Schroeder Park, located on campus, in 1995. Originally called Cougar Field, the University implemented a multimillion dollar upgrade, which began in 2013 and culminated in the installation of a new field-turf surface, video board, and clubhouse.
Darryl & Lori Schroeder Park was home to the 1999, 2000, and 2015 NCAA Regional, as well as the 2000 NCAA Super Regional. Over the years the stadium has earned a reputation for being a gem in the American Athletic Conference, and is considered one of the great baseball venues in Space City.
Food & Beverage 3
When people attend a baseball game, there are certain expectations they have when it comes to the grub; this is ingrained in the cultural psyche – hot dogs, peanuts, Cracker Jack, etc. Games at Darryl & Lori Schroeder Park cover those metaphorical bases and then take it up a notch – the stadium has two main concessions stands near located along the baselines. These stands offer your traditional game fare as well as cheeseburgers and potato wedges ($6), bottomless buckets of popcorn ($8), and nachos ($5.75).
For most home games, a food truck can be found near the main entrance – this is a great bonus for fans looking to break away from the norm. In a similar vein, there is a Chick-fil-A stand on the grassy area outside the seating area along the first baseline – this stand offers a pared down menu from the chain, including their popular regular and spicy chicken sandwiches, waffle-cut chips, iced tea, and lemonade.
Directly adjacent to the Chick-fil-A stand is one for Karbach Brewing Company – this local craft brewery is rapidly gaining a reputation as one of the state’s best, and its stand sells drafts by the cup of some of its most popular selections. So while Darryl & Lori Schroeder Park doesn’t have everything under the sun in terms concession items, I think you’ll find enough to satisfy your appetite, and get the most out of your Cougars baseball experience.
Baseball is a game that is deeply tied to its past – the generational aspect of the game is part of its charm, as the experience is one that parents can pass on to their children. And from the moment you step through the gates at Darryl & Lori Schroeder Park, you understand you are entering a place where baseball matters. On the walls adorning the exterior of the field are the names and pictures of the all-time great Houston Cougars. Banners also adorn the outfield walls highlighting the accomplishments of the school over the years, and this history ties fans to the team – this connection is one that is immediately felt.
Another great aspect of baseball is how it embraces individualism, and this quality is almost always displayed in the parks and fields the game calls home. Most facilities have some built-in features that promote this individualism, and at Darryl & Lori Schroeder Park, it is the hillside seating along the foul lines. These general admissions areas are great vantage points from which to catch the action, and possibly catch a coveted foul ball.
Being the fourth largest city in the United States means that Houston has a lot to offer its visitors. For first-time visitors, enjoying a visit to Houston and a Cougars baseball game will involve some planning, as there is a tremendous amount here to see and do.
One recommendation is to visit the reason that Houston has earned the moniker of Space City. Just on the outskirts of town lies Space Center Houston, one of the main hubs for NASA – few places can match the history and sheer coolness factor of the place where the line “Houston, we have a problem” was born. Tours are outstanding, and there are tons of hands-on experiences for kids.
If you are looking for something outside of the box to visit, head over to Lucky Land. This two-acre site highlights all the beauty and wonder of Asia by combining historical artifacts (like a replica of the famed terracotta warriors of China) with irreverent displays like the Panda Village and Happy Buddhas display.
When it comes to food in Houston, there are figuratively countless options for you to choose from, and many are within shouting distance of Darryl & Lori Schroeder Park. A couple of great choices include Chief’s Cajun Snack Shack and Alfreda’s Soul Food Café – Chief’s is considered one of the best hamburger joints in the city, and Alfreda’s offers some classic Southern-style comfort food. You can’t go wrong with either.
There are dozens of hotel options near the University of Houston. Options, as always with a big city like Houston, range from as high-end or low-end of a hotel as your budget allows. Some options near Darryl & Lori Schroeder Park include Club Quarters Hotel Houston and the Hilton University of Houston.
Last season, the Houston Cougars set a new attendance record at Darryl & Lori Schroeder Park, and have consistently been one of the best draws in the American Athletic Conference. In the (free) parking areas surrounding the field, you will see fans tailgating while decked out in their red and white gear. And if it is a big conference game, you can expect an even larger and even more raucous crowd.
Regardless of the crowd size on the day you come, this is very good fan base that is passionate about their school and about their baseball team. The stadium has a great mix of students and alums, including many families – kids and baseball go hand-in-hand, and having the kids here greatly enhances the overall gameday experience.
The University of Houston and Darryl & Lori Schroeder Park is located in the city’s historic Third Ward, which is easily accessible by traveling on Interstate 45. Signs clearly show the way to the stadium, and there is ample free parking surrounding it.
Houston is a major hub for airline travel, and both George Bush Intercontinental Airport and William P. Hobby Airport are popular for travelers. You can get to the University of Houston campus from either of these airports in less than 30 minutes, with one significant caveat: as is the case with everything regarding the city of Houston, traffic needs to be factored in – the highways that loop the city tend to get congested, especially on the weekends when many Cougars baseball games take place.
Return on Investment 2
Ticket prices for Cougars baseball games at Darryl & Lori Schroeder Park are extremely reasonable – general admission seating can be had for as little as $3 for some games. This is an incredible bargain for a school and team that annually faces some of the best out of conference competition in the nation, and one that has some of the best on-the-field talent in the country.
If you factor in the favorable concessions prices and the free parking, a person, group, or family can really get a bargain when they attend games at Darryl & Lori Schroeder Park.
While Cougars games take care of the regular accouterments of a traditional baseball game – the sights, smells, and sounds of the game are all there in spades – there is really very little in terms of “extras”.
However, the experience still offers things like the always entertaining player walk-up songs, as well as the frequent contests in-between innings. While there is nothing flashy going on, games here do feature one of the great traditions of the game of baseball – fans are invited to get up and sing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” during the seventh-inning stretch.
If you’re a fan of baseball, I think it would be hard for you to find a venue that you didn’t enjoy. However, I think even the most casual of fans would be able to find and highly enjoy the charm of a game at Darryl and Lori Schroeder Park – it is an ideal venue for college baseball. If you’re in Houston during the season, make sure you stop by for a visit.
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Food and Drink Recommendations
Chief’s Cajun Snack Shack
4605 W Orem Dr
Houston, Texas 77045
Hilton – University of Houston
4800 Calhoun Rd
Houston, TX 77004
Club Quarters Hotel in Houston
1051 Rusk St
Houston, TX 77002
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