This year’s South Carolina Gamecocks baseball season didn’t work out the way Coach Chad Holbrook, his players, or the thousands of Gamecock fans may have wanted, but there are still some impressive accolades coming their way.
In a survey released earlier today, Carolina Stadium was ranked as the best college ballpark in America. Stadium Journey Magazine conducted the survey, gaining information from correspondents across the country, and reviewing 284 NCAA Division 1 ballparks.
Here is how they base their ratings for each venue, this excerpt was taken from their article in which they released the rankings.
“Stadium Journey uses the “FANFARE” system to provide an overall fan experience rating based on several important categories. These categories include F – Food & Beverage (concessions), A – Atmosphere, N – Neighborhood, F – Fans, A – Access, R – Return on Investment, and E – Extras. The combined average score is based on a five star system, where five is the highest rating possible. Be sure to click on each review below for an in-depth description of the ballpark’s rating.”
On their quick overview of Carolina Stadium they begin by saying, “Some people just do college baseball better,” and I can’t argue with that assessment. The ballpark opened on February 21, 2009 with a 13-0 drubbing of Duquesne. Since then the Gamecocks have compiled a 214-50 regular season record there, and outstanding 18-2 mark in the NCAA tournament.
As things would have it, the new stadium came just in time for the Gamecocks and then Coach Ray Tanner to breakout in a big way. Always a solid program, both in the SEC and Nationally, it took just two seasons in the new venue for South Carolina to finally reach the top of the mountain. As we all know, and celebrated, the Gamecocks won back to back titles in 2010 and 2011, those trophies are now on display to greet fans as they enter Carolina Stadium.
The fans themselves have also made their mark since the new ballpark was erected right alongside the river jsut as you entere downtown Columbia, finishing in the top 5 in average attendance each season since it was built. Other milestones include the 100th win at the ballpark over rival Clemson, 9-6, on March 3, 2012, and eclipsing the million fan mark on May 9, 2012 in a game with the instate Furman Paladins.
The Gamecocks topped the list of best college ballparks, but they were not alone in representing the SEC’s love for the sport. LSU and Mississippi State rounded out the top 3 on Stadium Journey’s list, with Arkansas landing a spot at number six.
Just like in football, the passion and resources are always in abundance when it comes to college baseball in the south. Meanwhile, Clemson’s Doug Kingsmore Stadium also made the list, coming in at number 10 in the rankings. So even when things are as good as we would like for our Gamecocks, there are still reasons to be proud. Hopefully we can raise the level of game played there next year, and once again fill the best stadium in America with fans, wins, and the postseason.