Avoid Pine Bluff For College Baseball Or Anything For That Matter

ToriiTorii Hunter may have had a vision when he donated 500,000 dollars to his home town of Pine Bluff, Arkansas, but I am not sure the result is what he dreamed about. Torii Hunter Complex, which holds home games for the University of Arkansas Pine Bluff Golden Lions baseball team, is located in a horribly underdeveloped neighborhood and holds zero atmosphere or payback for a visiting baseball fan. Located right next to a large college football stadium and parking lot, Delta Natural Kraft Field doesn’t have suitable parking, food, zero spirit and it also happens to smell like sewage and horse manure. Built and opened in 2011, the field seats 1,000 fans but comes nowhere near to filling the stands. It would be best to skip this complex and experience entirely. For a college field and location, it’s horribly rendered. Torii Hunter’s donation gave him the right to put his name on it but he definitely didn’t put any care into it and the name of the field comes from a local Kraft brown paper company. It’s a by the book result that’s got zero passion. Let’s dig into the details.

FOOD AND BEVERAGE

What food and beverage is more like it? Bring your own. There is one small stand where overcooked and dried up hot dogs can be purchased along with bagged chips and warm bottles of water. The major soda brand is Coca Cola but don’t expect them to be properly chilled. There is nothing good about a place that doesn’t look inspired to make you come back. Food options are remote. Most people I ran into brought their own things and didn’t like that food options were so dire.

Rating-1/5

ATMOSPHERE

Do you like hearing fans chirp the opposing dugout and have senseless shouting drown out the integrity and joy of watching a baseball game? If so, this place is all for you. The entire time I was there fans screamed at the dugouts and there was very little passion from the fans.

There were zero banners or jerseys on displayed. The scoreboard was standard and gave little information. The PA system blared loud music before each at bat but didn’t offer much else. This looked like a high school game instead of a college baseball setting.

The seating options were three sets of hard bleachers with not a lot of room to get comfortable and the thick netting made it hard to feel close to the game. You could stand along the railings but there were zero unique seating features.

Rating-1/5

NEIGHBORHOOD 

It is a terribly underdeveloped area. Farm house and large grains of fields surround the stadium and the smell is disgusting. There are no wide streets or parking spots for the complex. One narrow road is where cars park and when that fills up you have to pull down the street into the large and vacant football parking lot. If you looked down at the neighborhood from an airplane, you would tell the pilot to keep going or stop elsewhere.

There are two moderate hotels located 2 miles from the complex, but they aren’t desirable. There is no nothing close by and you don’t feel safe driving through the area. You won’t want to stay overnight.

Rating-1/5

FANS

The fans are loud but I wouldn’t necessarily call them passionate. Loud and louder are the key words for this group. There are a few passionate parents but they get drowned out by the kids shouting rude statements at the dugouts and it’s hard to enjoy that. The security guard was pretty relaxed and had no reason to tell the kids to take their feet off the ledge to the field as they were leaning off the bleachers near the playing surface. It looked like a child playground more than a civilized baseball location. There couldn’t have been more than 200 people in the stands that hold 1,000.

Rating-1/5

ACCESS

One road in and one road out. The road is narrow and not easy to make your trek down. I traveled down I-530 in from Little Rock and it’s right off University Rd and hard to miss. The ticketing table is right next to the one food option and it’s seven dollars for adults and three dollars for kids. There is one security guard and he is not active at all. The ticket is the same kind of ticket you would get at a professional baseball stadium.

Rating-1/5

RETURN ON INVESTMENT

There is zero return. You take your wife and kid to the game and you will easily spend 20-30 dollars on keeping the kid entertained, your stomach in painful condition and having sift through the loud heckler fans to soak up any enjoyment of watching a baseball game. The players are talented and the pitchers had some zip on their pitchers. The baseball diamond itself is nice but it isn’t like you can appreciate it for long.

Save money by bringing your own food and have some headphones to put on because the sound effects aren’t great.

Rating-0/5

EXTRAS

You can’t buy any shirts, and you don’t see any memorabilia. The tickets are okay but nothing to frame. Parking is horrible. There are no tours and there is no need for one either. The skyline of the fields and main road is all you get when looking around. There is an adjacent womens softball field but that is it.

Let’s put it this way. If someone tells you to check out Torii Hunter Baseball Complex, stop taking advice and tips from that person. There is nothing worth seeing or experiencing at this dump.

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Author: D. Buffa

A regular guy who feels a journalistic hunger to tell the news. I blog because its wired into my brain to write what I think in print. I offer an opinion. A solo tour here. Take regular stories and offer my spin on them. Sports, film, television, music, fatherhood, culture, food, and so on. Commentary on everything. A St. Louis native and Little Rock resident who wants to write just to keep the hands fresh and ready.

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