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  • Writer's picturePaul Baker

Brown Softball Field - Brown Bears


Photos by Paul Baker, Stadium Journey


Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 2.71


Brown Softball Field

235 Hope St.

Providence, RI



Year Opened: 2017

Capacity: 250


Brown Bears Softball

 

The Brown Bears softball team received a new stadium on the same site as their old field in time for the 2017 season. A group of donors led by Mark Attanasio, Brown class of 1979 alumnus and owner of the Milwaukee Brewers, provided $5 million in grants that were used to refurbish both the baseball and softball fields.

 

Those renovations featured the installation of synthetic turf at the stadium, sunken dugouts, a new backstop, expanded batting tunnels and bullpens, and a new and improved scoreboard and press box. In addition, new chairback seating was installed in the seating bowl.

 

Brown softball competes in the Ivy League, which has sponsored competition since 1980. During that time, the Bears have won five conference titles, three of them outright. Their most recent Ivy crown was won in 2004. Brown has qualified for one NCAA tournament, losing both of their games in the 1997 tourney.

 

Food & Beverage 1

 

On certain days throughout the Bears spring schedule, the Bruno Eats food truck is present at the Erickson Sports Complex. Operated by Brown Dining Services, it offers a rotating menu throughout the season. Visiting Bears fans may find a seclection of burgers, tacos, or other snacks available on a given weekend.


If you happen to visit Brown on a weekend when there is no food truck on site, fans are welcome to bring their own snacks to enjoy during the game. On chilly spring Rhode Island afternoons, it’s not unusual to see many fans enjoying warm beverages from the local Dunkin’ or Aroma Joe’s.

 

Atmosphere 2

 

The game day atmosphere at college softball games, at least in the northeast, is a bit more laid back than fans may be accustomed to, even by standards in this area. You shouldn’t expect an elaborate presentation with a lot of bells and whistles. Music is played over a decent sound system between innings and batters, but most of the noise here comes from the players on the field, who sing, chant, and encourage each other throughout the game. A simple scoreboard in left field displays basic game information. The PA announcer gives fans lineup information without being too over the top or intrusive. The fans, who are likely parents or friends of the players, make their own share of noise. It’s a simple experience, but a lot of fun.

 


 

Neighborhood 5  

 

The Brown Softball Field is a part of the Erickson Athletic Complex on the eastern edge of Brown’s urban campus. Located in Providence’s affluent East Side neighborhood, there is much to do in the immediate vicinity of the complex. Most of Brown’s athletic facilities are located here, including Meehan Auditorium, the Paul Bailey Pizzitola Sports Center, Stevenson-Pincince Field and Murray Stadium.  Brown Stadium is located about a mile away.

 

Just a couple of blocks from the Athletic Complex is Thayer Street, Brown’s main street and the East Side’s main commercial drag. Numerous cafes, restaurants and shops can be found here, including Brown’s bookstore and the Avon Cinema, which dates back to the early 20th century.

 

Other notable areas in the East Side a short walk or drive from Brown University are Hope Street, Wayland Square and Wickenden Street. All have their own bohemian vibes and feature great local restaurants, shops and bars. Of course, downtown Providence is located just at the bottom of College Hill about a mile away from campus. If you’re visiting Providence from elsewhere, this is likely where you will find lodging options in addition to numerous additional dining choices.

 

Providence has a well-deserved reputation as one of the finest small cities in the country for foodies. Visitors to the area will find more than enough choices to satisfy even the most adventurous of palates. If staying in Providence isn’t appealing enough, Boston is an hour’s drive to the north, with the mansions and beaches of Newport about 45 minutes south.

 

Fans 2

 

The fans at Brown softball games can be described as a “friends and family” type of crowd. Attendance at Bears games generally ranges between 50-100 fans per game. With a multitude of events going on simultaneously at the sports complex on spring weekends, it’s not unusual to see fans roam from game to game over the course of the afternoon.

 

Most of the fans at the Brown Softball Field have a personal connection to the players on the field and are very enthusiastic in their support of the Bears. With Brown playing a schedule loaded with local teams, it’s not unusual to see a solid turnout from supporters of the visiting nine.

 


Access 3  

 

The Brown Softball Field is located in Brown University’s athletic complex on the East Side of Providence. While the Brown University campus is located near both Interstate 95 and 195, there is no direct way to get to or from campus. If driving, one must navigate a maze of neighborhood streets before arriving at the facility. If attending a game during a weekday, Providence can be a tough city in which to get around. The 2024 closure of the Washington Bridge, the main way to access Providence from all points on the East Bay, has only made getting into the city more difficult.

 

Several RIPTA buses run regularly to nearby Thayer Street, and the Brown campus is just a short distance from Brown Softball Field. Check the RIPTA website for schedules, fares and route maps.

 

Parking is available for Brown softball at no charge in any of several small lots shared by the university’s athletic venues. A map to these lots can be found here. Fans unable to find a spot in the lots will find free on-street parking in the streets around the stadium. Finding an available spot is usually not too hard to do on weekends. Patient visitors should be able to find spots within easy walking distance of the ballpark.

 

The Brown Softball Field is located in a remote corner of the Erickson complex, beyond Murray Stadium. The small grandstand contains some individual folding stadium seats directly behind home plate, with metal bleachers with backs further down the lines. There are no permanent rest room facilities at Brown Softball Field. Fans will have to make do with a pair of port-a-johns located beyond the outfield fence.

 

Return on Investment 5

 

There is no charge to attend a Brown softball game. Fans are welcome to bring in their own refreshments, and parking is free in the Erickson Complex parking lot or on the streets in the area. Going to a Brown Bears softball game will not cost you a cent.


 

Extras 1

                                                                                                           

Bears Ivy League championships and tournament appearances are posted on the outfield fence.

 

Final Thoughts

 

College softball in the northeast may be somewhat of an afterthought in the crowded spring sports scene, but an afternoon spent at a Brown softball game is an enjoyable and affordable way for local sports fans to spend a beautiful spring Rhode Island day.

 

Fans planning to visit Providence should keep in mind that the college softball season takes place mostly during the months of March and April, when the weather in New England can be fickle and unpredictable. Postponements and schedule changes are common occurrences. It’s best to make your plans flexible if possible.

 

Follow Paul Baker’s stadium journeys on Twitter and Instagram @PuckmanRI.

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