Foley Field - Georgia Bulldogs
Photos by Lloyd Brown, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 4.43
Foley Field 1 Rutherford St Athens, GA 30601
Year Opened: 1966 Capacity: 3,291
The Home of the Diamond Dawgs
The University of Georgia is one of the oldest chartered universities in the country as it dates back to 1785. The flagship of the Georgia University System has an enrollment of nearly 55,000 students. Unlike many college towns, there is no tension between the town and the gown sides here. The only thing dividing the university and the city is Broad Street
The baseball program at the university also has a long history as it was the initial team sport offered by the school. Baseball has been played at various locations on the campus since 1886. Foley Field opened in 1966 but went through a year-long rebuild in 1990. Over the years the Bulldogs have won 6 SEC Championships and one National Championship (1990). They have captured countless regional and super regional titles over the years.
Foley Field has gone through countless renovations since 1990. The goal of each renovation was to improve the playing surfaces for athlete safety and performance, while also improving the experience for the spectators in any way possible. The most recent renovation was completed in 2015, leaving the stadium with a seating capacity of 2,780. While Foley Field may not have the massive seating capacity of some of its SEC brethren, it makes up for it in a quality experience that is the envy of its peers.
Food & Beverage 4
Food and beverages are available at one large central concession area located on the concourse behind home plate. The list of items available is quite extensive. It includes chicken sandwiches ($6), hot dogs ($4), cheeseburgers ($6), BBQ sandwiches ($7), pretzels ($5), nachos ($5) popcorn ($4), peanuts ($4), candy ($3), sunflower seeds ($4) and funnel cakes ($5).
Coca-Cola beverages are sold at all UGA games. Sodas are $4, while Powerade and water are available for $3. Alcoholic beverages are not available at Foley Field.
Since the concourse is closed off from the field, numerous video monitors line the area so no one misses any of the action.
The University of Georgia’s more than a century’s worth of experience in baseball shows in the excellent atmosphere at Bulldog home games. Foley Field focuses on making the best possible fan experience possible. From the moment you enter the stadium you can see how well designed it is. All seats are elevated above the field, assuring a good view no matter where your tickets are. The seating in the stadium is all chair backs, making a three hour game much more comfortable to enjoy. A new HD scoreboard was included in the 2013 renovations to the stadium, providing crystal clear images of replays. The field is aligned so that fans will be facing into the sun the minimal time in the day possible. A roof extends out over part of the stands to provide additional shade during the hot Georgia afternoons.
The baseball program adds some very traditional touches that add to the game day atmosphere. Free programs are made available at each game. An organist plays familiar baseball tunes during breaks in the action and there are games or giveaways between innings. Special activities include autograph days once a month, Sunday Afternoon Catch in the outfield after the games, Kids Run the Bases, also on Sunday afternoons and Request A Song, done free of charge by the ballpark organist.
Athens ranks very high on nearly every type of list entitled “Best College Town.” In addition to the highly recognized academics at the university, the town is known as a music mecca. Bands including REM, The B-52’s and Widespread Panic all got their start in the Classic City. The culinary scene in Athens is also widely recognized through restaurants including Five and Ten and the legendary Varsity. Craft breweries are also going strong in the area. The nightlife is very vibrant, offering live performances at venues such as the Georgia Theatre and the 40 Watt Club.
The city has also become a retirement mecca due to its proximity to the Northeast Georgia mountains, the low cost of living and the cultural offerings at the university. Athens also has 15 neighborhoods on the National Register of Historic Places.
The home field advantage is huge for the Diamond Dawgs. Foley Field hosted the NCAA Regionals in 2001, 2004, 2006 and 2008…. and the Bulldogs won all four. Super Regionals were held at Foley in in 2001,2006 and 2008…and the Bulldogs won all three. The Bulldogs are a perfect 16-0 in playoff elimination games at home.
Fan support not only comes from the student body, but Athens townspeople, alumni and high schools in the area. The stands are a sea of black and Glory, Glory to Ole Georgia is played after each run is scored. There is usually a contingent from the UGA Redcoat Band present as is Hairy Dawg, the second most famous dog on campus (English Bulldogs like UGA do not handle extreme heat well physically). Many a woof, woof, woof has been known to unnerve a visiting pitcher.
Getting in and around Foley Field is extremely easy. There are five points of entry, assuring no backups before or after the game. The external concourse is extremely wide, with multiple portals leading to the seating area. Restrooms are well laid out and are big enough to handle the typical crowds for Dawgs home games. The concession stand and team store are tucked into the concourse rather than jutting out and interfering with the flow of fans. The seating area is also well designed with a wide inner concourse allowing for quick movement around the seating bowl.
Parking is available in the S-14 lot for all games after 4pm or on weekends. This lot is located directly behind the left field wall. On dates where there are multiple events taking place at the university, the Carlton Street Parking Deck is made available. It offers five stories of parking and golf carts are made available to shuttle you over to the stadium.
Return on Investment 5
A night or afternoon out at Foley Field does not have to be expensive. Tickets cost $8, and the concessions are very reasonably priced. Depending on the time of the game, adjacent parking is either free or $5. at the most. Athens hotels are very reasonably priced except for “move in/move out” weeks or football weekends. Fans from the Atlanta area can commute to Athens for a weekend game in just over an hour and skip the lodging expense entirely.
UGA is one of the few college baseball programs to employ a ballpark organist. He is also the organist for SunTrust Park, home of the Atlanta Braves.
UGA has sent 38 baseball alums on to major league baseball. Kyle Farmer, Josh Fields and Alex Woods all played major roles in the Dodgers run to the 2017 World Series. The other current major leaguer is Gordon Beckham of the Seattle Mariners.
Foley Field is located on the very edge of the UGA campus and is adjacent to a residential neighborhood. To show their appreciation to the neighbors the athletic department has erected a terraced seating area behind the right field wall where the neighbors can enjoy the games free of charge.
A visit to the home of the Diamond Dawgs should be included in any Athens itinerary. As the original sport played on the university campus, baseball has a long and glorious spot on UGA’s fabled athletics history.