- David Welch
Georgia State Baseball Complex – Georgia State Panthers
Photos by David Welch, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 2.86
Georgia State Baseball Complex
2819 Clifton Springs Rd
Decatur, GA 30034
Georgia State Panthers website
Georgia State Baseball Complex website
Year Opened: 1986
Georgia State Baseball Complex – Georgia State Panthers
In what might be the perfect pairing of neighborhood and university nickname, the Georgia State Panthers baseball program has called the Panthersville neighborhood of Atlanta, more precisely Decatur, home since 1986, when it opened the Georgia State Baseball Complex. Unfortunately, there is no connection between the neighborhood and the GSU mascot.
Members of the Sun Belt Conference, the Panthers rank toward the middle of the conference when it comes to attendance per game. The Georgia State baseball facility itself does not lend to large crowds given its size, but the four to five hundred fans per game does create a cozy evening of baseball.
Food & Beverage 3
There is not a vast selection of concessions, but there is just enough that it could be considered a variety. Fans can choose from hot dogs or sausages, or hamburgers or cheeseburgers, as a main entrée. Side items include fries and chips. Of course, with it being Atlanta Coke products abound, along with PowerAde and bottled water. Items are well priced and will not put a major dent in the wallet.
The Georgia State Baseball Complex is a rather simplistic, yet charming facility. Fans in their tailgate chairs and oak trees lining each side of the field creates a feel of a throwback-to-youth baseball days, when trees almost lining the field was more commonplace than a rarity.
The grandstand is made up of roughly ten rows of aluminum bleachers, with a pair of half bleachers on the visitors side of the field. The home side consists of a handful of picnic tables that are shaded by the surrounding trees. Most fans choose to bring their own tailgate chairs to sit in along the left field line or around the backstop.
Georgia State’s royal blue is featured prominently throughout the field – from the blue cinderblock backstop to the blue outfield wall, there’s no mistaking the colors of the GSU Panthers. The outfield wall was reportedly salvaged from the former Fulton County Stadium to be repurposed for the Panthers.
Due to the woods that run behind the field, the fence is a hodgepodge of distances running 330’-375’-385’-360’-335’ from left field around to right. The short center field wall is made a bit more challenging with an outfield fence that is close to fifteen feet high.
The Georgia State Baseball Complex is in the Decatur neighborhood of Panthersville; the stadium itself is in a partially wooded, residential area, and is neighbored by the local school district’s bus depot and football stadium. While the Georgia State Baseball Complex is directly behind its Dekalb campus, the field is 10 miles from Georgia State’s main campus. Along with the Dekalb County football stadium and bus depot, the field is neighbored by several warehouses and the Dekalb Regional Youth Detention Center. To say the least, the area does not give off a lot of warm and fuzzy vibes.
When it comes to amenities in the immediate area, the choices are a bit limited. There are a handful of restaurants, both chain and local, but when it comes to accommodations or points of interest there are not many options. The best bet would be to head to Atlanta or to Decatur town center; the latter is just under seven miles to the north.
Considering the distance the field is from Georgia State’s campus, and the university’s modest number of on-campus residents, Georgia State baseball draws decently well relative to its size of enrollment. Even though the Panthers cannot compete attendance-wise with the handful of programs in the conference that average one to two thousand fans per game, there are enough fans to create a feeling of a comfortable and caring fanbase.
Fans are a bit tame when it comes to giving the business to the opposition, but are actively supportive of their Panthers. This is a bit refreshing when it comes to simply enjoying the game and not having to worry about fans becoming irate over borderline calls, or even the occasional blown call.
Fans going to Georgia State baseball games are at the mercy of Atlanta traffic – the field itself is less than two miles from the Atlanta Perimeter, I-285, and 3 miles from I-20, which runs east to west though the metro area. Atlanta traffic is known to be rather finicky, where even the slightest traffic problem can cause significant backups, making getting to the field a bit troublesome. Traffic aside though, getting in and out of the area is rather straightforward.
Access into the field is pretty simple – the only issue of significance tends to be with mid-week games and Friday games, when fans tend to arrive at the same time the school district buses are coming back from their afternoon runs.
Return on Investment 4
With no admission or parking costs and concessions no higher than $5 per item, fans would be hard pressed to find a better deal in college baseball. When looking for ways to invest your time in the Metro Atlanta area, Georgia State baseball is an enjoyable experience, but might also rank low on the list of activities of interest around Atlanta for the average fan.
The tree coverage is not something you will find at most southern college baseball fields, but it does provide a great deal of shade during bright, sunny afternoon games, and is a reminder of the simpler days of the game.
The jersey number 30 of long-time head coach, and recently passed Mike Hurst, is retired on the right field wall.
In a time when college baseball programs are in a constant competition to outdo their foes by one-upping them when it comes to facilities, the simplicity of the Georgia State Baseball Complex is welcomed. Fans in their own tailgating chairs, or watching from the comfort of their vehicles, is definitely a unique experience.
The days of the Georgia State Baseball Complex might be numbered, which is not necessarily a bad thing for the program. Since the university purchased the former Turner Field and surrounding property, which includes the site where Fulton County Stadium once sat, plans have been created to move Georgia State baseball closer to their downtown campus. The biggest feature of the new site will be how to properly honor the home run king, Hank Aaron – at the moment, the university is in the fundraising phase and planning with Billye Aaron to ensure that the legacy of her husband Henry is properly celebrated.