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  • Writer's pictureMichael Davis

Horner Ballpark - Dallas Baptist Patriots



Photos by Michael Davis, Stadium Journey


Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.43

Horner Ballpark 3000 Mountain Creek Pkwy Dallas, TX 75211


Year Opened: 2013

Capacity: 3,492

 

Horner Ballpark - A Baseball Gem in DFW

Located in Dallas, TX, Joan & Andy Horner Ballpark is home to the Dallas Baptist University Patriots baseball team. The ballpark was designed by well-known architecture firm HKS using the architectural theme of the campus, a Georgian-style facade of dark red brick. The facility has a capacity of 3,492 (including 4 guest boxes) – opened on February 15, 2013, the venue was ranked 20th best stadium in college baseball by D1Baseball.com.


Dallas Baptist University recently became a member of Conference USA, with previous membership in the Missouri Valley Conference and the Western Athletic Conference. Horner Ballpark played host to the 2015 Dallas Regional; a record crowd of 3,242 was announced during the regional, as the Patriots defeated the University of Texas 8-1.


Horner Ballpark also hosts Dallas area high school playoff games in May.

 

Food & Beverage   3

There are two concession stands inside Horner Ballpark, one on each of the baselines, which provide basic food and beverages. During my most recent visit, though, only one concession stand was open, so the line was very long. The concessions are limited in selection, but prices are on par with other sporting venues. The highest cost food item is the Patriot nachos, loaded with chili or chopped beef, for $12. Besides the chopped beef sandwich at $9, other items range from $4 to $7 for hot dogs, chili cheese dogs, nachos, candy and pretzels.



Beverages at Horner Ballpark consist of Coca-Cola fountain products – a 20oz soda costs $5, while the 32oz souvenir cup is the more economic choice at the same $5, but offers refills for $2. Dasani bottled water is the lowest priced beverage at $3; alcohol is not sold inside the ballpark.

 

Atmosphere   3

Dallas Baptist University sponsors 15 intercollegiate athletic teams, but baseball is the only sport that competes on the Division 1 level. The majority of baseball games during the season are held on the weekends, with a single game during the week. The ballpark contains four guest suites available for rent (each one has audio broadcast available), a pavilion down the left field line for large groups, and party plazas on both sides of the concourse for medium sized gatherings.


Horner Ballpark has an Astroturf infield with only the pitcher's mound having real dirt. The dimensions of the playing field are 330 feet down the lines and 390 feet to straightaway center. The home team's bullpen is behind the left center field fence, which you can see through, while the visitor bullpen is located in the corner of right field, since the visitors use the first base side dugout. The scoreboard in right field is basic with no video replay, and has the old name of Patriot Field across the top. There is a small apparel shop called the Patriot Locker next to the main entrance.


The 7th inning stretch is the always "Take Me Out to The Ballgame" with the additional playing of a Texas favorite, Cotton Eyed Joe. The most interesting item at Horner Ballpark is the cannon on top of the hill behind the DBU bullpen – the cannon is fired after each home team home run.  The Regiment, a group of 5 Cannoneers, are in charge of protecting and executing the Order of the Cannon; this shows the spirit of the university namesake and legacy of the American Patriot.

 

Neighborhood   3

Dallas Baptist University is located 12 miles southwest of downtown Dallas, near the DFW National Cemetery and overlooking Mountain Creek Lake. The campus is within the City of Dallas limits, but the closest activities for food and lodging are in the cities of Grand Prairie and Duncanville – Grand Prairie is located just across Mountain Creek Lake via the toll bridge, while Duncanville is situated just south of campus off Interstate 20.


Horner Ballpark is located on campus, so there isn't much nearby if you are looking for food or lodging. Outlaw's BBQ is about 4 miles across the lake in Grand Prairie, just to the right off Beltline, and there are additional fast food restaurants if you continue west on Pioneer Parkway. Although there isn't much around campus, the school is part of the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, which opens up an unlimited number of restaurants, lodging options, and attractions; some of the attractions are the John F. Kennedy Sixth Floor Museum, Dallas World Aquarium, and Perot Museum, to name a few.

 

Fans   3

Dallas Baptist University is a Christian liberal arts university with 3,400 undergraduates, so the majority of baseball fans are students and relatives. The fans typically wear DBU sporting apparel, and their support is genuine. The schedule is competitive, so you might see fans from TCU, Oklahoma State, and Oklahoma, for example, filling the stands on the visitor side, so the ballpark doesn't feel empty.


 

Access   3

Horner Ballpark is located on the Dallas Baptist University campus, in a secluded area on the back side behind the student housing. There are two interstates that can be used to reach the school - from the south use Interstate 20 and take Mountain Creek Parkway, while from the north take Interstate 30 to Loop 12 and then onto Mountain Creek Parkway.


The main entrance to the university is on Mountain Creek Parkway, but the easiest access to the ballpark is off W. Kiest Blvd / Spur 303, as this way you will avoid having to drive through the hilly campus – for this route use Mountain Creek Parkway or Loop 12 and Spur 408 (from Interstate 20) to the W. Kiest Blvd exit. The first road on the right after The Potter House will lead to the ballpark.


Once on campus parking is free; space is limited within the athletics area but you should be able to find a spot. Horner Ballpark does have more than one entrance, but the main entrance is guaranteed to be open and is next to the ticket office. As you walk through the main entrance, the walls on each side show DBU players that went on to a professional career, and the ceiling has the DBU logo with a baseball stitching imprint.


The concourses and section portals are narrow but acceptable given the crowd size. There is only one concourse, and all of the seating is below it. At the end of the concourse there are also stairs that take you to left field, the general admission area, or the Patriot Yard in right field.

 

Return on Investment   5

Single game ticket prices for reserved seating are $12; this represent a high return on investment to see a baseball program that has been one of the top programs in the country over the last five years, along with free parking and reasonably low concessions. I recommend seeing a game at Horner Ballpark if you love baseball or just want a fun-filled day.

 

Extras   4

Several Dallas Baptist baseball players have gone on to the pro levels of competition, and the school honors them at the entrance of Horner Ballpark. There are also military statues near the entrance, and a cannon on top of the hill that is used for the home team’s home runs, behind the DBU bullpens. During the most recent game I attended there was even a stoppage of play while Taps was being played at nearby Dallas National Cemetery. Horner Ballpark doesn’t have all the amenities of another ballpark; it is just pure baseball.



 

Final Thoughts

Overall the ballpark is a diamond in the rough for the local DFW area baseball fan. The experience provides top notch Division 1 baseball in a quiet setting without large crowds, expensive tickets, nor high-priced concessions. There is so much to do in the DFW area that an out-of-town sports traveler may not have time to pick up a game at Horner Ballpark, but if you make the time you'll find baseball being played at its purest.

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