Matador Field – Cal State Northridge Matadors
Photos by Andrei Ojeda, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 2.57
Matador Stadium 18111 Nordhoff St Northridge, CA 91330
Year Opened: 1961
Baseball Under the CSUN
Located in the northwest sector of the San Fernando Valley, California State University, Northridge was established in 1958. It was known as San Fernando Valley State College until 1972. Though not as notable nationwide as USC or UCLA, CSUN is the largest of the 23 campuses within the Cal State University system.
If fans are not from the area, they may remember Northridge as the epicenter of a devastating earthquake in 1994. Years have passed and today Northridge has as beautiful a campus as any Southern California school. Among the recent additions to CSUN is the Valley Performing Arts Center.
Matador Field, built in 1961 has had six major renovations, most recent of which was a new backstop in 2008.
Food & Beverage 2
The dining options are about as basic as it gets, featuring a hot dog, turkey dog, or spicy dog ($3.50), chips ($2.50) and candy ($2). There is a combo deal where fans could get a dog, chips, and a small soda or water for $7, which would save them $1 than if purchased separately.
The beverage options include bottled Coke products ($2), water ($3 for large), Gatorade ($2.50), as well as coffee, tea or hot chocolate ($2).
Because Matador Field is void of any lights, all games are played under the sun, giving baseball traditionalists that old-school feel. There are not any specific chants or cheers the fans take part in however, Matty the Matador, the school's mascot is present, making his rounds throughout the stands, mingling with the fans.
The Northridge campus and the area surrounding it are an interesting contrast. Should you head either direction you will find there are areas packed with strip malls, restaurants, and all sorts of consumerism. If you're in the mood for some ethnic Middle Eastern dining, the Falafel Palace on Reseda and Prairie, a local student favorite, serves up some really tasty gyros as well as other Greek dishes.
If you don't mind driving 5 minutes west of campus, the Northridge Fashion Center is nearby as well and offers these sit-down options: Bonefish Grill, Claim Jumper, Yard House, as well as a Buffalo Wild Wings, to name a few. Should you opt to remain close to Matador Field, Cupid's Hot Dogs, a San Fernando Valley staple serving nothing but chili dogs (I prefer to keep mine simple, chili and onions), is within walking distance a few short blocks south.
There is not a lot of activity coming from the Northridge fans, with very few sporting any CSUN attire. This really is not a surprise given the school's local reputation as a commuter school. What I do find interesting is that many of the fans in the stands get creative in regards to shading themselves from the afternoon sun. Given this is Southern California, winter months can be warm as well and many of the fans more than compensate for the lack of shade in the stands by setting up their own portable umbrellas, a good call by those in charge.
Access to CSUN is not far from three of LA's major freeways; the 405, 101 and 118. If you are coming from LA, the drive time, pending traffic, can vary from 30 to 90 minutes. All Matador home games are played under the CSUN (pun intended) so there's that possibility that you may actually dodge some traffic. It's still a good idea to check the local traffic reports before heading out.
Once you have arrived on campus, you will find the main parking lot on the Zelzah Avenue side of campus. There are meters there that accept both cash and credit/debit cards, $5 for up to 4 hours, $6 all day. Depending on the timing of your visit, you may be able to find street parking nearby if you are willing to walk for a bit.
Upon entering Matador Field you will find that all the seats are metal bleachers. Given that all games are played during the day, chances are there will be plenty of sun so you may want to bring either a portable chair back or a beach towel to protect yourself from a hot metal seat.
Hopefully you will not miss much of the ballgame but if nature is calling, prepare yourself for a long walk. The trek to the restrooms is quite a distance as fans must walk along a narrow walkway beyond the outfield fence and beyond the left field corner. Matador Field could certainly use a couple of mobile restrooms in the open grass area behind the first base dugout as this would save fans a long walk toward relieving themselves.
Return on Investment 3
General admission seating for adults is $8, $5 for youth (17 and under) and seniors (60 and over). Though much more affordable than most MLB games, I was surprised a bit by the GA price for this less-known program.
Matador Field is as simple as it gets. If you're looking for any historical displays paying homage to the baseball program, you will find a mural behind the first base dugout commemorating the school's conference titles as well as their two Division II National Championship titles. This is a pretty impressive display when taken into account CSUN's hidden presence among the abundance of collegiate baseball programs that reside in Southern California.
If expecting an amplified atmosphere, you may find yourself somewhat disappointed. If a simple day at the ballgame under the sun in a serene, intimate setting without all the bells and whistles is all you need, a stop at Matador Field is certainly worth checking out. Depending on when you plan to visit, because all CSUN baseball games are played during the day, you may even be able to check out a Dodger game as well.