The Brown University Baseball Team took the field at Attanasio Family Field at Murray Stadium on Sunday, March 20th for a doubleheader. Doesn’t sound like much of an opening statement, except that Sunday’s Game 1 would be the first Brown Baseball home game in nearly 3 seasons. In fact, Brown’s last home game was May 6, 2019 because the 2020 season was cancelled right after their Spring trip (Covid-19), and the 2021 season was cancelled (Covid-19) in its entirety. Brown U Baseball players, family, friends, classmates, co-workers, groundskeepers, event staff, coaches, and faculty would wait nearly 3 baseball seasons to get back onto their home field, into the bleachers, and experience all that top notch collegiate baseball has to offer. So, let’s try that first sentence again to see if the impact is a bit more exciting – The Brown University Baseball Team took the field at Attanasio Family Field at Murray Stadium on Sunday, March 20th for a doubleheader.
I introduced myself to Brown Baseball Head Coach Grant Achilles through email a few years back and we have remained in contact throughout the past 3 years. Coach Achilles and I spoke a few times this past off season and I emailed him this week to make sure that fans would be allowed for the weekend games. “Yes, fans are allowed for our games – hope you can make it!,” wrote Coach Achilles and I noticed in his signature a very cool phrase. “Brotherhood, Integrity, Gratitude – Live B.I.G. today.” A fitting comment considering the Brown University Baseball situation the past few seasons. Get through tough times as a family, as brothers would; respect the decisions of others with integrity; be thankful and have gratitude that you and your family are here today and you are healthy in spirit, mind, and body to play the game of baseball. There were a number of games on Sunday that I wanted to attend, but none more than Brown University’s first home game in nearly 3 years. And here is how I saw it.
Driving up from my home in North Kingstown Sunday morning, the fog was really thick. In fact, when I took the Point St. Exit, I could barely see Route 95N from the off ramp. Similarly, when I crossed the Point Street Bridge heading into the East Side of Providence, the fog was so thick I could not see the water nor downtown Providence. As I headed up Point St to Hope Street, the fog lifted considerably and I was relieved that the game would not be “fogged out.” Murray Stadium is located just a short walk from the main campus of Brown University and can be found through a series of narrow and one way streets through Providence. My path took me Gano – Angell – Arlington – Lloyd – then a left into an athletic complex parking lot. A short walk through the very impressive athletic fields of Brown University, passed a women’s lacrosse game, and down to Attanasio Family Field at Murray Stadium, for my first glimpse of Brown University Baseball.
I arrived about 15 minutes before Game 1 was scheduled to start. I took a few moments to walk around the perimeter of the baseball field. The field features artificial turf throughout with the exception of the dirt mound. The darker brown shade colored the infield area, the baselines, and the foul territory areas. I thought that was a really cool look. Huge “Brown” displayed behind home plate as well as a huge “B” with ivy running through it in centerfield. The field dimensions – Leftfield fence – 343; Centerfield fence – 391; Rightfield fence – 341. Two sets of seating behind home plate – stadium seats with the seat flipping up and traditional metal bleacher seats. Plenty of area to stand and watch the game behind the bleachers and in the grassy area around the leftfield area. And paperless game day program available through a QR code provided at the entrance of the baseball field area. I just scanned the code and found the baseball game day program amongst the sporting events happening at Brown on Sunday. Very cool experience just walking around the field and taking in the entire scene!
As family, friends, faculty from both Brown and the visiting Holy Cross University baseball team as well as area baseball scouts (just about the entire section behind home plate) found their seats, I took a spot just right of home plate. By this time, the fog had lifted and the sun was starting to heat up the day. Clouds would continue to roll in and out blocking the sun but for the most part it was a nice sunny morning in Providence. Teams exchanged lineups, the national anthem was played, a local boy threw out the ceremonial “First Pitch,” and then it was time for Brown to take the field for their first pitch and baseball activity in 3 seasons. Sorry I keep mentioning that fact but I was really psyched for the Brown Baseball family, the players, and coaches knowing how long they had to wait to get back on their home field. So, after infield and outfield warmups, a throw down to second base, and the Brown U Baseball team baseball ready, it was time for the first pitch.
At 11:36am, Bobby Olsen hurled a fastball down the middle for a strike and the game was underway. Phew, got that one out of the way and the sounds of baseball filled up Attanasio Field once again. The in between inning and walkup music pumped through the stadium by these massive speakers on the press box. The dugouts going back and forth chirping and encouraging their pitcher, their hitter, their team. The fans cheering a defensive play or a strikeout or a base hit. The scouts pressing play on their recording devices, positioning their radar guns, and clicking their pens to write down notes on the players. The baseball pinging the bat on a foul ball headed straight back to protective netting where I was sitting. Actually a few foul balls made me jump because they were literally hit right at me, and then the netting did its job to protect me. I was an incredible experience to be sitting there and taking it all in.
Both teams – Brown, Holy Cross – pitched very well to start the game. In fact, Holy Cross only managed 2 hits through 4 innings and Brown did not record its first hit until the 4th inning. After 4 innings, the score was tied 0-0 and both pitchers were throwing excellent games. After the first inning or two, I got up and walked around to get some other views of the game action. On either side of the bleachers, there is some space to watch the game, although the dugouts will restrict your view a bit. I was able to get some really good photos on each foul line, as the game finished its 4th inning of play.
By the 4th inning, the stands were mostly filled with spectators, classmates, and family members. The clouds continue to roll in and out but it was mostly sunny and bright. I left just as the 4th inning was completed and thus, missed out on all the scoring that would take place in the next few innings. In the bottom of the 5th, Brown sent 7 hitters to the plate, scoring 2 runs. In the top of the 6th, Holy Cross would counter with a run of their own. Then, the two teams traded the lead for the next few innings before Brown broke it open in the bottom of the 8th inning with an impressive 5 run inning. A quick 1-2-3 top of the 9th for Holy Cross sealed the win for Brown. Final at Attanasio Field for Game 1 – Brown Baseball 9 – Holy Cross 4.
So, after waiting nearly 3 seasons for Brown Baseball to play a home game, the home crowd was rewarded with a fantastic day of baseball. Attanasio Field is a must see baseball experience for baseball fans of all ages. I loved the artificial turf, the brown shaded infield and baselines, the huge logos behind home plate and in centerfield. The stadium seats behind home plate were awesome and the stadium sound system was rocking a wide range of music from country to hip hop to the theme from “Rocky.” The fog lifted just in time for me to experience an amazing baseball game on a gorgeous weather day, the first day of Spring, the first of many home games for Brown University Baseball this Spring season, 2022 and for years to follow.
For more information about Brown University Baseball including rosters, schedule of games, and baseball related events, head over to their baseball website – Brown University Baseball.