Saturday, I completed the St. John’s double by returning to Queens for a visit to their ballpark, just a few months after seeing Carnesecca Arena. There aren’t many visitable college ballparks in the Northeast as many are well under the requisite 3,500 seating capacity, however Jack Kaiser Stadium just makes the threshold and it ended up being a good example of why I avoid those smaller places. This bleacher filled venue was as bare-bones and dull as it gets.
It was a 1:00 PM start and after getting hung up in a half-hour of George Washington Bridge traffic, I got to St John’s just a few minutes after first pitch. It was an intersting vibe around the athletic side of campus as there was some sort of Health/Wellness Event full of music and some free food. The mix of music, DJ and wellness talks made for unique background noise while watching the game. I was thankfull for the free hot dog in one of their tents as inside Jack Kaiser Stadium, there are no concessions! That’s a first time seeing that for me on a stadium visit. Not only was food absent, but so were bathrooms. One lone port-a-potty tucked in a corner not only served fans, but I ran into the catcher for Georgetown on my way to use it. The stadium itself features a nice little opening with an arcing “Jack Kaiser Stadium” sign. The seating sections are divided into two, with the main one set up behind home plate before angling down the first base line. It is a permament structure with a red back to the bleachers, while down the third base line is a long set of stand-alone metal bleachers. Certainly not the most comfortable or appealling setting, but the few fans allow one to spread out. There were probably about 300-400 on hand, including a decent handful of students that ventured over.
The Johnies have a pretty good baseball program and their success is seen on the outfield wall with the years of their 7 Big East titles and countless NCAA appearances. This season, they are 15-1 at home and they ran their conference record to 6-2 thanks to a victory over Georgetown. Solid hitting helped the Red Storm jump out to a 6-1 lead and then after the Hoyas slowly chopped at it, St John’s answered with six runs in the sixth inning. Matt Harris’ bases-loaded single helped to put the game away as the home side won 12-4. Stadium #147 was not a favorite of mine, but we can add St John’s to the record books and push my college ballparks number to three. Look for a Stadium Journey review in the coming weeks as well.