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450 Broad St.
Newark, NJ

Stadium Opened: 1999
Capacity: 6,200
Dimensions: LF- 302 ft.  CF- 394 ft.   RF-320 ft.
Surface: Natural Grass

Former Names of Ballpark: None

Parking:

 

Food:

  • Very poor quality. I had a hot dog that seriously looked like a "Slim Jim" on a roll. The hot dog was so small that I felt like I was eating just a roll. The concessions were reasonably priced, some items almost cheap, but I guess you get what you pay for in this case.
  • The concession stand employees seemed incompetent and it leaves me to wonder how they handle a large crowd.

Seating/Stadium Design:

  • Dark green seats with cupholders
  • Very little foul territory so all seats are close to the action
  • No useless middle concourse and the press box was situated in the correct place (Above the concourse)
  • Bleacher seats
  • 20 Luxury Suites
  • View of drawbridge on Route 280 from seats
  • Picnic Area

Atmosphere/Character:

Bears and Eagles Riverfront Stadium is located in downtown Newark, NJ. Recently, I have come to enjoy downtown parks since their design seems to have character. Newark definitely had "character"....not sure if it is a good "character" though. First off, if a little time and money was put into the upkeep of the stadium it could be a very enjoyable park to watch a ballgame. Also, it would help with revitalizing downtown sections of Newark even more than it already has. The stadium seemed to not be well maintained. The stadium has been around since 1999 and yet some areas in and around the stadium are still unsightly. The design of the stadium seemed to be poorly planned out. Let's start with the main entrance. The intended "main entrance" is now the secondary entrance because a new parking garage was built closer to another gate into the stadium. So, now fans are lined up to get inm at what was not intended to be the "main gate" and that line has the potential of mixing right in with the ticket windows' lines, which could create some confusion and chaos. Next, there is an open space (possibly awaiting pavement for a parking lot??) next to the stadium that looks terribly run down. On the positive side, I do commend Newark for having a NJ Transit stop outside the stadium. Lastly, leaving the stadium and heading back to Route 280 West is an adventurous task. Now, I understand the Newark Bears are not responsible for building Route 280 and did not have a say in not having an on ramp to route 280 West, only East right outside the stadium, but I still think the Bears could have pushed for more clearly labeled signs back to the highway. In Newark's defense, they do have directions to the stadium and home from the stadium on their website, so they are obviously aware of this tricky situation. I just think that if they wanted more people to attend the games, they should be pushing for more signs back to the highway upon exiting the stadium.

Unfortunately, I have to say that there was no atmosphere at the stadium. The attendance was poor on a beautiful, sunny and warm Sunday afternoon. If it weren't for a bus load of Lancaster Barnstormer fans armed with cowbells, I'm not sure if there would have been anyone there to watch the game. One aspect that I do like, that I also saw in Dayton, was to announce the home team players one at a time as they run onto the field in the first inning and not just have the entire team run on at once. This enabled some kind of atmosphere to build up slightly. One major part of a baseball game's atmosphere that I enjoy is hearing food and souvenir vendors as they walk through the stands. An occassional, "Beer here!", or "Get your cotton candy!" meshes well with the stadium sound effects. At Riverfront Stadium, there are no vendors that walk through the stands. You must get up out of your seat to get food. I'm going to assume that this does not help concessions profits.

I did like some of the in-between innings contests. One that stands out in my mind was a person dressed in a Ragu sauce jar who came out onto the field while a fan threw hula hoops around him. Not sure if this was meant to be a challenge, since the fan was literally standing about a foot away from the "jar of sauce", but it was more entertaining to see the jar of sauce come walking out onto the field. There also was a contest sponsored by Comcast which was advertising their "Triple Play" promotion of Phone, internet, and Cable. A family participated in this contest. They had to roll three huge dice and if each one landed on a different part of the "Triple Play" they would win. Lastly, there was a hot dog race.....one mustard, ketchup, and relish. I wonder if Randall Simon has to remain in the clubhouse while this contest takes place, just in case he "pokes" his bat at the "hot dog" like he did to the "Sausage" in Milwaukee.

 

Recognition of Team's History and/or MLB Affiliate:

 

 

Origin of Team's Name:

The original "Bears" were a minor league team for the New York Yankees until 1949. The Eagles were a very successful Negro League team that played in Newark until 1950.

 

 

 

Overall Rating:

Review is based on my visit on 5/23/09.

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amanda@baseballstadiumreviews.com