NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The best view of the action at Hawkins Field may not be at Hawkins Field at all.
To get the a full view of the stadium, as well as the Nashville skyline, you have to climb or drive to the top of the 11-floor parking deck located diagonally across from the right-field foul pole.“It’s better than not being here,” Vanderbilt fan Billy Ray Caldwell said before Sunday’s Game 3 between Vanderbilt and Stanford. “The only thing missing is the instant replays you can get at home.”
Anywhere from the top three to seven floors can be packed with fans trying to glimpse a part of the action. With the first two games of this Super Regional being sellouts, it can be the only options for some fans who want to see the game.
Parking is also free for the deck, which is a part of the Vanderbilt Medical Center. The one thing that won’t work on the deck is tailgating.
“They said if they catch anyone tailgating, they’ll shut it down,” Caldwell said. “It’s happened before.”
The tradition of watching the game from the deck is not something new to this year. Bob Krozely said he watched some of the 2007 Super Regionals against Michigan from that spot.
Krozely returned to the deck for Sunday’s game with a spot at the front of the 11th floor.
“I remember being here a number of years ago,” Krozely said. “It’s a nice day [Sunday] and I can listen to the broadcast on my earphones, which I enjoy doing.”
Tailgating may not be allowed, but the fans there still find ways to have fun. During Saturday’s game, some would tape ‘K’ signs every time a Stanford batter struck out.
Krozely estimated that the crowd grows into the hundreds for Super Regional games. Despite that big crowd, Krozely said it still doesn’t bring the same type of atmosphere as being in the stands during a game.
“At the stadium, you’re right there,” he said. “You’re right there on the field. It’s an intimate atmosphere.”
To get a prime spot on the parking deck, you better be prepared to arrive early. The deck started getting full two hours before game time and was mostly full before first pitch on Sunday. Caldwell got his spot on the 11th floor at about 12:15 p.m. for a game with a 2 p.m. start time. If he were to sit in the stands, Caldwell said he would get to the ballpark right before game time.
That time sacrifice can be worth it if you can claim a prime spot.
“It’s a great view,” Krozely said. “You get to see Nashville and the stadium. It’s unique.”