Though it’s no longer an Olympic sport, softball is still growing in scope and popularity around the globe. There are professional teams, international teams, collegiate teams, adult recreational and competitive teams, and youth teams. To meet this ever-growing fan base, softball associations everywhere have built a vast array of softball facilities — some of which it has become tradition to visit. This guide provides an overview of some of softball’s most visit-worthy facilities, so add them to your bucket list!
ASA Hall of Fame Stadium
Located in Oklahoma City, the Amateur Softball Association is home to the Softball Hall of Fame Complex. Acknowledged as the premier softball facility in the United States, the Hall of Fame Complex hosts some of the most prestigious softball tournaments in the world:
- Border Battle: Slowpitch softball’s ultimate tournament, the Border Battle features male international teams battling it out to be crowned Border Battle champions.
- World Cup of Softball: National teams from across the world come to the ASA Hall of Fame Stadium to play for the World Cup. With the Olympics out of the picture, the World Cup is the world’s leading international tournament.
- NCAA Women’s College World Series: Every year, college fans flock to this stadium to watch the country’s best college softball players compete for the ultimate collegiate accolade: The World Series championship.
- The Hall of Fame: Perhaps the thing it’s most known for, the ASA Hall of Fame Stadium is also home to the National Softball Hall of Fame. Here, you can walk through exhibits that display the history of softball, filled with memorabilia and certificates of achievement for the world’s best softball players.
ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex
Home to six fields that may well be the happiest place on earth for a softball player or fan, Disney’s ESPN Wide World Sports Complex is home to various types of softball games, both slowpitch and fastpitch. If you are in the mood to watch slowpitch, the USSSA hosts their co-ed world series at the Disney Complex. High school and college teams also take advantage of Florida’s beautiful weather for Spring training. You can also catch National Pro Fastptich games throughout the season.
The Cat Osterman Experience: “A Fastpitch Field of Dreams”
It should come as no surprise that Cat Osterman helped create a facility devoted entirely to softball. Her inspiration for the stay-and-play Cat Osterman Experience came from her experience on the United States Olympic team, as well as playing on various collegiate and National Pro Fastpitch teams. Located in Bellevue, Nebraska, this facility mimics aspects from every softball experience Cat has ever participated in. For example, the Champion’s Village houses the players of the tournament, just like the Olympic village. Athletes sleep, eat, and relax in the Champion’s Village with the dining pavilion, team clubhouses, player grills, arcades, and common areas. It’s a place where the whole family can have a good time and watch softball. Essentially, this facility is designed to give the players a true “live, breathe, play softball” type of atmosphere.
Pan-American Softball Stadium
Located in Guadalajara, Mexico, this stadium has been trekked to by players from across the western side of the globe. The Pan-American Softball Confederation is made up of all International Softball Federation members in the Americas. These games take place once every two years, and are played over the course of seven days, with gold medals going to the champions. If you’re looking to see the best of the west and want to experience softball beyond the United States, this is the stadium to go to.
National Pro Fastpitch
Though not exactly a facility, National Pro Fastpitch is the premier professional softball league in the United States. With only four teams, visiting and being able to witness professional softball at each location should definitely be on your bucket list:
- Akron Racers: Head over to the Firestone Stadium in Akron, Ohio to watch the Racers in action.
- Chicago Bandits: Check out the Bandits’ brand-new stadium in Rosemont, Illinois, located on none other than Jennie Finch Way.
- Tennessee Diamonds: The Diamonds are a travelling team, meaning they change their home field each season. You’ll need to check their current schedule to find out where they are playing.
- USSSA Pride: Check out the Pride in Kissimmee, Florida at the Osceola County Stadium.
Every NPF softball team also showcases their talent against colleges at the beginning of each season. Check out their schedule and you might be able to catch them in your own hometown!
College softball is more different than any other level of softball. On the fields are student-athletes who are competing for their school. Their teammates are their peers, and their coaches aren’t just volunteer parents. If you have the chance, check out any collegiate softball game for a softball experience unlike any other. These stadiums will often be the nicest you’ll ever see. Some have turf outfields, some have beautiful bleachers, and some have it all. Use iSport’s Field Directory for a school near you!
Check It Off!
Now that you know about softball’s hottest facilities, try to catch some games! And while you’re there, try to play a little. There’s nothing like playing on the same field where softball legends were born.