Eichelberger Field – Urbana, IL

30 03 2009
  • 1201 W. Florida Avenue
  • Urbana, IL 61801
  • (217)
  • Website
Eichelberger Field on the campus of the University of Illinois

Eichelberger Field on the campus of the University of Illinois

Nothing like getting up early on a Sunday morning to drive in blizzard like conditions to a softball game.  That was how my day started. 

After getting rained out Saturday at Illinois Field, I made the trek back to Champaign/Urbana from my parents house for a softball game between the University of Illinois and Michigan State University.  Unfortunately, the weather didn’t want to cooperate.

The University of Illinois softball team plays their home games at Eichelberger Field in Urbana.  It’s actually just a few hundred yards from the men’s field, but the city limits for the two towns lie just outside the center field wall at Illinois Field.  Even though the street addresses are different, they’re on the same street. Read the rest of this entry »

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Illinois Field – Champaign, IL

27 03 2009
  • 1605 S. Wright Street
  • Champaign, IL 61820
  • (217) 333-3630
  • Website
The view from the press box at Illinois Field in Champaign, IL

The view from the press box at Illinois Field in Champaign, IL

I freakin love baseball.  I played growing up.  I played a couple years in college.  I can’t get enough of it.  I’ve never been much of a football person, but I love when baseball season comes around.  I know…that’s weird.

Now that I work in broadcasting, spring is my favorite time.  I love it when I get a call to shoot a baseball game.  Yes, chances are it’s going to be cold and rainy, but that’s ok with me.  I got a last minute call to make the trek to Illinois for three games in three days.  The first two days were U of I vs. Michigan State University baseball.

Illinois Field in located on Wright Street right at the boundry for the cities of Champaign and Urbana.  It’s just down the street from Assembly Hall and Memorial Stadium.  The grassy lot next to the field is actually used for overflow parking during football season. Read the rest of this entry »





Huff Hall – Champaign, IL

21 03 2009
  • 1206 S. 4th Street
  • Champaign, IL 61820
  • (217) 244-9755
  • Website
Huff Hall on the campus of the University of Illinois set up for gymnastics

Huff Hall on the campus of the University of Illinois set up for gymnastics

Even if you’ve never been to the University of Illinois and you’ve never heard of Huff Hall, you are quite familiar with a term that was coined during the days when the IHSA boys state basketball championships played in the gym.  It’s actually pretty fitting that I’m writing about this right now.  The term “March Madness” is a term that was trademarked by the IHSA after a court battle that also gave the NCAA a right to trademark the term.  The IHSA still claims to have invented the term and they own the sole trademark to the phrase “America’s Original March Madness” which is how they bill their tournament these days

The phrase “March Madness” was first used in 1939 to describe the state basketball championships that were held at Huff Gymnasium.  The layout and design of the building made it loud and when the place was full, it was deafening.  If you’ve ever watched an IHSA small schools game, you know how loud it can get.

Huff Hall was built in 1925 as a multi-purpose gymnasium named after George Huff who was the school’s athletic director from 1895 to 1935.  It’s a 4,500 seat arena with a permanent upper deck and retractable bleachers in the lower area.  Like Michigan State’s Jenison Fieldhouse, Huff Hall is the home of the U of I’s volleyball, wrestling,  and gymnastics teams. Read the rest of this entry »





Antonio’s Pizza – Champaign, IL

19 02 2009
  • 619 E. Green Street
  • Champaign, IL 61820
  • (217) 365-9500
  • No Known Website
  • Menu
Antonios Pizza on Green Street in Champaign, IL

Antonio's Pizza on Green Street in Champaign, IL

You should know me by now.  When I’m on the campus of a large university, I go looking for pizza-by-the-slice.  I was in Champaign to witness one of the worst basketball games I have ever seen.  If you happened to watch the Penn State vs. Illinois basketball game, you know what I’m talking about.  Before that atrocity, I needed to find dinner.  Most of my co-workers went to a Mexican place, but I wanted pizza, so I headed to Green Street and started walking.

Antonio’s Pizza is in the 600 Block of Green Street which is U of I’s big restaurant district.  They’ve got everything from Asian to chains to bars to pizza.  I walked by a few places that looked good, but didn’t do anything for me.  From the corner of 6th and Green, I could see a green, white, and red striped awning.  I knew it had to be a pizza place, soI crossed the street and kept walking. Read the rest of this entry »





Assembly Hall – Champaign, IL

22 12 2008
  • 1800 S. 1st St.
  • Champaign, IL 61820
  • (217) 333-5000
  • Website
An empty arena at the Assembly Hall on the campus of the University of Illinois

An empty arena at the Assembly Hall on the campus of the University of Illinois

Until last year, even though I lived near it all my life, I had never been to Assembly Hall in Champaign for a basketball game. Heck, until earlier this month, I had never even been to a college basketball game tha wasn’t for work. The same is still true in Champaign.

I spent another Saturday night in Illinois working. Assembly Hall isn’t the most modern arena in the Big Ten, but it does have it’s charm. The arena looks like a giant UFO. It must be a thing with Illinois arenas. I used to go to events at Assembly Hall when I was younger. We went to many Ice Capades in Champaign, but like I already mentioned, last year was the first time I had been there when the basketball floor was set up.

When you walk in to Assembly Hall, you come into a concourse level. You have to go up a series of ramps on the outside to get to the main gates. From the concourse level, you can enter the arena and either go up or down. Most of the day of sales tickets are up. Like most college basketball arenas, season ticket holders get the lower bowl while every one gets up in the B and C levels. There are portable bleachers in each end zone. The side near the tunnel and Illinois’ bench is for family and the band. The other end is for the Orange Crush (Illinois’ version of the IzZone.) Read the rest of this entry »





Manolos Pizza & Empanadas – Urbana, IL

4 09 2008
  • 1115 W. Oregon St.
  • Urbana, IL 61803
  • (217) 365-0110
  • Website
  • Menu
Manolos Pizza & Empanadas near the campus of the University of Illinois in Champaign/Urbana

Manolo's Pizza & Empanada's near the campus of the University of Illinois in Champaign/Urbana

Traveling has really wore me out….and made me hungry.  I’m sitting in my hotel room at the Hilton Garden Inn in Champaign and even though I’ve had two meals, I’m hungry.  I get on my laptop and do a search for pizza joints that sell pizza by the slice.  That’s what I really love about college towns.  You can usually find a pizza place open late.  My hotel is pretty close to campus, so I figured there would be one close and of course, there was more than one. 

I chose the one that wasn’t quite as close to Memorial Stadium…I think.  I went to the area I wasn’t familiar with tonight so I could stop by the other one after I get done with work tomorrow evening which I believe is closer.  I’m probably wrong, but oh well.  The one I chose is called Manolos Pizza & Empanadas and it sits right next to popular the night spot The Cannopy Club.

There’s not much to Manolos.  Just a glass case with already made pizza, a cash register and a bar along the back wall should you want to stay an eat.  There’s no seating, but their website says you can dine in at the Canopy Club.  I would assume that means you’ve already got tickets to a show and they just serve pizza in there.  Read the rest of this entry »