Chronological Tour: Stop 365

Welcome Back to Birmingham

The side of Regions Field that faces 14 Street (and I-65), Jul-2013.

From center field, the off-balance luxury box seating (which helps block the sun, too).

From behind home plate, Children’s Hospital and the campus of the University of Alabama at Birmingham are visible.

Quick Facts: Rating: 4 baseballs
The Birmingham Barons played nearly eighty years at Rickwood Field, several miles west of here, before getting caught up in the multipurpose newfangled ballpark craze and moving out to Metropolitan Stadium in Hoover, about 10 miles to the southwest.

While the Hoover Met was a serviceable ballpark that also hosted high school football, there was a desire to bring the game back into the city proper. The annual Rickwood Classic, played since 1996 at the ballpark built in 1910, was a consistent hit, although the draw may be that the game is played at the oldest operating professional park in the nation rather than its location within the city.

So for 2013, the Barons moved into this new ballpark only a few blocks from downtown and within walking distance of the campus of the University of Alabama at Birmingham. The stadium’s construction is the cornerstone of an effort to revive a section of town that has fallen upon hard times, and by extension a city that, during its heyday as an iron mining and steel producing capital in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, became known as the Magic City for having risen from practically nothing in a very short period of time.

Getting to the Game

The park, with its block-long BIRMINGHAM side along 14 Street, is visible from I-65, which made it very easy for me to find even without detailed directions. Parking lots have opened in the neighborhood, but on-street parking is also available several blocks away on 14 Street, and meters do not operate during evenings or weekends (at least in 2013). As is customary, there is no on-street parking in the immediate vicinity of the ballpark. I did not investigate mass transit options; I did not see any buses operating near the park.

Watching the Game

As often happens when a new park opens, ticket prices are slightly higher than in the rest of the league. The average price for a ticket in 2013 was $12. But, as also happens frequently in new parks, there is a wide range of ticket options, from club-level seating to general admission. There is a grassy area in the outfield suitable for general admission ticket holders.

The lineups are posted on a wall near the home plate entrance, although the lineup board is not that easy to find if you entered the park through another gate. The club does hand out a playbill-sized program to patrons.

There is no dedicated scoreboard here. The line score usually appears on the main video board in left field, though not always, and during the game the score also appears most of the time on the auxiliary matrix board mounted below the first-base club level – but, again, not always. At the game I attended, basic game information did not appear for two or three batters, and the public address announcer actually gave the ball-and-strike count at one point before the operations staff figured out how to display game info. But it is very possible to have no indication between innings of the game score.

Enjoying the Game

Concession prices seemed just a little bit high here; again, that seems to happen when a new park is built. There is a decent variety of food items available; I had the old standby of chicken strips and fries as I waited for the field to be prepared following a late-afternoon rain shower.

I did not notice any bad views from seats in the ballpark. Very seldom is a new park built these days without attention being paid to sightlines.

The club runs the usual amount of between-innings promotions. In addition, there are two extensive kids’ play areas, one of which features a Wiffle Ball field where children can hit off a tee under the supervision of game-day staff.

As of 2013, there was very little in the way of before- or after-game activity in the neighborhood. I did notice one watering hole on 14 Street across from the ballpark. Naturally, the Barons and the city hope to change that in upcoming years. By 2016, a new housing development had opened across 16 Street from the park, and establishments were springing up in the vicinity of 20 Street on the south side of the tracks, within shouting distance of the field.

Game # Date League Level Result
1255 Sat 20-Jul-2013 Southern AA Chattanooga 6, BIRMINGHAM 5
1509 Fri 2-Sep-2016 Southern AA Pensacola 7, BIRMINGHAM 6
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This page updated 2-Sep-2016