Regions Field – Birmingham Barons
A Ballpark Built for Birmingham
Regions Field in Birmingham, Alabama might just be the future of ballpark construction. It covers all the bases from its downtown location, social areas, wide-open concourses, food variety, and access to local restaurants and living areas. It also incorporates a modern, sleek design unlike anything else in affiliated baseball today.
The ballpark is home to the Birmingham Barons of the Southern League, a Double A affiliate of the Chicago White Sox. The stadium debuted in 2013 and is only the third home the team has played in over 100 seasons of operations. Shockingly, the clubs former homes of Rickwood Field (1910-1987) and Hoover Metropolitan Stadium (1988-2012) are still standing and if you plan a trip accordingly, can view baseball at all three venues in less than 4 days.
However, this review is about Regions Field and it definitely throws its hat into the ring among the upper echelon of minor league ballparks in this country. Built for $64 million by HKS, Inc. of Dallas and with Hoskins Architects and GA Studio of Birmingham, the ballpark borrows elements from Rickwood Field and Sloss Furnaces.
Its facade of brick and steel was designed to pay homage to the city’s industrial past and blend in with the surrounding neighborhood. Other elements of the stadium are of metal, glass, and concrete along with landscaping around the property.
Food & Beverage 5
The ballpark offers a wide range of food options from ballpark staples to locally made barbecue. Dreamland Barbecue located on the center field concourse serves ½ slab rib plates, pulled pork and smoked sausage plates, barbecue nachos, and barbecue stuffed baked potatoes. The servings are large and well worth the opportunity to enjoy the city’s favorite barbecue destination.
The food court down the right field line also offers an impressive lineup for food from Irish themed foods, ballpark hybrids, Mexican, and sweet treats. Piper’s Pub & Grill and Tito’s Cantina are worth checking out since they provide a variety of menu options a little bit further down the line from the normal hot dog and peanuts.
Pipers Pub & Grill is a destination area at the ballpark featuring a menu that includes the Steel City Burger topped with a fried egg and sriracha sauce, beef brisket and Buffalo chicken nachos, chicken and waffles, and the Magic City Dog topped with slaw and sweet and tangy sauce that is indigenous to the city. Tito’s Cantina serves tacos, burritos, supreme nachos, and taco salads.
If you are looking for beer, the ballpark has the domestics covered, but the city’s burgeoning craft brew scene is also well represented with TrimTab Brewing Company, Avondale Brewing Company, Ghost Train Brewing Company, and Good Peoples Brewing Company. The price for anyone of these varieties is $7, while domestics sell for $5.25.
If you are looking at the photos for this specific review, you will notice that the ballpark appears quite vacant. This is due to Subtropical storm Alberto who ravaged the coastal shorelines of the state just the day before heading on a collision course with the city the day of our visit. It was only a few short hours before opening pitch that the skies opened up and the rain moved away to the west.
With that out of the way, this place is all about having a good time. The wrap around concourse provides various vantage points to watch the game from comfortable seats with table services behind home plate, Adirondack lounge chairs in right-center field, grass berm seating large enough to spread out a blanket, and the home run porch seats behind left field.
The views of downtown are quite splendid but have changed due to various apartment complexes developing since the park debuted in 2013; these residents get to enjoy another vantage point from the comforts of their home, but there is not a bad place to watch the game inside the ballpark.
The Switchyard is a family-friendly food, beverage, and game area located underneath the iconic Birmingham sign on 14th Street. The open-air space features a regulation size bocce ball court, ping pong tables, and other outdoor games, two airstream trailers will offer gastro-pub food and draft beers, and uniquely designed shades and furniture to provide a true outdoor space for private parties, fundraising groups, and corporate events.
The gift shop houses an array of Barons jerseys including replicas of the ones worn by Michael Jordan almost 25-years-ago, Black Baron caps, and multiple styles of caps worn by the team in its history. The club also employs a bullpen cart, one of a few in professional baseball.
The area around the ballpark has changed dramatically since the ballpark was built in 2013. Across the street from the entrance on 14th Street is Good Peoples Brewing Company; its tap room is large, relaxed, and offers an outdoor patio and game area that features corn hole sets. There is even an area for food trucks, such as Eugene’s Hot Chicken that is lip-smacking good, be careful when eating the stupid hot chicken.
— Marc Viquez (@BallparkHunter) May 30, 2018
The Railroad Park is north of the ballpark and is a 19-acre public park featuring walking trails, gym equipment, mini skate park, and a lake. A well planned out green space that features something for people of all ages.
The Civil Rights Museum is not too far away and is an ideal choice to educate yourself and young minds about the city’s truculent past to segregation. A somewhat hidden gem is the Negro Southern League Museum offering a collection that is on par with the museum in Kansas City.
If you enjoy jazz or neo-soul, the Plum Bar is a few blocks away from Regions Field and you have the choice to dress casual or non-casual. Cocktails and great live music are to be expected when you enter the building.
The Barons have continued to lead the Southern League in attendance ever since Regions Field was built and are fourth in all of Double A baseball with figures close to 6,000 per game. There are many baseball purists there to enjoy the game along with the casual fans enjoying their outdoor entertainment complex during the summer months. However, you don’t have to look far to know who you want to sit by to enhance your game, during my visit at least three fans talked baseball, both professional and collegiate, with me.
Regions Field is a downtown ballpark that offers 250 parking spaces adjacent to the building along with 2,500 more spaces at existing parking garages that are within a 5 to 10-minute walk. There is also a free bus service to and from the stadium at the Central Station located at Morris Avenue.
14th Street is closed off for pedestrian traffic only, but if arriving by car you should not have any problems finding a place to park. Once inside, the large wrap around concourse provides easy access to all areas of the facility including concession areas, bathrooms, exits and entrances, and the Switchyard.
Return on Investment 4
The price for a ticket to a game is affordable: General Admission/Berm ($7), Baseline Box ($10), Field Reserve ($13), and Dugout Premium ($15). I always suggest the least expensive tickets and walk around to other areas if applicable, but the club usually brings in high totals from Thursday to Saturday, so make your decision wisely.
One point for the exterior Birmingham sign above 14th Street that is the focal point of the stadium. At night, the sign changes colors from purple, green, red, and blue, providing a different photo with each shot of the camera.
A second point for the Switchyard located underneath the sign. It is a place of fun and games for fans of all ages and a place to grab a local brew and some great wings. An area similar to The Band Box at First Tennessee Stadium in Nashville, but without the view of the diamond. However, don’t tell the dense crowd they are not having fun.
A third point for the design of the stadium that incorporates homages to Rickwood Field, the city’s steel industry, and brick and glass accents. The ballpark blends in well with the surrounding neighborhood and stands out among the other minor or independent league ballparks in the country, only CHS Field in St. Paul, Minnesota comes close to its design.
A fourth and final point is awarded to the bullpen cart that brings relievers to the games in the late innings, once a ballpark staple, it’s now making a comeback along with tri-color caps and powder blue road uniforms.
Regions Field blends both the future and the past of modern minor league ballpark design and construction. It serves as a place for not only baseball but for the community to enjoy themselves through the season. It has revived the local neighborhood and brought fans back to downtown Birmingham after 25-years of baseball in the suburbs.
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Food and Drink Recommendations
SpringHill Suites by Marriott Birmingham Downtown at UAB
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Latest Crowd Reviews
Nice, modern ballpark with some nods to Birmingham baseball history. Spacious concourse with 360 degree access and different seating options are plusses.
Nice new park. Plenty of space and plenty of choices when it comes to seating. Great food selections also. Sitting under the overhang behind home plate of all places has little air movement and can be pretty hot. 360 degree concourses are great to get a full perspective on the game. Decent display of history on the signs for the section numbers. Even Michael Jordan has a presence here.
A great modern ballpark that offers a little bit of everything from die-hard fans to millennials. The outside of the stadium features Birmingham that gives the place its signature look. Good People Brewery across the street is a fun place to before or after the game. I can&#039t wait to go back!