Hitchcock Field at Plainsman Park – Auburn Tigers
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The Tiger’s Den
Auburn Tiger baseball has had an illustrious history since its beginning in 1931. The program has won six SEC Championships and won three SEC Tournament titles. The team has reached 19 NCAA Regionals and has made it to the College World Series four times. A majority of this success has taken place at Plainsman Park, their on-campus home since 1950.
Auburn has always been a school that looks to the future, while treasuring its past. This can be seen by the many late 1800 and early 1900 academic buildings standing next door to a modern research facility. The same is true of Plainsman Park (the full formal name is Samford Stadium – Hitchcock Field at Plainsman Park… we will be using Plainsman Park for brevity’s sake) as it celebrates its glorious baseball past, while incorporating the latest features in stadium design to increase performance on the field and enhance fan engagement off the field.
Food & Beverage 3
There are two primary concession stands servicing Plainsman Park, The Home Plate and the Curveball Café. The food served at each stand is the typical baseball fare at very affordable prices. Items on the menu include cheeseburgers ($6), hot dogs ($3), pretzels ($5), nachos ($5), popcorn ($4), candy ($3), peanuts ($4) and sunflower seeds ($3). Beverages include Coca-Cola sodas ($4) and bottled water ($2).
Plainsman Park maintained its original look throughout the 20th century, but the school felt a major update to the facility was needed before its 50th anniversary and the 21st century arrived. In 1998, the face lift began, with the installation of a brick backstop, 3,200 chair back seats and Auburn’s own version of the Green Monster in left field. To enhance the fan experience, the playing field was brought much closer to the stands (only 40 feet from either the first or third base bags) and front row seats are only 4 feet above the playing surface.
These changes were well received by the fans and as the Tigers on-field performance improved an enlargement of the stadium was needed. Instead of creating space further from the field, the bullpens were moved off the sides of the field and placed beyond the outfield wall. This allowed for more seating to be added at field level down the baselines. In 2017 Auburn added a 24 foot X 63 foot video board in right center field and replaced all 6,800 chair backs in the stadium. A Tiger Terrace general admission section was added above the third base seats for a berm-like seating effect.
The response from the fans to these changes has been overwhelmingly positive, and the baseball industry has taken notice as well. Both Baseball America and D1Baseball.com have consistently rated Plainsman Park in their Top Ten College Baseball venues over the past few years.
The immediate area around Plainsman Park is the Auburn Athletic area of the campus. It lies in the shadow of Jordan-Hare Stadium and is across the street from the Auburn Arena. The Auburn campus is known for its natural beauty and the historic architecture of its buildings.
Just across College Street from the campus is the downtown area of the city of Auburn. The city has always been known as the “loveliest village on the plain” as it has retained its small town feel despite great growth in the size of the university. Most of the stores lining College Street are of the mom and pop variety with local ownership. Toomer’s Drug Store is a “must see” when visiting Auburn, as it buoys “Toomer’s Corner,” the site of all Auburn’s greatest victory celebrations. It has an old-fashioned soda shop and serves its own brand of lemonade.
Most of the top restaurants and entertainment facilities are found along College Street, which forms an eastern border to the campus. Favorites along this stretch include BurgerFi and Amsterdam Cafe. The closest lodging to the campus is the Auburn Conference Center and Hotel. A majority of the lodging options in Auburn are found in between I-85 and the Auburn campus.
No matter what the sport, Auburn fans are known for being loud (both in volume and in their blue and orange attire) and proud. The baseball team has given the fans every reason to be proud, given the program’s successful history over time. You will hear the term “War Eagle” incessantly, both as a cheer for a great play or to simply acknowledge a fellow Auburn fan. Auburn goes by several nicknames, including “Tigers,” “War Eagles” or “Plainsmen.” Auburn fans are also known for their politeness, even to supporters of the opposing team (except the University of Alabama). When you visit Auburn, you are considered “company,” and company is always treated with respect.
Auburn University goes the extra mile in accommodating its fans. While it does everything possible to get fans inside the stadium, it also has established viewing areas outside the stadium as well. “The Platform” is a raised area behind the right center field wall that is restricted to students only. Two other popular viewing areas for the general public are the terraced area behind the left field wall and the Stadium Parking Deck, which overlooks the entire field from behind the third base line.
Auburn is located 60 miles east of Montgomery and 100 miles southwest of Atlanta. The Auburn campus is easy to reach via exit 51 off I-85. You will simply head north for 7 miles as it becomes College Street. To get to Plainsman Park, you will simply turn left at Samford then right on Donohue to one of three parking facilities set aside for baseball parking (the Coliseum parking lot, the Auburn Arena parking lot or the Stadium parking deck.) The Stadium Deck is by far the most preferable as it overlooks the baseball field. The university has no problem with fans watching the game from the parking deck at no charge!
Plainsman Park is very easy to navigate, as its most recent renovations widened the concourses and added additional concession areas and restrooms.
Return On Investment 4
The cost of attending an Auburn game is quite reasonable. Tickets are $8 for non-conference games and $10 for all SEC contests. The concessions sold at Plainsman Park are not expensive compared to many large university stadiums. There are several parking options available both on and off campus. Lots on campus are typically free on weekends and town lots are usually around $5.00.
The full name of Plainsman Park honors Jimmy Samford, the late Auburn board member who championed the 1998 upgrades and Jimmy and Billy Hitchcock, two brothers who were both All American baseball players for Auburn. The Hitchcock’s went on to play in major league baseball and held managerial posts later in their lives.
The outfield walls are imprinted with graphics bearing the names of Auburn’s Baseball Hall of Fame members…. Bo Jackson, Frank Thomas, Gregg Olson and Tim Hudson.
The Lovelace Hall of Honor is located just across the street from Plainsman Park in the Auburn Arena. The Hall of Honor is part museum and part Hall of Fame. It honors the greats from all Auburn sports, but also has exhibits about unique Auburn traditions, important events in the development of the athletic program and a salute to Auburn fans for their loyalty. The main team store for all sports is located adjacent to the Hall of Honor.
A final extra goes to Toomer’s Drugs for its long history and the important role it plays in the Auburn community.
In a conference where football usually rules, the experience at Plainsman Park is just as special. The renovations and upgrades over the years have made a trip to a ball game in the Loveliest Village something fans will always look forward to.
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