We saw the beginning of the NCAA baseball season this past weekend, and perhaps the biggest event on the ballpark side: the University of Alabama unveiled a renovated Sewell-Thomas Stadium.
The Crimson Tide played last season at the Hoover Met while the team’s ballpark was renovated to the tune of $42.5 million. The new Sewell-Thomas Stadium is a major upgrade, both for players and for fans, and it’s definitely the biggest news in college-baseball facilities this year. For players, freestanding indoor practice facility was added to the mix, as well as upgraded workout and clubhouse spaces. But the biggest changes were on the fan side, where the experience was significantly upgraded, per the Tuscaloosa News:
There was a light show just before first pitch, the lights on top of the stadium shut off before displaying blinking LED lights that created a raucous atmosphere, especially in the student section in right field, that showed just what the new stadium is capable of — namely entertaining a sold-out crowd.
Entertainment was the highlight of the evening and that didn’t even include a close game on the field. From the playground in left field for children, to the student-only section in right field that provided a top-notch competitive atmosphere, to the splashy .525 and Home Plate clubs, the new Sewell-Thomas Stadium offered amenities that should keep fans entertained in UA’s newest marvel in facilities.
In the .525 Club, two bartenders tended a fully stocked bar complete with four beers on tap, including one from Tuscaloosa’s own Druid City Brewing Co.
An observant staff also made sure the buffet was fresh and appetizing, serving teriyaki beef stir fry, shrimp fried rice and vegetable spring rolls.
The game against the University of Maryland was sold out, with 5,867 fans tallied.
“I think (the stadium and atmosphere) was everything we thought of when this thing started to come into fruition,” said Alabama head coach Mitch Gaspard. “I think this stadium brings interest from the fanbase. By them being here and having that energy, it affects your players and motivates them as well. I thought you saw that tonight as the crowd was a part of the energy that we gave out on the field.”
Photo by Daniel Melograna, courtesy University of Alabama.
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