First impressions can shape the ballpark experience, and the Birmingham Barons (Class AA; Southern League) seem to be keeping that in mind at Regions Field. Regardless of which entrance point they choose, fans are greeted by a stunning glimpse of the ballpark, setting the stage for what is ultimately one of the best game day experiences in Minor League Baseball.
With a red brick exterior mixed with steel, Regions Field has a very classic appearance that is meant to be viewed from multiple angles. The most eye-catching view is along 14th street, which is characterized by the signature BIRMINGHAM sign. Fans entering via Railroad Park will be greeted by a nicely-designed brick facade that features the Barons’ logo, while the outfield entrance is highlighted by an open view of the playing surface.
The appearance is well suited for a ballpark that embodies modern design, but also recalls a different time. Opening in 2013, Regions Field was approved by the City of Birmingham to bring the Barons back into the city limits, which they left in 1988 for a new stadium in suburban Hoover.
Expectations for what is inside of Regions Field are only raised by the exterior and, upon entry, the results meet and maybe even exceed those hopes. Regions Field features many of the modern amenities fans expect, including a spacious 360 degree concourse and a variety of individual and group seating options. As standard as these features are in newer ballparks, they seem to be utilized to their best in Birmingham, allowing Regions Field to shine even when bad weather hits, such as it did during this visit.
One of the best aspects of the Regions Field experience is how the Barons have has embraced the ballpark’s design. Given its spacious walkways, diverse seating options, and excellent sightlines, Regions Field is a ballpark that is perfectly suited for wandering throughout the game, and the Barons ensure that fans have the opportunity to see the action from multiple vantage points. The concourse features drink rails over the main seating bowl, and there are numerous picnic and courtyard spaces throughout the ballpark.
Regions Field’s group areas on the main concourse serve as versatile spaces, as they are open to all fans when unreserved. The centerfield picnic terrace is perhaps the most spacious, offering a tiered arrangement of picnic tables and a good view from behind the left centerfield wall. In left field, there is the Home Run Porch, where fans can take in the action from traditional stadium seats. Behind the Home Run Porch is the Parkside Picnic Area, a pregame spot that offers a relaxed setting.
The flexibility and openness of these spaces reflect the rest of the ballpark. The main seating bowl—which accommodates 8,500 fans—makes for a comfortable setting, as it features wide aisles and spacious seating. Fans who want a different setting can check out the general admission options, which include bleachers behind the right field wall and an outfield berm area.
Another well-executed element of the ballpark is the concessions, which offer plenty of options. Dreamland BBQ in centerfield is perfect for those who want some Southern flavor, while other stands—including Piper’s Pub and Grill, Tito’s Cantina, and The Sweet Spot—provide more signature items. The Barons are also keeping health-conscious fans in mind by providing salads, wraps, and fruit, as well as some gluten free items.
Regions Field is also a haven for craft beer lovers, as the Barons have tapped into Birmingham’s growing brewery scene. On the first base side, fans can grab a beer from one of Birmingham’s five breweries—Avondale, Cahaba, Ghost Train, Good People, and Trim Trab. For additional drink options, check out the Scrapyard bar on the outfield concourse. The full-service space features beer, plus a cocktail menu that includes a Red Baron—Maker’s Mark bourbon, mixed with Cruzan aged dark rum and cola.
On the merchandise side, the Barons have also stepped up with plenty of quality selection. The team store—located behind home plate, to the left of the main gate—features apparel from the likes of Nike, Under Armor, Russell, and others. The store has street front access, and is to the general public and non-game days and until a few hours before first pitch when the Barons are home.
The best advice for fans who plan on visiting Regions Field is to arrive early. While the ballpark offers plenty of amenities to keep spectators occupied before first pitch, the neighborhood surrounding Regions Field continues to change and gain new amenities. Railroad Park is worth a visit, not only for its views of Regions Field and the Birmingham skyline, but for the wide array of activities it offers.
For the pre and post-game crowd, Good People Brewing Company is located directly across 14th from the ballpark. Weather permitting, the outside areas of Good People make for a comfortable place to sit, and Regions Field’s scoreboard is visible from the front patio. Additionally, more restaurants are popping up around the area.
Birmingham is also now home to the Negro Southern League Baseball Museum, which opened last summer. Located behind the left field wall, the museum is open until 7:00 during the work week, giving fans plenty of time for a pre-game stop.
In the time that it has opened, Regions Field has succeeded in not only bringing the Barons back to Birmingham, but in redefining the city’s baseball experience. The ballpark is keeping the local fans happy, and it is a welcoming environment for any visitor.
All photos by Zach Spedden.