On the Road: Past and Present in Birmingham
While I wait for my endorsement check from Microtel to arrive, I figured I may as well update this blog with the goings-on of what has been an unfathomably long day. What I’d like to do is regale you with anecdotes regarding my inability to comprehend the dashboard of my Mercedes Benz rental car (which I got at an economy price!), but that’s probably not why you’ve typed this particular URL into your browser of choice.
I’ll be attending the Rickwood Classic on Wednesday, an annual contest held in the oldest professional baseball stadium in America. So upon arriving in Birmingham early Tuesday afternoon, I drove over to the stadium for a self-guided tour (these are available to everyone during standard business hours, and something I highly recommend doing if you’re ever in Birmingham).
An article on my self-guided adventure tour can be located HERE. Consider this to be supplemental visual content.
Spanish Mission-style Ballpark Exterior:
The “Breezeway”, featuring pictures of Rickwood heroes as well as the faded starting line-up from the 2009 Classic:
Wear and Tear:
Tellin’ It Like It Is:
Rooftop Gazebo Press Box:
Right Field Grandstand (a later addition to the stadium, modeled after Forbes Field in Pittsburgh):
Scoreboard (from before the days of “ARI”, “FLA”, “TB”, and other such affronts to the natural order of things):
After touring Rickwood, I made the ill-fated decision to “guess” my way to the Microtel. Many wrong turns later, I arrived there in the midst of a violent downpour. This mini-monsoon subsided quickly, however, and therefore did not effect the day’s next chapter: Regions Park, current home of the Barons.
While 23-year-old Regions Park is no spring chicken, it sure felt like one compared to Rickwood. Although it boasts a Birmingham mailing address, the stadium is more accurately located in the nearby suburb of Hoover (a far different environment than Rickwood’s economically depressed surroundings).
The first impression I had of Regions was that it was spacious — although lacking an open concourse, there is a wide passageway that wraps around the stadium. This provides easy access to a wide range of vantage points.
And the press box is very impressive, a multi-level palace that has been the beneficiary of extensive renovations (as a result of Regions hosting the SEC college tournament). A full spread of food was provided as well, making me regret my desultory meal at a suburban “road house” that featured buckets of peanuts on every table.
Let’s go to the pictures, for the second and last time this evening.
View from the press box:
Inside the press box (palatial, by Double-A standards):
Seriously, the press box is huge:
Left Field Bleachers:
Plenty of Room to Move:
And, Finally, A Concessions Menu:
Can I get a round of applause for Cajun Roasted Peanuts?
At any rate, I was so preoccupied with various Rickwood-related conversations and copious picture-taking that I barely noticed the strong outing of Smokies’ pitcher Austin Bibens-Dirkx. Fortunately, my MiLB.com colleagues were there to pick up the slack.
Signing off from the Microtel,