Friday, April 17, 2009

My review of Southern League stadiums

Since Baseball America ranked the top three stadiums in the Southern League in its latest issue, I figured I'd give my opinion. For me, though, there are two ways to rank them: as a sports writer and as a fan. Each has varied criteria.

Sure, some are the same. We all want a nice setting, convenient parking and good sightlines. As a fan, you also want good concessions, a wide concourse and comfortable seats. As a writer, I need space to work and easy access to the clubhouses.

With that, I'll rank them both ways, as I see 'em. (I'm leaving out Chattanooga and Tennessee for a very specific reason. I've never been to a game at either stadium.)

1. Birmingham -- easy choice, even before the renovations two (?) years ago
2. Mississippi -- a little more room than Jacksonville, longer walk to clubhouses, shorter to car
3. Jacksonville -- foul balls a constant threat
4. Montgomery -- can get cramped quickly; main parking distant
5. Carolina -- one clubhouse past LF pole, other past RF pole
6. Huntsville -- sizable press box, but not sizable desk space, and it's enclosed
7. Mobile -- smallest press area, only field access is through the stands
8. West Tenn -- the clubhouses are past the LF wall and the only way to get there from the press box is via the 1B dugout

1. Jacksonville -- best surroundings, though too many ads
2. Montgomery -- extend pads to top of LF, CF rails already
3. Mississippi -- retro look, modern feel with BassPro Shop a short walk away
4. Birmingham -- concourse not wide enough
5. Carolina -- two-tiered seating odd, high-angled upper deck
6. Mobile -- seating arrangement odder, leaves fans with major blind spots
7. West Tenn -- too few fans hurts atmosphere
8. Huntsville -- built in one offseason and looks like it

1 comment:

William Lee Coleman III said...

I recently wrote a review for Hank Aaron Stadium and Riverwalk Stadium for a different viewpoint: