I enjoyed my May visit to Birmingham’s Regions Field so much that upon a July return to Alabama, I headed 90 miles south to check out Southern League rival Montgomery’s yard. Capitalizing on unseasonably pleasant weather with temps in the low 80s didn’t bother this northerner either.
As a historically-cold Midwest winter finally wraps up near Memorial Day, we headed down south to kick off our 2014 campaign in Birmingham, Alabama. The state’s largest city opened a stellar new downtown ballpark in 2013 to replace suburban 25-year-old Hoover Metropolitan Stadium.
If you’re going to watch Independent league baseball in person, a 10:30 a.m. weekday start and temperatures hovering around 70 degrees with a breeze is hard to beat — even along the mean streets of the South Side of Chicago.
With nearly a half-million residents, Northwest Arkansas is one of the fastest growing regions in America. And when the Wichita Wranglers chose to move southeast following the 2007 Texas League season, Springdale, Ark., was pleased to be named the Kansas City Royals new Double-A affiliate. Arvest Ballpark responded in its debut season by being chosen Ballpark of the Year.
This serves as the eighth post in my third season of a series called “Down on the Farm” that chronicles visits to various minor league parks throughout the 2013 campaign. (All prior editions can be accessed here.)