Saturday, May 22, 2010

Rickwood, Would You?

This Huffington Post article on the current attempts to preserve and defend Rickwood Field (America's oldest professional baseball stadium) in Birmingham, Alabama, seemed reason enough to mention our stop there in 2007. We weren't there at the right time for the Rickwood Classic, but we went over anyway. As is often the case on these trips, I didn't quite see the point of this outing at first, but Rob persisted and was proved correct. Although there was some token evidence of maintenance staff, there was no one around in the rain, so we walked right in.

The field seems to be more loved as an idea than as a fact—it's hard to picture a full season of games in this rickety contraption. But the subterranean feel to the areas underneath the stands isn't that different from Fenway or Wrigley, really, if much smaller.

The surrounding half-abandoned half-industrial neighborhood is descrepit and unlovely, but we didn't find much to love about the home that the Barons opted for instead of this after the 1987 season—a concrete bowl a dozen miles south of town.

In fairness, we seem to have been there just prior to a minor renaissance. The field's blog lists an increasing number of events beginning in 2007, and the classic is no longer the only event of the year. Still, it's going to take a lot more resources—in a county all but bankrupted by the crimson undertow of derivatives-related shenanigans—to make this a genuine going concern. Michael Jordan (a Baron in 1994), are you listening?

1 comment:

  1. Nested within the Huffington Post article is a link to "10 Great Places for a Baseball Pilgramage," of which Rickwood is one, as it usually is in this kind of list. I read with satisfaction that Melvin and I have been to half of the sites; the other four being The Dell Diamond, Mike Lansing Field, Bricktown Ballpark, and Fifth Third Field.