The Birmingham Barons have announced that Baseballparks.com has named Regions Field as their Ballpark of the Year for the 2013 season. Regions Field is the 16th ballpark to earn this award since 2000, joining previous winners AT&T Park in San Francisco, PNC Park In Pittsburgh, PETCO Park in San Diego and Minor League ballparks including AutoZone Park in Memphis and Pensacola BayFront Stadium in Pensacola.
The honor is awarded annually to the new baseball stadium with the best combination of superior design, attractive site selection and fan amenities. The plaque representing the award will be presented by Joe Mock, site webmaster of Baseballparks.com, at a Birmingham Barons home game in April of next season.
"The 2013 season and the opening of Regions Field has been an incredible moment for the Barons organization and the Birmingham community," the Logan family said in a statement. "To receive this national recognition is quite an honor. There are so many people and organizations that have contributed to the development, design and construction of this ballpark and this award along with the local support and reaction definitively proves that Regions Field is a one of a kind ballpark that offers something for everybody."
"We are so proud of the success of Regions Field," said Birmingham Mayor William Bell. "To see the diverse crowds, the excitement and the good old fashioned fun at the stadium has really generated a sense of community. We look forward to many years of success for this field."
Mock, who wrote the review of Regions Field which appeared on both Baseballparks.com and in the May 8-14 edition of USA Today Sports Weekly, used words like "ground breaking" and "game changing" when describing the ballpark while adding, "everything about Regions Field is a special touch. That's what creates the magic". When his review was posted in early May, a record number of visitors and increased traffic temporarily crashed the site, something that had never happened before in the site's history.
Regions Field is the second straight Southern League ballpark to win this honor, with Pensacola Bayfront Stadium having earned the award in 2012. That fact wasn't lost on league president Lori Webb. "I'm looking forward to attending another plaque presentation ceremony," she exclaimed when told of the news.
"It was exciting to learn that Regions Field was chosen by Baseballparks.com as the 2013 Ballpark of the Year," Webb added. "Regions Field is a beautiful, tremendously functional park and one that our league, the Barons and the entire Birmingham community can be very proud of. They have definitely raised the bar, once again, in the Southern League and throughout Minor League Baseball."
HKS Architects were chiefly responsible for the ballpark's design. "HKS couldn't be more excited by the news," said Andy Henning, Associate Principal at the firm. "Our experience working with the Birmingham Barons and City of Birmingham was incredibly rewarding because it was based on a shared passion for creating a ballpark of Birmingham. We are so pleased with the results and thrilled to see how well the facility has been received by fans of the Barons and those throughout the Birmingham area and beyond."
"The architects of the parks that were finalists all did outstanding work," added Mock. "In the end, Regions Field was the one that was ground-breaking. Its views of the skyline and Red Mountain, incredible banquet hall and steel-mill exterior are just a few of its outstanding features. Truly, Minor League parks of the future will be measured against the new facility in Birmingham."
"Regions is proud to have been a part of the team that brought Regions Field downtown," said Regions North Central Alabama Area President Bill Horton. "Its development and the growth we're seeing around it has been great for this community. We applaud the citizens and fans of the Barons for coming out and making this great venue a success."
"Regions Field, an extension of Railroad Park, embraces the city and community with it's many views into and out of the ballpark," said Creig Hoskins, Owner of the Birmingham-based Hoskins Architecture. "This award will bring great recognition to the ballpark and the surrounding community."