Newspaper article The Tuscaloosa News

Alabama Plays Opening Game at New Ballpark

Newspaper article The Tuscaloosa News

Alabama Plays Opening Game at New Ballpark

Article excerpt

Let the record reflect that the first pitch inside the new Sewell- Thomas Stadium was a fast-ball strike right down the middle. It was the start of a 1-2-3 inning, an appropriate beginning to the new beginning of the University of Alabama's $42.5 million baseball stadium.

There was a light show just before first pitch, the lights on top of the stadium shut off before displaying blinking LED lights that created a raucous atmosphere, especially in the student section in right field, that showed just what the new stadium is capable of -- namely entertaining a sold-out crowd.

Entertainment was the highlight of the evening and that didn't even include a close game on the field. From the playground in left field for children, to the student-only section in right field that provided a top-notch competitive atmosphere, to the splashy .525 and Home Plate clubs, the new Sewell-Thomas Stadium offered amenities that should keep fans entertained in UA's newest marvel in facilities.

In the .525 Club, two bartenders tended a fully stocked bar complete with four beers on tap, including one from Tuscaloosa's own Druid City Brewing Co.

An observant staff also made sure the buffet was fresh and appetizing, serving teriyaki beef stir fry, shrimp fried rice and vegetable spring rolls.

Paul Bryant Jr., who Director of Athletics Bill Battle credited along with the late Mal Moore for their behind-the-scenes work in making the stadium a reality, watched the game in the enclosed club with a crimson hat with a script 'A.'

In the club seats just outside, former UA player Scott McClanahan (1998-2002) doted on his family, holding one daughter in his left arm and lap while another daughter danced in and out his right arm. His wife, seated a few rows up, watched after the couple's other children.

McClanahan sat next to his baseball steering committee member, Roger Myers, who sat with his wife Sherry, as he kept his own scorecard.

All were instrumental in making Friday night such a success, their love of baseball such that they spent many personal hours helping to raise funds and work with UA athletic officials to make sure the new stadium had everything it needed to be competitive in the ultra-competitive SEC. …

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