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Official Review by Lloyd Brown, Stadium Journey Special Correspondent
Auburn University has one of the most storied athletic programs in the NCAA as it has a number of Heisman Trophy winners, National Championships in several sports and athletes who have excelled on the field (Bo Jackson, Pat Sullivan, Cam Newton) the court (Charles Barkley) and the pool (swimmer Rowdy Gaines). The University now has a student body of greater than 27,000, and is located in the true “college town” of Auburn, Alabama.
The Auburn softball program has been in existence since 1997. During its history, the Lady Tigers have made 15 SEC Tournament appearances, 11 NCAA appearances and in 2015 reached their first-ever College World Series finals. This in indicative of the dramatic improvement the program has seen in recent years. The Lady Tigers now appear in the top 10 in the NCAA rankings on a consistent basis.
The Lady Tigers have called Jane B. Moore Field their home since 1998. They previously played at the city of Auburn’s municipal sports complex. The move to the Auburn campus was a major boost to recruitment and fan support for the team. The athletic department’s plan in designing the field was to have it resemble the top-rated Plainsman Park, home of the men’s baseball program… just on a smaller scale. Since the opening of the park, it has undergone three expansions and upgrades. It now seats 2,316 people. The field is named for Dr. Jane B. Moore, a professor in the Department of Health and Human Performance for 28 years, and a leading proponent of women’s sports at Auburn for many years.
The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:
Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
Within Jane B. Moore Field, there are two primary concession stands. The Double Play Grill features more of a hot menu, including the Bo-dacious (as in Bo Jackson) Burger for $8; chicken fingers with fries for $8; a corn dog with fries for $8 and a regular hot dog for $3. The Hall of Fame Café has a somewhat broader menu, including Grand Slam Nachos for $9; a pulled pork sandwich for $8; the War Eagle Dog (a foot-long covered with slaw) for $8; popcorn for $4; pretzels or peanuts are $4; candy goes for $3; and chips or sunflower seeds are $2. All drink selections are Pepsi brand, and a 32-ounce soda costs $6; a 24-ounce soda is $4 and bottled water is $2. No food or beverages may be brought into the stadium and no alcoholic beverages are available at the stadium.
Following the Lady Tigers' first-ever run to the Women's Softball World Series in 2015, Auburn has greatly enhanced Jane B. Moore Field's amenities and fan experience. Every stadium seat at the field has been replaced with new seatbacks with cup holders. Due to heightened attendance at the games, the seating capacity of the field has increased from 1,500 to 2,316, greatly reducing the need for standing-room only tickets. In addition, the entry plaza into the stadium has been greatly expanded to handle the bigger crowds. This includes extra concessions areas and more restroom facilities. The scoreboard in left field boasts the latest in matrix technology, allowing replays, statistics and other graphics to be displayed with stunning clarity. Atop the scoreboard is a statue of one of Auburn's many other nicknames, a War Eagle. The softball program prefers to stay with the Lady Tigers moniker, although the cry of War Eagle! will be heard constantly throughout the game. The enhanced amenities, larger crowds and quality performance on the field make every visit to Jane B. Moore Field an exciting experience.
The softball program is located on the southwest quadrant of the Auburn campus, in the school's athletic complex. Its neighbors include the soccer, track and field, and football practice facilities. Jordan-Hare Stadium and Auburn Arena are about five blocks northeast of Moore Field.
In the larger sense of the word neighborhood, the college town of Auburn is inseparable from the university which bears its name. The only thing dividing it from the school is the town's main street, College Avenue. Auburn has long been known as the "loveliest village on the plains," and the locals work hard to maintain that small-town charm. No visit to Auburn is complete without stopping at Toomer's Drug Store; located at the famed "Toomer's Corner" since 1896. This literally is the heart of the town, both geographically and emotionally. Toomer's lemonade is a required purchase during your stop.
Like any college town, there are large number of fast food locations and pizza parlors readily available to the campus. Two restaurants really stand out as something a little bit different from your usual college fare. The Hound serves breakfast, lunch and dinner and has a very eclectic menu. You can have your truly southern pimiento cheese sandwich, but will also be able to sample a lamb meatball sub. The selection from 28 craft beers and the cocktail menu will assure that everyone finds something suitable to their taste. Momma Goldberg's Deli is an Auburn institution. Its ambience is relaxed and very pro-Auburn. The walls are filled with Auburn memorabilia, and its clientele includes students, faculty and families that have made "Momma's" a weekly dining stop.
You will not find much lodging in the immediate downtown/campus area, as they are serious about preserving the small-town feel. The five miles between I-85 exit 51 and the downtown area are filled with virtually every brand of hotel/motel at very family friendly prices. These include the Holiday Inn Express, the Hampton Inn and the Quality Inn. The only significant increases in nightly rates come on Auburn football weekends, graduation and "move-in" week.
Auburn fans bleed blue and orange, no matter what the sport. The trip to the College World Series in 2015 has definitely energized the fan base. Moore Field is packed whether they are playing an SEC opponent or a small college from another conference. Auburn initiates its fans at a young age, as they heavily market to girls' youth softball teams and salute each one on the scoreboard at each game.
The passion for their Lady Tigers does cross the line, as Auburn fans are among the friendliest and most welcoming bunch of people you will ever meet. Again, the small-town values of Auburn translate into the actions of their fans. You are their guest, and a fan from an opposing school can count on a friendly welcome, no matter how important the game.
Free parking is located at the McWhorter Center at 1) the corner of Biggio Drive and West Samford Avenue, 2) in the gravel lot behind home plate and 3) along Biggio Drive adjacent to the intramural field. The concourse and seating bowl of the stadium have been greatly expanded in the last few years, which has greatly reduced the congestion and long lines of past years. The new seating installed after the 2015 season also provides for wider aisles and more leg room.
The ticketing situation at Auburn softball games is somewhat confusing. For several years, Auburn has sold out games and then offered $5 standing-room only seats. If you go to the online Auburn ticket site, the only prices shown are for season tickets and standing-room only tickets. To get a reserved seat, you need to go through a third-party ticket reseller at a premium price. Now that Auburn has added 800 more seats, there are many open seats in the lower bowl area that are unused. Hopefully, the ticketing situation will be updated soon. Parking is plentiful and free and hotels in the area are reasonably priced. The food prices, especially for hot grill items, is somewhat high when compared with other SEC schools' concession stands. The prices for items at the on-site team store are well within what you would expect.
Usually, the team mascot only appears for the football and basketball games at most schools. Not Aubie the Tiger -- he is at every home game and really interacts with fans in the stands. It is no wonder he is annually ranked in the top 10 mascots in the US by the NCAA .
Just a few blocks northeast of Moore Field is the Auburn Arena, home to the Auburn Sports Hall of Fame. It is well worth a visit, as it covers the elite accomplishments of athletes and team from virtually every sport Auburn offers
Toomer's Corner and Toomer's Drugs are a required pilgrimage anytime you are in town.
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100 N College St
Auburn, AL 36830
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2013 S College St
Auburn, AL 36832