Is there a better team name in minor league baseball than the Biscuits? An argument can’t easily be made against this, since the Montgomery Biscuits come complete with a butter-tongued biscuit logo on their cap. It’s minor league baseball naming convention at its finest. But there’s more to the Biscuits and Riverwalk Stadium than the delicious moniker.
The Biscuits in their current form have been in existence only since 2004, when the Rays' affiliate abandoned its Orlando, FL home at Champions Stadium in the Walt Disney Resort due to poor attendance. Although the Orlando stadium was state of the art, there’s just something much more true to minor league baseball about a beautiful local stadium in downtown Montgomery.
Riverwalk Stadium opened for the Biscuits of the Southern League in 2004 and seats 7,000. It’s built into a part of an old train station that was used as a Civil War prisoner camp, and blends perfectly into the surrounding landscape. It’s definitely one of the more charming minor league ballparks you’re likely to find.
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The most obvious food you'll find at a Biscuits game are.....well.....biscuits, of course. There's a stand that sells them almost immediately as you enter the park, and they even sell a strawberry shortcake biscuit. But the concessions don't stop there, as Riverwalk Park takes all of your normal ballpark cuisine and spices it up again. The most literal form of this would be at Franx, a specialty hot dog concession spot. The Firecracker is the most interesting choice, and isn't for the faint of stomachs. It's a hot dog topped with shredded spicy chicken, pepper jack cheese, jalapenos and chipotle mayonnaise on a massive pretzel bun. Make no mistake, you'll need napkins and silverware for this dog. As you make your way around the rest of the park, you'll have a number of other excellent food options, including specialty burgers, Mexican food, cheesesteak, Bavarian pretzels and sausages. Food is on the slightly pricey side, but I think that's more than justified considering the portions. A $6.75 hot dog is basically a plate of food for which you'll need a fork.
The park is also a great spot for grabbing a cold beer and relaxing. Down the first base line is the Club Car Bar, where you'll find cheap cold beer on draft and delicious local beer by the bottle. So grab a cold draft a pull up a stool at one of the arched openings and take in the game.
Laid back is how I would best describe a game at Riverwalk Stadium. There's just a lot of ambiance and comfort here. You can sit on the berm in right field and watch the trains go by just beyond the left field fence as the sun sets in the distance. You can grab a stool at the Club Car Bar and watch the game on TV or through the arches of the old train station. You can find a comfortable seat behind home plate with a gravy biscuit or a delicious hot dog to enjoy nine innings. Or you can stroll the concourse and enjoy the historic building that is Riverwalk Park.
Out of these, I have to say that the coolest nuance of the park is the trains that pass on a raised track almost immediately behind the left field fence. The best part of any baseball stadium from little league to the majors is the ability to bring in the city and its unique traits. From the ticket booths to the concourse to the trains themselves, the railyard history of Riverwalk Stadium can be felt everywhere.
The last note worth adding is the gift shop. It's located in the old building, and although there isn't anything particularly thrilling about the shop itself, the gear is some of my favorite in baseball. Monty is the buttermilk biscuit logo that is one of my personal favorites in the minors, and everything in the gift shop is adorned with his image.
Riverwalk Stadium is in a nicer area of Montgomery, with bars, restaurants and hotels within walking distance. The Alabama River is an easy walk and the riverfront offers a nice area with a children's water park area and an amphitheater. There are multiple nice hotels in the area, as well. The Railyard Brewing Company is less than a block away, and has some delicious local beers on tap, as well as good burgers if you don't want to eat in the park, but why would you not do that? The only reason this doesn't get a fifth star is because, quite honestly, the nicest Montgomery has to offer isn't the nicest you can find. The area seems like it's on the upswing, but don't expect a lot of action or excitement.
The fans at a Biscuits game are friendly and welcoming, just adding to the overall feet up, laid back experience. They aren't overly rowdy, but they are knowledgeable and enjoy their baseball. They turn out well consistently and enjoy their Biscuits. You do have a bit of a mixed bag, particularly for the Club House Bar in right field. Maybe it's a combination of the small amount of nightlife in Montgomery and the price of the beer at the bar, but there is a portion of the crowd that's there for the bar and not the game. But it's minor league baseball, so a degree of that is to expected. Overall, the fans show up in numbers with their welcoming passion.
It's a city stadium, so you'll have a drive through a bit of Montgomery to get there. If you come in from I-85, you'll get to pass the old capitol and government buildings, which make it a pleasant few blocks. The drive in from I-65 is somewhat less pleasant, but still easy enough. Parking is surprisingly easy for a city stadium. There is a ton of metered parking that is free after 6pm within easy walking distance to the stadium. In the absolute worst-case scenario, there's garage parking across the street for $5 that's easy to get in and out of.
Once in the stadium, the concourses are easy and actually enjoyable to navigate. You have views of the field from everywhere around the park. Restrooms are easily accessible on both the first and third base sides. It actually seems like a smaller park than it is, which is a pro for Riverwalk Stadium. Overall, Riverwalk Stadium is a very walkable park.
Tickets for a Biscuits game run $8, $10 or $12 (add $1 on game day purchases), depending on where you want to sit. That's about average for a minor league experience, and with Riverwalk Stadium being a nicer experience than most, it's definitely worth the trip. With parking being free or cheap and food portions being huge, this definitely qualifies as a good investment on the Minor League Baseball scale.
There's definitely enough here to give some bonus points. A beautiful park built into the historic railway area of Montgomery is a unique feature you won't find anywhere else. Monty the Biscuit logo is awarded a point for another unique feature. Don't you have to own one of these shirts from the gift shop?
Overall, Montgomery Riverwalk Stadium is a quiet little gem of a ballpark. It's not grandiose and shiny like its northern neighbor in Birmingham and or an ocean paradise like its southern neighbor in Pensacola. But it's local, friendly and casual and gives you the feeling that you've found something special that only a few know about, as opposed to making a pilgrimage to a sports mecca that everyone has seen. It's definitely worth getting in on that secret and enjoy a biscuit while you're there.
I finally found what I have been searching for- the perfect minor league baseball venue! I will be perfectly honest, I was not very excited about having to drive all the way to Montgomery, Alabama just to visit Riverwalk Stadium and watch the Montgomery Biscuits play baseball. After all, who would name their team "The Biscuits" anyways? I was beginning to think I was right after I had a little trouble finding the exit off of I-65 due to some road construction. After I solved that mystery I began to make my way from the interstate down towards the stadium. The first few blocks I drove through looked a little like a ghost town, but as I got closer to the stadium I thought to myself, 'Wow, was I ever wrong about this place!'
The city of Montgomery has done a fantastic job with Riverwalk Stadium as well as the area around it. From the moment I got close enough to see the lights of the stadium towering over historic downtown Montgomery, I knew I had stumbled upon something special!
As I entered the downtown area I started to notice that the streets were full of people all making their way from their cars and the restaurants toward the river and Riverwalk Stadium. I parked in one of several city parking lots and just fell in with the crowd. The next thing that caught my attention was the large law enforcement presence, that is always a plus for me when I am in an unfamiliar city. I hooked up with a small group of people carrying lawn chairs just as they entered a pedestrian tunnel that passed under the old railroad yard that runs along the city's riverfront. When we emerged on the other side we were right on the river's edge and we all took a right and headed toward the stadium about a block away. To my surprise we came upon a dance recital in progress at an amphitheater next to a children's Splash Pad adjacent to the stadium. Ballerinas were dancing in the spotlights with the Alabama River as their backdrop just as an old paddlewheel steamboat was passing by, it was a surreal and beautiful sight.
Some of the group I had been following broke away and made their way down toward the amphitheater with their lawn chairs in tow, while myself and a few others continued on toward the stadium. As we made our way over to the Montgomery Biscuits ticket booth I began to grasp just how unusual Riverwalk Stadium was designed. The entire first base side of the structure had once been an old train station that extends from behind home plate almost out to the fence in right field. The addition of the train station in the design really gave this ballpark character. That old train station now contains 6 of the stadium's 20 luxury suites as well as some of the Riverwalk's concession areas and an entertainment space available for parties called the Club Car. I was really impressed with what I had seen so far, so I really couldn't wait to get inside to have a closer look.
Riverwalk Stadium is one of the nicer minor league parks. They really know how to put on a good time here in Montgomery. During my trip the fans were great, the staff was polite and helpful for an out of towner. I would highly recommend taking in a game here if you are in town.
Montgomery is the perfect place to watch a ballgame, also the perfect place to become a rabid fan of the local minor league team. Not only is the ballpark a cathedral, the wonderful blend of new and old, but the team sells it's history, in a way most teams don't. On of the mantras that you hear in MiLB, is "Sell the event, not the team." It makes sense, some. With player movement being like it is in MiLB, they don't see the point in 'selling' players, if they may be gone in a month. Most places, sell you fireworks and discount drink promotions. The Montgomery Biscuits give you a chance to by David Price bobbleheads, Evan Longoria shirseys, and Matt Moore posters.
You get the opportunity to feel like a part of the team and a piece of it's short history, not just some guy who got sold tickets to a postgame concert,.... oh, by the way, there happens to be a baseball game before the concert.
Montgomery Riverwalk Stadium debuted in 2004 and returned minor league baseball back to Alabama’s capital city for the first time in 25 seasons. The 7,000-seat stadium partially incorporates an old Civil War building as part of the stadium that sets it apart from the rest of the league and industry. The unique design blends in nicely to the historic downtown buildings and offers an interesting day or night at the ballpark. You are more than likely going to have a good time at this wonderful ballpark.
While the park might be a slight "misnomer" as Riverwalk Stadium is not right by the river (albeit close), the place is still a gem to take in a ballgame. The Biscuits are one of the more unique named teams in the Minors, the stadium also has a unique feel to it as it was built off an old train depot and has some unique quirks to the park as well.
FOOD & BEVERAGE: They added "gourmet dogs" such as macaroni & cheese hot dogs and a few others. You also have a wide variety of nachos, cheesesteaks, and yes, biscuits. Regardless of what you get, you can't go wrong. The biscuits are great, the dogs are great, and the cheesesteaks are awesome.
ATMOSPHERE: Definitely a minor league feel to this park. However, probably because it was a Sunday game and the place wasn't half capacity, it didn't have the same feel as you probably get on a Friday or a Saturday, but you still got Minor League ball and it was also "Dog Day." So you have those fun Minor League promotions.
NEIGHBORHOOD: It is in the downtown area which means plenty of eats around. You also have the riverfront which is walking distance from the park. Overall, it is in a nice area. I wouldn't wander too far out though.
FANS: Again, probably because it was a Sunday game and the Biscuits got into an early hole, but the fans seemed somewhat lukewarm on the game. They were friendly however.
ACCESS: You get off of I-85 and you take a few roads to get to the place. It is relatively simple. Unless you see the lights, you actually won't know where the park was because it is an old train depot on the outside. Parking is relatively plentiful, though the drawback is you pay $5 before 6:00, even on Sundays.
ROI: Ticket prices are decent with $10 being right at the dugout. Food prices are a little pricey, but to me it is well worth it. Souvenir prices are pretty standard.
EXTRAS: I like the idea of using the old train depot as part of the stadium. The scoreboard is probably the best one I've seen in the Minors with the thing being high definition. The park itself has a clean feel and you can walk around the park and see the wall being curved inward. The employees were very friendly and considerate and even the players after a game will talk it up with the fans. Definitely worth a visit.
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