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Official Review by Paul Donaldson, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
The Ole Miss baseball experience at Oxford-University Stadium - Swayze Field offers one of the best all-around fan environments, not only in college baseball, but in all of sports. The experience is one any sports fan would enjoy, and is a must-stop for baseball fans.
Since 2009, Ole Miss baseball has swooned support, finishing in the top five in attendance. In 2015, the ballpark averaged just under 8,000 per game. Listed capacity is 8,500, though only 6,100 of those are traditional seats; general admission seating in the outfield is designed specifically for fold-out chairs and a tailgating-style experience.
The ballpark opened in 1989 and has been renovated multiple times (in 2003 and 2009). Lines at Swayze Field are 330-365-390-365-330.
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".
Swayze Field offers a solid variety of concession options throughout the ballpark. One of the unique features of the ballpark is the ability to bring in tailgating supplies and food in the outfield seats.
Concession stands are located in the concourse behind home plate and towards the end of both baselines. Options vary depending on which you choose, though each will carry the basics in terms of hot dogs (Hebrew National - $4), nachos, popcorn, and peanuts. The main stand behind home plate offers BBQ nachos and sandwiches from Chops BBQ. The stands down the baselines serve cheeseburger and chicken strip baskets as well as pizza slices from Old Venice Pizza Co., a local favorite restaurant.
Soda options are headlined by Coca-Cola products. Bottomless fountain sodas are available for $6, while a small non-refillable is $4. Bottled Dasani water is available for $3. Alcoholic beverages are not sold at Swayze Field.
The real food and drink benefit comes in terms of bringing your own tailgate. The seating in the outfield areas are designed for fold-out chairs and ice chests. Permanent tailgate style grills are installed throughout this area as well allowing fans to combine the tailgate and in-game experiences. Fans are allowed to bring in alcoholic beverages in the outfield only, but glass bottles are not allowed. To reserve a pit, contact the Ole Miss Athletics Department.
The atmosphere at Swayze Field is one of the elite in college baseball. A permanent concrete grandstand wraps from both outfield walls and behind home plate. All of the seats in this area are hard plastic chairbacks with cupholders. An overhead awning covers seats from first base to third. Suites are available along with box seats at the top of the grandstand.
If traditional seating isn't your style, be sure to pack up the tailgate supplies and sit in the outfield. The rows at the top of the outfield section offer the best views (the row closest to the bottom can be impacted by the outfield wall. A small score panel sits in front of the outfield wall allowing fans to keep up with the score and abbreviated stats.
Beyond the foul pole in left field you'll find a kids play area sure to keep the little ones busy and running off energy.
A massive video scoreboard sits beyond left center field. It adds the benefits of HD video replay, graphics and detailed statistics. You'll also get the popular dance and kiss cams common at sporting events. Video info graphic boards are located just beyond first and third base foul lines.
The Ole Miss game production crew does a good job of mixing in a blend of organ music, popular music, and promotions. You'll love the 'solo cup race' which is a play on Milwaukee's sausage run. A red, blue, and yellow solo cup mascot race down first baseline.
O-U Stadium is located on the southeast corner of the Ole Miss campus adjacent to Vaught-Hemingway Stadium and The Pavilion at Ole Miss. The University of Mississippi is located in the northern part of the state and Oxford (technically, the incorporated area is known as "University, MS"). While the area may be a little short on well-known attractions, it's a fantastic college town with Old South charm.
There is a short list of restaurants to be sure to visit while in town. Arguably the best cheeseburger in the region can be had at Handy Andy Grocery. The place doesn't look like much (it's a converted small grocery), but it's a friendly, neighborhood atmosphere on the inside with good ole-fashioned greasy cheeseburgers as well as a few barbecue options. Downtown at The Square, there's several great restaurants ranging from up-scale to family diners. Give Ajax Diner a try. They offer a delicious assortment of southern cuisine dishes (both the chicken fried steak and meatloaf dishes are amazing). Phillip's Grocery is also a great stop for burgers.
While Oxford isn't overflowing with attractions and entertainment, there's definitely a few stops worth making. Any visit to Ole Miss requires a stop at "The Grove." While it won't be beaming with usual activity during football tailgates, it's still a nice central stopping point on the Ole Miss campus. Bring a football and a throw blanket. You'll definitely want to spend some time in the Oxford's The Square. From restaurants, to coffee, shops, and bars, it's the central hub of activity in town. Off Square Books is a really cool local bookstore if you're interested in a little quiet time. Keeping with the book theme, one of the hot attractions in town is William Faulkner's house (Rowan Oak).
While lodging can become a major problem during football season with 1-star hotels ramping up prices in the $150 range, options for baseball season are much easier (and more affordable) to find. Consider a stay at the Holiday Inn-Oxford (112 Heritage Dr).
Ole Miss enjoys some of the best fan support in all of college baseball. The program is regularly in or near the top five in attendance each year, averaging about 8,000 per game. Ole Miss fans remain in the game supporting their pitchers when in a jam and getting loud after big plays.
There are several neat game day traditions from random outbreaks of the infamous "Hotty Toddy" chant, to fans pumping their fists in unison to "Love is Gone" (players in the dugout join in as well). When the opposing team huddles on the mound, a clip of the popular "Peanut Butter Jelly Time" song/skit from an episode of Family Guy is played. As this tradition has grown, some fans have joined in the fun bringing maracas to the ballpark and shaking along with the song.
The student section is located in the outfield seats in right field. This area typically overflows with rowdy student tailgaters. This might be, hands-down, the best student section in all of college baseball. Not only are the grills lit, but students are allowed to bring in adult beverages. After home runs, it's customary to toss the alcohol from your cup up into the air (this is known as a "beer shower"). This is one of the more unique and outrageous traditions in college athletics.
Access in and around Swayze Field is a mixed experience.
The University of Mississippi is located in the northern part of the state in the city of Oxford (technically, the university is in an incorporated city know as 'University, MS'). The ballpark is on the southeast corner of the campus adjacent to several other sports facilities. The area is accessible off I-55 from the north and south via Highway 287. There isn't much in the area in terms of major transportation, so you'll likely be driving into town.
Once you make it to campus, you'll find free parking, though the nearest lots will be reserved. Be prepared for a bit of a hike. Review the parking map below before heading to the ballpark.
The ticket office is to the left of the main entrance behind home plate. The line is relatively short and service is quick. If you are sitting in the grandstand, you'll want to enter behind home plate. If you are sitting in the outfield seats, you can enter directly behind center field.
The main concourse under the grandstand can get congested during peak periods. The concourse that runs through the seating area is fairly small and can get clogged, especially near the concession stands. Directly behind home plate, the concourse is very narrow and is a standing area for scouts...you'll want to avoid this area.
There are several restroom locations throughout the ballpark. You usually won't encounter a line, but most of the restrooms are fairly small.
The Ole Miss baseball experience is near the pinnacle of college baseball. General admission tickets start at $10 and reserved ranges from $15-$20. Considering the great experience, the price of admission is well worth it. Concessions are a bit on the high side, though parking is free (albeit with a bit of a hike).
Overall, the experience provides an excellent return on investment.
There are several 'extra' components at Swayze Field which help to enhance the overall experience.
In the main concourse under the grandstand, you'll find plenty of banners which honor former players and championships.
Bonus points here for the overall atmosphere, specially for the tailgate style outfield seats, the awning over the main grandstand, and the HD video board in the outfield.
If you're in need of Ole Miss gear, you can shop at the apparel store in the main grandstand.
While you're waiting in line for concessions, you can keep up with the game thanks to a live video feed and audio.
The kids play area at the end of the left field foul line takes the family friendly experience over the top.
Member Review by John Luke McCord on May 20, 2013
The 2013 Ole Miss Diamond Rebels got off to the best start in their history at 21-2. This hot start was due in large part to the 14-1 record they had at home, in the friendly confines of Swayze Field.
Since 2000, Swayze Field has been the site of two super regionals and five regionals. Each year since 2009, the Rebels have finished fourth or higher in attendance, including finishing second in 2011. O-U Stadium routinely averages over 7,000 fans a game each year. While the capacity is listed at 8,500 with 6,100 seats, the record attendance is 10,851 set in 2013.
The stadium opened in 1989. It is named after a former player and coach, Tom Swayze. It has since been renovated in 2003 and 2009 and is now widely considered one of the top venues in college baseball. It stretches 330 feet in the corners, 365 in the alleys and 390 feet to dead center.
Member Review by WesSparkmon on Jul 13, 2014
I have attended well over 100 games at Swayze Field, sat everywhere you can sit, and have always had a great time. Food options are fairly plentiful and decently priced. The best option is the all you can eat Diamond Club seats if you can get them. The stadium is across Gertrude Ford Blvd from the actual campus, which is one of the most beautiful campuses in America, and only about half a mile from the Oxford square. Tickets are $5 for non-conference games and $10 for conference games in the outfield sections and elevated general admission seating down the baselines. What really separates Swayze Field from most other college baseball stadiums is the outfield terraces. Left Field is the more "family-friendly" section in the outfield, whereas right field is the student section. As a non-student, sitting in seats down the first base line can give you a front row seat to the fun in right. After every Rebel home run, the now-infamous beer showers go up (YouTube it). Before the visitor's half of the inning, the outfield warm-up ball goes into the student section, where they write messages to the players. While the Rebels are at the plate, organized chants directed at the right and center fielders ring out all game long, with students usually having information on girlfriends, mothers, and sisters. All in all, the atmosphere at Swayze is simply hard to top anywhere in this country.
Member Review by KingfishCurtis on Mar 07, 2016
Love going to Swayze and watching games. Fans are in it and please let the home team hit a homerun....beer showers in the student section is worth the ticket. Loved when Mike Mayers would pitch on Sunday as his biggest fan would wear a Michael Myers face and the theme from Halloween would play! Great times for sure!
120 S 11th St
Oxford, MS 38655
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