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Official Review by Marc Viquez, Stadium Journey Special Correspondent
Paterson Field has been the home field to various baseball programs since it opened its doors in April of 1949. Originally known as Municipal Field until it was renamed after local citizen Williams Burns Paterson two years later. It was the home field of the Detroit Tigers Southern League entity Montgomery Rebels for 16 seasons from 1965-1980, and then the Montgomery Wings of the Southeastern League for three seasons from 2001-2003.
The 7,000-seat stadium has also served home to the Alabama State University Hornets, high school baseball teams, the NCAA Division II Championships and in 2013 the Tuskegee University men's’ baseball team, whose campus is 40 miles east of town.
It has also been the site of the Montgomery Metro Baseball League’s all-star game and home run derby since 2006. The MMBL is a collegiate league that features eight teams throughout the capital area that play from May to August. The annual all-star festivities are held each year at Paterson Field providing yet another inning for the venerable ballpark.
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There are about a dozen different items to choose from at the lone concession stand. All of the prices are under $3 and feature the classic ballpark staples of hot dogs, burgers, popcorn, pretzels and nachos. There are also chili dogs and an assortment of candies available. The stadium does offer both hot dog and hamburger combos that include a drink and bag of chips for $4.50 and $5.25 respectively. A regular 24-ounce soda costs $2.50, somewhat pricey in comparison to the other items.
The game itself is quiet and definitely not your usual minor league, or even wood bat league crowd. For an event that is played in an erstwhile minor league facility there is indeed a very low key atmosphere from the fans. If you are fan of just watching a game without the bells and whistles of in between inning promotions and loud sound effects, this could be your ideal spot.
The ballpark's light towers are located on the outside of the stadium and its bathrooms and main concourse is underneath the stands. There is a standard high school scoreboard and the bathrooms look as if they have not changed since the stadium's inaugural season.
The covered grandstand is split into two with the first five rows featuring theater-style seating and the rest composed of aluminum bleachers. Down each baseline are old wooden seats that are chipping away from aging. Could the ballpark use a little re-touching? Perhaps, but it appears to be in very sound condition and still looks good for its age.
Paterson Field is located in an older part of Montgomery, but it is close enough to downtown to enjoy activities as the riverwalk, Rosa Parks Museum, Old Alabama and the former Confederate White House. The cemetery adjacent to the ballpark is the final resting place of country legend Hank Williams and Confederate soldiers and generals. If you are hungry, visit The Egg and I for breakfast or enjoy slow cooked ribs at Dreamland.
Most of the people in attendance seem to be friends or family members of the players on the field. When one exceeds on the diamond there is a roar from his mom or girlfriend in the stands. These are the type of folks who have probably traveled all over the state and region to support their favorite baseball player.
The stadium is quite easy to travel to and from I-85; there is plenty of free parking and no hassle entering or leaving the ballpark.
Admission to the event is $5 for adults and $2 for children, with children wearing their summer league jersey admitted for $1.
Paterson Field is another old time ballpark whose likes are slowing disappearing, but thanks to collegiate leagues like the MMBL, they are able to provide baseball during the summer months
They play a lot of baseball in the southern states and they have plenty of older minor league facilities to showcase their talents. Paterson Field could be an ideal location for collegiate wood bat league if located in the Carolinas, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Kentucky or Indiana. Its days of minor league baseball are over, but not its days for baseball itself. If you're in the area and have a hankering for some diamond time, then Paterson Field is worth a visit.
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