Photos by Lloyd Brown, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.86
Joe Lee Griffin Field 800 Lakeshore Drive Birmingham, AL 35229
Year Opened: 1958 Capacity: 1,000
Bulldogs, Bowdens, and the Baptists
Located just 5 miles south of Birmingham, Alabama is the suburb of Homewood and the home of Samford University. Founded in 1841, the school is affiliated with the Baptist Church and has a student body of 5,206. It is a liberal arts school with a highly regarded School of Law. Some of its most famous graduates include Cordell Hull, a former US Secretary of State and Nobel Prize winner; Charlie Crist, former governor of Florida and two members of the US Supreme Court. .
The Samford sports teams are known as the Bulldogs and they compete in the FCS-level Southern Conference. Home games are played at Joe Lee Griffin Field, a 1,000 seat on campus facility. Baseball has been played on the field since 1958, but the stadium infrastructure was not built until 2000. Numerous updates have been made to the field, including the installation of lights, a scoreboard and an entranceway in 2005. The press box was added in 2008 and the field received a new drainage system in 2016.
Food & Beverage 3
The food and beverage items served at Joe Lee Griffin Field are the usual baseball fare.There is a permanent stand at the venue.Items available include hot dogs ($2.50), nachos ($3), popcorn ($5), peanuts ($3), chips and candy ($1.50), and large cookies ($2).Beverages include Powerade ($3), Gold Peak Tea ($3), Coca-Cola beverages ($4), coffee ($2) and bottled water ($2).
One of the first things you notice upon arriving at Joe Lee Griffin Field is how well its architecture matches the Georgian Colonial style found in most of the buildings on campus. Even the dugouts mimic this style. These buildings literally loom over the field, so it flows very well. Griffin Field is constructed with brick throughout the stadium. There are no fences down the first or third baselines… just a knee-high brick wall.
The grandstand is positioned behind home plate in three aisles. The center aisle consists of stadium seat backs in the Bulldogs blue team colors and is reserved for season ticket holders. The two outside aisles are in the team’s alternate red colors and consist of bench back seats. The bleachers are elevated above field level, so there is not a bad seat in the facility. There are no special graphics on the field, with the exception of a small Samford Bulldog on the very basic scoreboard in right center field. Samford does not have a video board.
Griffin Field is located within the on-campus athletic complex at Samford. The Hanna Center is located behind the first base side of the stadium, while Siebert Stadium is located along the area behind the third baseline. The football stadium’s concession stand serves double duty during baseball season.
Though located in the suburb of Homewood, the Samford campus is located about 4 miles from the center of town. A car will be necessary to reach area restaurants and lodging facilities. The area surrounding the campus is primarily residential and both Homewood and its neighbor, Mountain Book are noted for their beautiful homes and great shopping choices.
A majority of the services a visitor would need when attending a Bulldog game will be found along Lakeshore Drive. The two closest lodging choices are the Courtyard Marriott Homewood (1.2 miles from the stadium) and the Hilton Garden Inn Homewood (4 miles from the stadium at the I-65 exit # 255). Popular restaurants in the area include Landry’s Seafood House and the Hickory Tavern. Great shopping can be found at the Brookwood Village just east of the campus. One other attraction worth your time is the Birmingham Botanical Gardens, located just two miles from Samford.
Even though the school is small, its long and successful baseball history has earned it a very dedicated fan base. Having the stadium on campus guarantees a good turnout by the student body and the alumni turn out in large numbers as well. The community in general realizes that Samford offers quality baseball on the field, a very convenient location with free parking adjacent to Joe Lee Griffin Field and low ticket and concession prices compared to the bigger schools.
The fans are very laid back in their approach to the games. They prefer to sit in their lawn chairs or sit on the hill overlooking the field to sitting in the bleachers. They are only separated from the action by a 3-foot-high brick wall. This does require them to be quite agile if there is a line drive into foul territory, as there is no netting or fence along the edge of foul territory.
The team has rewarded the fans with two trips to the College World Series appearances and two Southern Conference Championships since 2010.
Getting to a game at Joe Lee Griffin Field is very easy.Simply take exit #255 from I-65 (Lakeshore Drive). Go east for two miles. The Samford campus will be on your left on the hillside. Once on the campus, go left to reach the stadium. There are plenty of parking lots available to you on campus.
Return on Investment 4
Parking on the Samford campus is free on game days.All tickets are $8, with general admission seating. The concession prices at Joe Lee Griffin Field are extremely reasonable. A tour around the beautiful Samford campus costs nothing and it is well worth it to see the manicured grounds, especially during the spring, when it is in full bloom. There is also tremendous architecture found in many of the academic buildings.
Samford University is credited with the creation of the college homecoming. The tradition was begun in 1866 after the Civil War to welcome alumni back to their alma mater.
The school celebrates athletic wins and championships by raising the Victory Flag on the school circle in front of the Administration Building,
Samford is the first school in the nation to offer a program in Sports Analytics. Its Center for Sports Analytics uses statistical data in order to gain a strategic advantage in sports competitions.
Don’t expect to hear rap music or heavy metal music before the game or between batters. Samford stays true to its mission and plays either gospel music or contemporary Christian music during breaks.
If your travels find you in the Birmingham area in the spring, you owe it to yourself to try and catch a game at Samford’s Joe Lee Griffin Field.