Photos by Lloyd Brown, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 4.43
Oxford-University Stadium at Swayze Field 500-542 University Ave Oxford, MS 38655
Year Opened: 1988 Capacity: 10,323
Hotty Toddy…. A Baseball Party!
Oxford -University Stadium / Swayze Field has been the home of the Ole Miss Rebels baseball program since 1989. It has gone through numerous renovations over the years, bringing its present capacity to 10,715. The field is named for Tom Swayze, who led the baseball program for more than 20 years and remains the most successful Ole Miss baseball coach in history.
The school has a long history with baseball, as it first fielded a team in 1893. The Rebels have won seven SEC Season Championships, three SEC Tournament Championships, gone to twenty-one NCAA Tournaments and have appeared in five trips to the College World Series. The school has sent forty-six players on to play in major league baseball. Some of the more famous players include Don Kessinger and Jake Gibbs.
Food & Beverage 4
Swayze Field has multiple concession stands offering a wide variety of items. A sampling of the menu includes cheeseburger basket ($12), polish sausage basket ($12), chicken tender basket ($10), corn dogs ($6), hot dogs ($4), nachos ($4), pretzels ($5), BBQ basket ($10), grilled chicken Caesar wrap ($9), vegetable and hummus wrap ($9). Dessert items include popcorn ($3), cracker jacks ($4), peanuts ($4), candy ($4) and cotton candy ($4). Coca-Cola beverages are $4 and bottled water is $3.
Ole Miss also has two well stocked Fanatics team stores at Swayze Field.
Ole Miss has had some very successful teams in recent years, which has led to a need for increased seating and other improvements to the nearly 30 year old stadium. Improvements have included extending the lower level down both baselines to the foul poles, adding a club level of seating and the installation of a new video/scoreboard and ribbon boards around the front façade of the club level of the stadium. The left field terrace area features a family friendly area, which includes picnic tables, grills and a play area for the children. A rooftop plaza area for M Club members is currently under construction and should be complete in the near future.
The home of the University of Mississippi / Ole Miss is a town that almost always winds up on a “Top 10,” “Best of” or “Top” list, no matter what the category. Oxford, Mississippi is truly one of the top college towns in the country. It is probably best-known as the hometown of author William Faulkner, but authors John Grisham, Willie Morris and Barry Hannah have also lived here. Oxford is also home to the Lyric Theatre, one of the oldest performing arts facilities in the South, further cementing Oxford’s reputation as the “Cultural Mecca of the South.” Like to eat?… James Beard Award-winning chef John Currence has four restaurants in town. If your tastes are a little simpler, try the Oxford Canteen, a restaurant located in an old gas station… and highly recommended by both USA Today and Southern Living.
The Square serves as the heartbeat of Oxford, as the county courthouse is surrounded by buildings built in the late 1800’s. It is here that you will find shops, boutiques and the South’s oldest department store (Neilson’s in 1839). You will most likely find your favorite book at Square Books, one of top independent bookstores in the country. Restaurants in the area serve everything from BBQ to seafood and soul food. Music lovers flock to Oxford as one of the largest stops along the Mississippi Blues Trail. The Square is just east of the Ole Miss campus.
Ole Miss has a very rabid baseball fan base as the sport has had the most success of any sport in the Rebels athletic program. The program has ranked in the top three schools in Division I for the last five years and tickets typically sell out the first day they go on sale in February. The fans interact with the team very closely, as the players often lead cheers, songs and even dance between innings.
One segment of the Ole Miss fan base does not even have seats within the stadium technically. They reside in what is called the right field terrace, which is actually outside the stadium. This area is for Ole Miss students attending the game. They are definitely the rowdiest fans in the SEC, erupting into beer showers after a Rebel home run or win. Basically, a beer shower is caused by 1000 Dixie Cups full of beer being thrown into the air, and raining down on the students, who could care less. The thousand or so students who sit in this area are not counted in the stadium attendance. We will discuss some other Ole Miss traditions involving this group in the Extra’s section.
Oxford is most easily reached through the Memphis International Airport (MEM). It is approximately 90 miles southeast of Memphis via I-55 South and Hwy 278 East. Parking is available along the roads leading to the stadium at no charge. Once in the stadium access is excellent. There is a wide concourse running through the middle of the seating bowl. Aisles are wide enough to provide horizontal as well as vertical movement. The concession stands have multiple windows to facilitate quick service.
Oxford University Transit (OUT) offers frequent shuttles between the downtown area and the stadium.
Return on Investment 4
The face value of baseball tickets to an Ole Miss baseball game are $15 – $20 for a reserved seat and $10 for a General Admission / Standing Room Only seat. It is very doubtful that you will be able to find a reserved seat without going through a secondary ticket provider and paying a hefty premium. You do have a fair chance of scoring a Standing Room Only spot depending on the opponent and the weather. Parking adjacent to Oxford-University Stadium are reserved for season ticket holders. Parking downtown and taking the OUT shuttle or walking the short distance to the stadium are the most economical ways to reach the game.
Baseball legend Casey Stengel once served as a baseball coach at Ole Miss.
In addition to the beer showers, another Ole Miss baseball tradition is for an Ole Miss outfielder to hand a baseball to the student section before an inning starts. The students then write encouraging messages to the team on the ball, which is then returned to the player at the end of the inning. This is repeated before each inning of the game.
In between innings, Ole Miss features racing SOLO cups.
University – Oxford Stadium / Swayze Field is home to one of the most successful baseball programs in the SEC. Ole Miss is proud of its traditions, and the stadium has some traditions of its own. These include the beer showers in the student section after a Rebels home run, the Ole Miss team performing a synchronized dance routine in the dugout in the middle of the fifth inning and Hotty Toddy cheer being done by the fans. There is truly a close bond between the Ole Miss team and their fans, and the end of a game, win or lose, the players tip their caps to those in attendance.