Taylor Stadium - Missouri Tigers
Photos by Lloyd Brown, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.71
181 Research Park Dr
Columbia, MO 65203
Year Opened: 2002
Mizzou’s Tigers……. They’re Grrrrrrreat!
The University of Missouri has a storied athletic history with the very successful Norm Stewart years in basketball to the most recent championships in the form of the Missouri Tigers football team and their early success as the newest member of the SEC’s eastern division. The move to the SEC not only meant tougher competition on the field, but off the field as well. Four SEC baseball stadiums including Carolina Stadium (South Carolina), Dudy Noble Stadium (Mississippi State), Baum Field (Arkansas), and Alex Box Stadium (LSU) were rated in the top ten college baseball experiences by Stadium Journey.
The Mizzou Tigers call Ralph and Debbie Taylor/ Phi Delta Theta Stadium at Simmons Field (whew!) home. Most of the locals call it the Taylor for short. Taylor Stadium was built in 2002 and has a seating capacity for 3,031. It features a natural grass playing surface and has dimensions of 340 feet down the lines and 400 feet to straightaway center.
In preparation for its move to the SEC, the stadium underwent a massive renovation in 2010. Amongst the improvements are increased seating capacity (with 537 seat back chairs), an expanded concession area and improved restroom facilities. Fan comfort is also taken into consideration as the updated design even cut down on the heavy crosswinds that are common in the Midwest. The exterior of the stadium also has a new look with red brick walls, green metal roof and black steel supports which compliment the surrounding MU athletic facilities.
The baseball Tigers have a long history of success, with one National Championship, three appearances in the College World Series finals, six College World Series Tournaments and 22 appearances in the NCAA Tournament. They also have 20 conference championships from their years in the Big 8 and the Big 12.
More than 40 Tiger baseball alums have made it to the MLB, including such familiar names as John Dettmer, Ian Kinsler, Max Scherzer, Art Shamsky, Mike Shannon, and Sonny Siebert.
Food & Beverage 3
The concessions area is one of the areas where major renovations have been made and it shows. There are a large range of foods to pick from, including hot dogs, brats, burgers, pretzels, sunflower seeds, popcorn, peanuts, nachos, and soda. The prices are somewhat high, but the portions are huge. The checkout is centralized which makes a much more steady flow as the counter workers can concentrate on getting the food to you fast.
The Tiger memorabilia and spirit shop in the stadium is also well stocked with a broad selection of merchandise.
Baseball in any part of Missouri is an event, and the same holds true for the atmosphere at Taylor Stadium. A nearly full house generates a lot of energy and the Tigers deliver. They even have their own chant, when a run scores, as the announcer goes M…I…Z and the crowd responds with a thunderous Z…O… UUUUUU!
The folks at Mizzou also hold numerous promotions. My most recent visit was the last home game of the season and it was MU’s Baseball Alumni night with more than 50 former Tigers in attendance. It was also a “Girls Night Out” with sorority members given discounted tickets. A Friday night at a Tigers baseball game is something to remember!
The Taylor is located just off of the University of Missouri campus in Columbia, Missouri. The campus of 35,000 students is designated as a botanical garden and the grounds are spectacular. The school was founded in in 1839 and was the first public university west of the Mississippi. It is known internationally as having one of the best Journalism Schools in the world. Taylor Stadium is located within the MU Sports Park, which includes the basketball, football, track and field and softball facilities.
Columbia is a city of 115,000 people and is home to both Stephens College and Columbia College in addition to the University. As would be expected in a college town, the music and club scene is quite active. Among the more popular clubs in town are the 1839 Taphouse, Bengals Bar and Grill, and Harpo’s. Local restaurants favored by the locals include Shotgun Pete’s BBQ, the Flat Branch Brewery, and Addison’s American Grill. Also as a school with an agriculture program, Mizzou has an on campus dairy bar. Be sure to get a couple of scoops of the Tiger Stripe (vanilla ice cream with Dutch chocolate stripes running through it).
One of the reasons that Missouri was accepted into the SEC is due to its rabid fan base. No matter what the sport, and no matter how far they have to travel for conference road games, Tiger fans will be there. The baseball stadium is usually 80%-100% full for every game. Fan support financially has also allowed the university to upgrade its sports facilities to be competitive with those available at their conference rivals. The stands are full of gold and back, and you will frequently see Truman (named for a certain Missouri-bred president) the Tiger mascot up in the stands and leading cheers.
Columbia is located in the geographic center of Missouri, halfway between St. Louis and Kansas City. It is easily accessible from I-70. Columbia Regional Airport is serviced by American Eagle, with flights to both St. Louis and Kansas City. Parking for baseball is free and is available in the General Public Lot between the football stadium and The Taylor, off Stadium Boulevard. Accessibility within the stadium is excellent thanks to the renovations of 2010.
Return on Investment 4
Hotels in Columbia run from $72-$130 a night during non-event (graduation/football home games) dates. Tiger baseball tickets are $5 ($3 for children/seniors) and parking is free. The restaurants in Columbia run gamut from pizza palaces to fine dining and can cost between $5-$50. You are paying college town prices, not big city prices, when you visit Columbia.
Due to its equidistant location between St Louis and Kansas City, Columbia is a great midway point in doing a 3-game baseball weekend. Many people have seen an afternoon Cardinals game, hopped in their cars to catch a night game in Columbia, spend the night and then head over to Kansas City for a Royals game on Saturday.
Columbia also has a very active cultural district with plenty of museums, concert facilities, and art galleries to visit.
An extra point is also awarded for the event staff at Mizzou games. The night I attended there was a baseball game, a women’s softball game (versus defending national champion, the University of Florida) and a track meet all being held within the Missouri sports complex. The event staff handled this with a professionalism you do not often see at the college level. They are friendly, welcoming and are great ambassadors for the university.