- David Welch
Jerry D. Young Memorial Field – UAB Blazers
Photos by David Welch, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.29
Jerry D. Young Memorial Field
840 12th St
Birmingham, AL 35294
Year Opened: 1984
Jerry D. Young Memorial Field – UAB Blazers
In the shadows of the statue of Vulcan, the Roman god of fire and the forge which sits atop Red Mountain near the city of Birmingham, sits the University of Alabama-Birmingham’s campus, and Jerry D. Young Memorial Field.
UAB is the lone remaining member of Conference USA since its inception in 1995, but announced in the fall of 2022 they would be moving to the American Conference at the start of the 2023-24 academic year.
Food & Beverage 4
A small concession stand sits under the grandstand. While the stand might be small, it does offer a decent variety of options. Main entrees include smoked sausage, grilled chicken, BBQ sandwiches, hot dogs, and nachos. Candy and other snack foods are also available.
Beverages include Pepsi products and Gatorade, along with beer and wine at a neighboring beverage cart.
Concessions at Young Memorial Field are cashless.
The area around Young Memorial Field is currently undergoing significant construction, so it can be somewhat of a maze traveling to the stadium. The temporary inconveniences should be ironed out in due time, though, as the area receives upgrades.
The Blazers had a new synthetic playing surface installed following the 2022 season. The infield “dirt” now has a much lighter brown hue, which gives it the appearance of natural dirt rather than the deep brown most baseball fields have. Centerfield is emblazoned with the university’s dragon logo, which adds a bit of personalization to the playing surface.
The field plays a touch shorter for left-handed hitters, with the right field line playing 330’ compared to 335’ down the left field line. The right center power alleys run 360’, compared to 370’ to left center and 400’ to dead centerfield. The fence runs 8 feet high around the outfield – the massive batters' eye is out of play, but does help break up the continuity of the consistent 8-foot fence.
The scoreboard at Young Memorial Field provides typical inning line score information, and is topped with a videoboard that provides player statistical information and the batting team’s lineup.
The game starts with a bit of a college feel, as the UAB fight song plays while the Blazers take the field; this is a nice touch that helps to establish the college atmosphere.
Between inning entertainment is typically filled with a mix of ad reads and music, much as would be expected at most baseball games. There is not much in the way of interactive scoreboard fan cams or games, and other than a kid’s dizzy bat race there are not many of the field games either. In-game sound effects are kept to a minimum for the most part. The lack of these features does not take away from the game experience, however.
Young Memorial Field is less than a mile from Regions Field, home of the Birmingham Barons, AA affiliate of the Chicago White Sox. Since the Barons moved back to Birmingham following an extended stay in nearby Hoover, the Southside neighborhood has seen a significant revitalization. Many of the former warehouses and industrial buildings have been transformed into restaurants, breweries, condominiums, and apartments.
Fans coming to early season games might be able to double-up and take in a Blazers’ basketball game at Bartow Arena, just a block from Young Memorial Field.
With the University of Alabama-Birmingham's location, there are several hotels in the immediate vicinity. Those who might not want to stay in the city, though, can find an almost endless number of hotels anywhere off Highway 280, which runs from Birmingham to the suburbs on the back side of Red Mountain.
Over the years, opponents from Power 5 conferences have drawn relatively large attendance numbers to Young Memorial Field, often more than 1,000, but typical attendance numbers range from 200 to 400 fans per game.
Students do not seem to make up a significant portion of the overall attendance – attendance numbers remain consistent regardless of whether classes are in session or if students are on break. Fans who do turn out appear to be enjoying themselves, but do not seem to make for a sizable home field advantage.
Getting to Young Memorial Field is rather simple, save any traffic backups that might need to be navigated through. The downtown Birmingham area is at the junction of I-65 and I-20, making Birmingham easily accessible to nearby cities. The city bus line also has a stop just a block north of the stadium.
The main parking lot used for baseball is located behind the softball complex, almost immediately off the I-65 off ramp. From here it is a short walk around Mary Bowers Field to the entrance that both teams share.
The current construction contains fans to the third base side of the field, the grandstand, and the small area between the grandstand and the visiting dugout. At the moment fans cannot access the first base side of the field from inside the stadium; expect this to change as construction progresses.
Return on Investment 4
Ticket prices typically top out at $5 for most games, but tickets for premium games are priced at $10. Either of the two price points are not going to break the wallet. When you factor in free parking and none of the concession items costing more than $6, excluding alcohol options, taking in a game is kept to a very reasonable rate. Some higher profile UAB baseball games are held at Regions Field, which are priced on the premium side, while a handful of other games are held at Hoover Metropolitan Stadium, with free admission for those games.
Just outside the right field fence is a nondescript stone seating area. It does not look like much, but it was once part of the original baseball field at Mortimer Jordan Park, which sat on this same parcel of land. This stonework has been preserved, and the chain-link fence in this part of the outfield wall gives passersby a chance to sit and watch the game from this location.
The grassy area between the softball and baseball fields is a wonderful place for young fans to run and play catch during the game.
In a city rich with baseball and iron industry history, the UAB Blazers have been working to forge their own baseball history since the program’s inception in 1979.
While some stadiums earn their reputation as great baseball experiences through large, rambunctious stadiums and fans, something can be said for baseball at smaller stadiums. Stadiums that are not constantly consumed with sound allow fans to pick up on a lot of the finer points of college baseball – the sizzle of a fast ball, the barks of the coaches toward the umpires, and the chirps between teams.
Though the game experience at schools with smaller attendances might not be at the top of the list when it comes to the most memorable, games at these stadiums are a wonderful time for those who enjoy the finer details of college baseball.