‘The Joe’ sees amended rules for right field seating

%27The+Joe%27+sees+amended+rules+for+right+field+seating

Kevin Connell

New guidelines imposed on the right field seating area in last weekend’s Alabama baseball series will take effect for the remainder of the season, according to a statement released by the University of Alabama athletic department Saturday.

The section is now limited to a maximum capacity of 1,100, and fans must now provide identification in order to drink alcohol in the area. Fans 21 and older must wear a provided wristband, while underage fans get a hand stamp.

“Our fans have been tremendously supportive in creating a great environment for baseball this season,” the statement from UA athletics said. “Our goal is to continue providing a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone. We hope that our fans will continue to support the team and to respect both teams while representing themselves and our University in a first class manner.

“We’re very pleased that people want to support our baseball team, and we are happy they want to do that in a positive way. As part of that, we are glad that the right field seating area has become a vibrant element of the baseball game experience. To help make sure that the right field seating area continues to provide a safe and positive fan experience, we have implemented some changes that will benefit everyone, including a limit on capacity in that area. Fans who wish to sit in the right field section need to arrive early, but if they cannot sit in that section, there are seats available in the right field stands adjacent to the area, as well as throughout the stadium.”

(See also “Raging in right field“)

The statement also reminded students that they can sit along the third-base line.

“We’d like to remind our students that their ACT card gets them in the stadium free and they can enjoy the game from a lot of areas of the stadium,” the statement said. “Our team needs your support, and we are thankful for it. Let’s all continue to help our team reach its goals in a positive way.”

The new changes, which began last Friday night in the series opener against Mississippi Valley State without any prior announcement made by UA Athletics, left hundreds of fans shut out of the new seating area that night and Saturday afternoon.

“I don’t agree with it,” Jamie Nunn, a junior majoring in marketing and advertising, said. “The last weekend I know that people came out and it was crowded, 1,500 people. I couldn’t come. Then this past Friday, I tried to come, and I was three people from getting in line, and they shut it down.

“You’re turning down students that are trying to come support the baseball team. If you’re going to have this area out here for students, you might as well let them enjoy it.”

(See also “Alabama baseball claims series vs. Saint Louis“)

Sewell-Thomas Stadium, nicknamed “The Joe,” has seen a noticeable spike in fan attendance through nine home games this season, thanks in part to the right field seating area. The team has averaged 3,494 fans at home this season, up from 3,262 fans a year ago.

Junior right fielder Ben Moore, who has started every game in right field this season for Alabama, said it was hard for him to tell whether overcrowding was in issue in the fan section dubbed the “Right Field Ragers.”

“I don’t really know if there was a problem or not,” Moore said. “But I would like for them to fit as many people out there as they can, but everything seems to be going pretty well.

“For the most part, it still seems like a pretty packed house, and people are having a good time, but 1,100 is kind of a little short.”

For the first time this season, the Crimson Tide will host a midweek game at Sewell-Thomas Stadium. They will face the Samford Bulldogs on Tuesday at 6:05 p.m.

(See also “Softball team sweeps Gamecocks“)