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Barons gearing up for the season
The Birmingham Barons head to Southside for the 2013 season. The Barons have called Hoover home since the 1988 season and had a lot of memorable moments at the Met. The Barons won the 1989, 1993, and 2002 Southern League championships, but the Hoover Met will always be remembered for the 1994 season.
After three consecutive NBA championships, and ,arguably, the greatest basketball player and athlete of all-time, Michael Jordan, entertained fans across Birmingham during the memorable 1994 season. But now, it’s time for change, much like moving from Rickwood Field to Hoover. Now the Barons are a few blocks away from UAB’s campus and the buzz is already here. Fans have been entertained with around-the-clock construction to the new Regions Field, the new 8,500 seat stadium that will portray the Magic City’s skyline in the outfield.
The Barons have been one of the most consistent minor league organizations over the last two and half decades. The Barons have been an affiliation of the Chicago White Sox since 1986, which speaks volumes. Minor league teams tend to switch affiliations with Major League Baseball teams often. Having the Barons alongside the White Sox for this many years is a contributing factor to the job Barons’ owner, Don Logan, and his family has done over the years.
Having the Barons in Hoover from 1988-2012 was good—at the time. The Hoover Met was a state-of-the-art facility from the late 80’s until recently. Over time, many Birmingham residents across the city did not want to make the drive to Hoover and was part of some contributing factors in which the Barons are making the move to Southside. The Southside/UAB area allows a centrally located destination for all origins of Birmingham residents to come to a game.
Having the Barons closely alongside with UAB will be beneficial for the Blazers, as well. Thirsty Thursday and Hotdog Night were successes in Hoover (the most attended games) and will bring the same buzz for UAB students. “It’s the best time of the year again; and on top of that, the Barons field is right by my apartment. I can’t wait to go to some games this year,” UAB student Chris Wadsworth, said of the Barons awaiting the start of the 2013 season.
The same buzz UAB students and Southside residents are enduring is the same anticipation the UAB baseball program is awaiting. There is no question that having a minor league baseball team a few blocks away will benefit the defending Conference-USA champions’ baseball program.
“We are going to be in partnership with the Barons. Don Logan, the owner, is a very good friend of mine and our plan is the visiting locker room is going to have green and gold. It’s going to be our locker room when we can play there, it’s going to have to be dependent on the Barons schedule and our schedule – and of course, they’re priority. If they’re playing there that afternoon or that night, it will be very difficult for us to cross-over, so what we’ll do is match our schedule with their schedule and we’ll play as many games there as we can. We will also have one of our donors who is going to buy a box; we will have a presence there in one of the skyboxes as well to recruit to. We will definitely partner with them in a win-win way,” UAB athletics director Brian Mackin said about the Barons partnering with the Blazers.
The 2013 season begins this week as the Barons head to Montgomery to take on the Biscuits. Construction workers will put the final touches to Regions Field while the Barons begin a five-game series on the road. The Barons’ opening day will take place Wednesday, April 10, with first pitch at 7:05 p.m. The Barons will host the Mississippi Braves April 10-14 and will have the first Thirsty Thursday on April 11.