Birmingham (Al.) officials say they will support nearby Hoover’s bid to keep the Southeastern Conference baseball tourney in Regions Park, avoiding an intraregional spat for the rights to the well-attended event.
Things are already tense between Birmingham and Hoover officials over Birmingham’s plans to build a new downtown ballpark and the subsequent agreement by the Birmingham Barons (Class AA; Southern League) to play there. The ballpark could be ready for the 2012 season, but the Barons did sign a five-year lease extension that will need to be honored or renegotiated once a new ballpark is competed.
But Mayor William Bell threw out a fig leaf, saying that his city would not bid on the tournament and would instead support Hoover’s bid. It’s a smart move. With some strong contenders throwing their hats in the ring to host the tournament — for instance, Montgomery is putting together a bid — there was the chance Hoover and Birmingham would split support, paving the way for a locale shift. Hoover has spent funds on Regions Park specifically to keep the tournament in the past, and we’re guessing that will be a factor.
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