It seems a little hurried to us, but Birmingham Barons (Class AA; Southern League) management says they’ll be ready to play at a new downtown ballpark next season.
It’s an issue constantly being addressed by GM Jonathan Nelson: whether Regions Field will be open for play next April. The answer is yes.
“There’s still an incredible amount of doubt about whether we’ll even relocate in April 2013, even though we started pouring concrete (two weeks ago),” Nelson told the Birmingham News. “I don’t know whether it’s the mentality of people seeing so many projects over the years sort of get promised, get excited about them and then fizzle out.”
The city and the Barons have the advantage of weather: no reason to halt or curtail construction in a Southern clime because of snow. So that means crews can work right through for the 2013 season opener. And we’re guessing the team will begin the season with an extended road trip to give construction planners every minute possible.
It will probably surprise skeptics how quickly a new ballpark can go up, especially if there are no infrastructure issues. And overall it sounds like the new downtown ballpark is generating new interest in baseball in Birmingham — to a level not seem since Michael Jordan donned the Barons colors.
The $64-million ballpark and Negro Leagues museum will be located near downtown Birmingham at Railroad Park. Naming rights to the facility are carrying over from the Barons’ current home, Regions Park in suburban Hoover.
RELATED STORIES: One benefit of new Birmingham ballapark: driving down open industrial space; Birmingham mulls changes in design team; Developers lining up to take advantage of new Barons ballpark;Birmingham: Design of new ballpark still evolving; American Association: We’d be interested in Hoover team; Entertainment district planned for Barons ballpark area; Demolition planned for Birmingham ballpark site; Birmingham postpones Barons ballpark vote; Barons ballpark plan moves forward, adds Negro Leagues museum to mix; Birmingham: We’re close to finalizing ballpark plan; Birmingham ballpark situation more complicated than anticipated;Barons reach deal to play at new ballpark; Birmingham formally approves downtown ballpark; next up, the Barons; Birmingham approves new downtown ballpark, but second vote needed;New Birmingham ballpark could create $3.8 billion in economic activity: study; Birmingham City Council to vote on new ballpark next week; Birmingham City Council: We support ballpark tax, but we want team first; Birmingham OKs initial ballpark funding plan; Birmingham to discuss downtown ballpark Monday; Downtown ballpark study underway in Birmingham; New ballpark pitched for downtown Birmingham
Share your news with the baseball community. Send it to us at email@example.com.
Are you a subscriber to the weekly Ballpark Digest newsletter? You can sign up for a free subscription at the Newsletter Signup Page.