After the ballpark’s condition forced the relocation of the annual Rickwood Classic, repairs are slated to take place at Rickwood Field.
In January, the Birmingham Barons (Class AA; Southern League) unveiled details about the 2017 edition of the Rickwood Classic, which was to have been played at the historic facility on Wednesday, May 31. Those plans were scrapped months later, as it was revealed in April that Rickwood Field had to be closed after city officials discovered that structural shoring and repairs would need to take place before the ballpark hosted another event. As a result, the Barons decided to play a turn-back-the-clock game against the Chattanooga Lookouts at Regions Field on May 31, but expressed hope that Rickwood Field would be ready for the event in 2018.
There was some progress on that front on Wednesday, when Birmingham mayor William Bell revealed plans for the city to fund $500,000 worth of repairs to Rickwood Field. More from AL.com:
Bell saw firsthand the damage done to the field by water damage and erosion, and said that the City of Birmingham plans to spend $500,000 to make needed repairs.
“At the end of the day, it’s the city of Birmingham’s responsibility. Any other help we get is appreciated, but we have to look at our resources to maintain the facility,” he said of the field, which is located on 2nd Ave. W. in Birmingham.
Others are also trying to step up to make the necessary repairs to the field.
A GoFundMe account has been set up to raise donations to go to The Friends of Rickwood Field, a nonprofit organization that maintains the field throughout the year and promotes its importance in baseball’s Negro League history.
The Rickwood Classic has long been one of baseball’s best traditions, combining the elements associated with a typical turn-back-the-clock night with the ambiance of Rickwood Field, so its return in 2018 would certainly anticipated. You can see some of our previous coverage of the Rickwood Classic here.