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Regions Field, birmingham

The Birmingham Barons were within weeks of starting their season when the COVID-19 pandemic put the brakes on baseball and the rest of society.

“Obviously right now we’re in a holding pattern, still trying to determine and find out from Major League Baseball, there’s a lot of stories swirling around about some of the potential details of what a season might look like, but right now we’ve been told nothing,” said Jonathan Nelson, president and GM of the Birmingham Barons.

The Barons are the Double-A affiliate of the Chicago White Sox. Nelson has been with the team for 28 seasons.

This season, whenever it does start, will be the team’s eighth in the Regions Field ballpark. The construction of the stadium was a major part of Birmingham’s downtown revitalization project. Since the ballpark went up, breweries, condominiums and other businesses have popped up in the area.

Whenever the Barons can play baseball again, Nelson expects locals to fill the seats.

“Obviously we’ve had great crowds out here since we opened up in 2013, but I think you’re going to see people really enjoy and come out even more so in 2020,” Nelson said.

However, it is unclear when the MLB will come up for a plan for the season. In the meantime, Nelson remains optimistic.

“I’m always going to be a hopeless optimist, so I am hopeful that we start sometime in the early, start our season early summer, around early June, early to mid-June,” Nelson said.

Minor League Baseball is big business, but for fans, winning and losing isn’t always the top priority. Simply being at the ballpark, hanging out with friends and family, is what packs the stadium. The promotions, like Thirsty Thursday, help too.

“All of our promotions, I mean there all great, I mean fireworks, and entertainers and give-a-ways and all that,” Nelson said. “But, all the adults especially the young adults appreciate Thirsty Thursday and the welcoming back of the 2020 version of it.”

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