I hate the Atlanta Falcons (football), Atlanta Hawks (basketball), and the Atlanta Braves (baseball).
I also hate the Tennessee Titans (Nashville football), the Memphis Grizzlies (basketball), New Orleans Saints and Hornets (football and basketball).
When I was a child my father took me to Rickwood Field to see the Birmingham Baron’s play baseball.
We played teams like the Atlanta Crackers, Memphis Chicks, Nashville Vols, and the New Orleans Pelicans.
We played in the Southern League.
Today Birmingham still plays in the Southern league but is the only one of the above cities who doesn’t have a major league sports franchise.
Atlanta, Memphis, Nashville, and New Orleans were our peer cities.
Today the Barons play teams from Chattanooga, Huntsville, Jackson, Pearl Mississippi, Mobile, Montgomery, Pensacola, and Knoxville.
These are now our peer cities.
It hurts to see how Birmingham has fallen and it’s painful to support major league sports in competing cities.
When Atlanta tries to convince us the Falcans or Braves are our teams, it makes me ill.
I mentioned this to a friend and he said, “It makes no sense for Birmingham to have a major league sports team–our market is too small.” Well, that’s the whole point. Why is our market so small while these other cities have grown past us?
I’m not much of a sports fan, but this is not about sports.
This is about a Birmingham metro crippled because of our dysfunctional government structure.
I love we are building Regions Ball Park downtown. It will be great for our city.
One day, however, I hope we have bigger dreams.
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David Sher is a partner in Buzz12 Marketing and co-CEO of AmSher Receivables Management. He’s past Chairman of the Birmingham Regional Chamber of Commerce (BBA), Operation New Birmingham (ONB), and the City Action Partnership (CAP).