ComebackTown is published by David Sher to begin a discussion on a better Birmingham.
Today’s guest blogger is Don Logan. If you’d like to be a guest blogger, please click here.
Folks said we were nuts when we moved the Barons downtown.
“Downtown isn’t safe.”
“I’d never come downtown with my children.”
“The City of Birmingham will never get its act together.”
“You guys must be crazy.”
It was difficult to listen to the negative talk—but we knew the move to Birmingham was the right thing to do. Stadiums were moving into urban areas and were being successful.
And the City of Birmingham did it right.
Many people criticized the City for spending millions on a minor league baseball stadium, but the result has been spectacular. Our fans are thrilled. Our park turned out great.
It’s so pretty—so different—nobody has seen anything quite like it for a baseball stadium.
Joe Mock from BaseballPark.com wrote:
“I love the place. I’ve been more excited to get to this ballpark than probably any new ballpark that’s opened in maybe the last five or six years.“
Mock ultimately chose Regions Field as the Ballpark of the Year in 2013 writing…
“Birmingham would have won no matter what other park would have opened this year. “New Yankee Stadium, it wouldn’t have mattered. Regions Field is that special. It would have won any year that it would have opened.”
Our attendance has been great—reaching almost 400,000 the first year and increasing another 10% in year two. We had some of the highest attendance of any minor league team in America. This year we started off with a bang–selling every seat in our opening game.
Draw a circle around the city of Birmingham and people are coming from everywhere with the interstates leading right into downtown.
Our suites are sold out—and are used aggressively and actively. We have a venue for our community, with our club room being used as a gathering hole for people to meet and talk. It was something we didn’t have at Hoover where we were isolated and couldn’t do easily. So we put all that together and the fans have kept coming.
Railroad Park and our Regions Field have transformed Southside. Apartments are being built all around. People’s Brewing is active and busy. And soon we will have the Rotary Trail, the Powell Avenue Steam Plant development, the new Negro baseball Museum and the Publix/Starbucks development nearby.
My family and I are proud of the Barons and our new Regions Field. But we’re also proud of Birmingham, our home city, for building a one of a kind baseball stadium that is being recognized nationally. And we’re appreciative and thankful for the support of our entire region.
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David Sher is the publisher of ComebackTown, a co-founder of Buzz12, a division of Intermark Group, and co-CEO of AmSher Compassionate Collections. He’s past Chairman of the Birmingham Regional Chamber of Commerce (BBA), Operation New Birmingham (REV Birmingham), and the City Action Partnership (CAP).