Still aglow following their 2013 Southern League Championship, the Birmingham Barons have announced they will open the 2014 season by hosting their parent club, the Chicago White Sox, in an exhibition game at Regions Field on Friday, March 28th. First pitch is scheduled for 6:00 PM CDT.
The contest will be the first exhibition to take place in Birmingham between the two clubs since 2007 and the seventh overall in the 28 seasons of their player development partnership. The Barons have been the Double-A Affiliate of the White Sox since 1986, over which time they've helped to develop future Major League starts including Robin Ventura, Frank Thomas, Jack McDowell, Mark Buehrle and current Sox Gordon Beckham, Dayan Viciedo, Jose Quintana, Josh Phegley, Addison Reed, Marcus Semien and Erik Johnson. The partnership has produced five Southern League Championships and a 2005 World Series Championship for the White Sox, their first since 1917.
"The Chicago White Sox are excited to return to Birmingham to play the Barons in an exhibition game before the start of our 2014 regular season," said White Sox General Manager Rick Hahn. "It will be a great opportunity for us to celebrate the Barons' 2013 Southern League title, to visit Regions Field, one of the best facilities in all of minor league baseball, and for our Barons alumni to return to Birmingham, a city that has meant a great deal to White Sox success over the past three decades."
In its inaugural season, Regions Field was named the Ballpark of the Year by Baseballparks.com while hosting 410,186 fans, the 4th-highest total in franchise history and the 4th-highest attendance total in Southern League history since 1964. Following the season, the Barons were named Southern League Organization of the Year and have been nominated for Minor League Organization of the Year.
"Coming off a magical year in the Inaugural Season at Regions Field, we're proud to welcome our longtime Major League affiliate to Birmingham," said Barons' General Manager Jonathan Nelson. "The White Sox have been a tremendous partner for us as we enter our 28th season as their Double-A Affiliate. It's an exciting moment for the city and our fans to bring a Major League team to Birmingham while watching past Barons compete against the next wave of stars."
The Barons and White Sox first played in Birmingham at Rickwood Field in 1986. The two teams would play five more times at Hoover Metropolitan Stadium in 1991, 1998, 2000, 2003 and most recently in 2007. The Barons are the longest tenured of the White Sox six affiliates.
Tickets are now on-sale with prices ranging from $14 to $28. Special discount prices are also available for groups of 20 or more. Tickets can be purchased over the phone at 205-988-3200 or by ordering online at Barons.com.