Birmingham, AL - The Birmingham Barons are excited to announce that Ballpark Digest has named the organization the 2016 MiLB Team of the Year. Ballpark Digest is a website that covers the business and culture of baseball and each year they recognize notable achievements in the baseball industry through its awards. It is the first time the Barons have been awarded this prestigious honor.
Since moving back to downtown Birmingham, the Barons have welcomed over 1.6 million fans to Regions Field in the four-year history of the ballpark. The Barons recorded seven sellouts during the 2016 season which raised the total number of sellouts in Regions Field history to 36. In 2016, the Barons set the new single game attendance record at Regions Field on three separate occasions with the third instance occurring on Friday, May 21st as 8,607 fans passed through the gates of the beautiful downtown facility. The 2016 season also saw the Barons lead the Southern League in attendance for the fourth season in row with 418,361 fans.
The opening of Regions Field and the Barons return to downtown Birmingham has been part of the rebirth of the newly minted Parkside District. The ballpark has been a catalyst for new businesses in the area including the opening of the Liv Parkside and Venue at the Ballpark, apartment complexes, along with the Negro Southern League Museum which is open year-round just beyond the Parkside Picnic area.
"If the only thing the Birmingham Barons did over the past few years was to open Regions Field, that alone would have been a major accomplishment," said Ballpark Digest Publisher Kevin Reichard. "But the Barons have done more in that time than just upgrade the fan experience with a new ballpark - they've brought growth and development to downtown Birmingham while positively impacting the lives of city residents every day, not just on game days, and keeping baseball traditions alive in Birmingham with events like the Rickwood Classic."
Ballpark Digest's review of their visit to Regions Field earlier this year can be found by clicking here.
Each season the Barons schedule an aggressive weekly promotional calendar that includes the ever popular Thirsty Thursday, Friday Night Fireworks, and 50-Cent Hot Dog Night on Tuesdays. Each year a variety of entertainment acts visit Regions Field during the season including the world famous ZOOperstars!, BirdZerk! and Breakin' B-Boy McCoy. Popular theme nights last season included Ghostbusters Night, Superheroes Night, and the always fan favorite Star Wars Night.
"On behalf of the Barons organization, we are honored to receive this recognition and thank Ballpark Digest," said Barons General Manager Jonathan Nelson. "Our front office and game-day staffs do an incredible job in making Regions Field a fun and enjoyable ballpark for everyone throughout the season. Regions Field is truly a special ballpark that not only has been part of the recent positive developments in downtown Birmingham but most importantly it serves the needs of this community by providing an entertainment venue that offers something for everyone."
Recent winners of this award include the South Bend Cubs (2015) and Fort Wayne Tin Caps (2014). The Barons are the second Southern League team to win the award following the Pensacola Blue Wahoos (2012) and the first Chicago White Sox affiliate since the Class-A Winston-Salem Dash (2010).
In 2015, Regions Field took home Ballpark Digest's inaugural fan voted Best of the Ballparks: Double-A award defeating fellow Southern League ballpark Riverwalk Stadium in Montgomery. In the 2016 edition of the fan voted contest Regions Field was topped in the finals by another Southern League ballpark, Blue Wahoos Stadium.
The Barons will open the 2017 season on Thursday, April 6th on the road against the Jackson Generals, Double-A Affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks. A printable version of the full schedule for the 2017 Barons season can be found under the "Schedule" menu header online at www.barons.com. A full promotional calendar with featured giveaways, entertainers and a date for the 22nd Annual Rickwood Classic will be released in early 2017. All game times and promotions are subject to change.