Mobile BayBears’ Second-to-Last Season


DSCN7583In November 2017, it was announced that the Mobile BayBears had been sold to BallCorps LLC. Upon completion of the sale, the CEO of BallCorps stated, “We are thrilled to start a new chapter with this team today. The BayBears have had a great relationship with the City of Mobile and its fans for over 20 years. We want to build on that history and make this team as successful as possible. We are excited about what is next. The Southern League and Minor League Baseball have granted us exploration rights to investigate north Alabama, which is an exciting market, but the organization is still considering all options at this point, including the team remaining in Mobile.” In February of this year, it was confirmed that the BayBears would be moving to Madison, Alabama, which is right next door to Huntsville, Alabama, former home of the Huntsville Stars. When it was confirmed that the team would remain in Mobile through the 2019 season, I knew I had to visit before it was too late.

DSCN7588According to MiLB.com, in 2017 the BayBears averaged only 1,498 spectators per game, the lowest in the Southern League, and well behind the league leader in attendance, the Birmingham Barons who drew 5,935 fans that year. The league average was 4,835. Five years earlier, the BayBears drew the third lowest attendance at 2,112 people per game, with Jackson and Huntsville behind them with 2,052 and 1,973 average attendance, respectively. In 2007, Mobile was drawing 1,000 more fans per game than Huntsville with 3,466 average attendance, yet still had the third lowest attendance in the league.

Just last year I was lamenting the fact that Huntsville lost its minor league team after the 2014 season when the team moved to Biloxi, Mississippi. So why the move back? According to Ballpark Digest, the City of Madison is constructing a multi-use venue and ballpark. The site will include a hotel overlooking center field. A feasibility study conducted by the city estimates attendance of 4,700 people per game and net income of $2 million in the first year.

I’ll be keeping an eye on this over the next several years. Several questions still remain including, what will become of Hank Aaron’s childhood home, which is currently on the grounds of the BayBear’s Hank Aaron Stadium, and will the new team be called the Trash Pandas?

~ baseballrebecca

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Hank Aaron Stadium


dscn7572.jpgA little over week ago, I began writing about my recent trip to Alabama, where I visited the Negro Southern League Museum and the Mobile BayBears. But that was before the trade deadline, before they traded Jonathan Schoop, another of my favorite Orioles and the other half of the Machado-Schoop bromance. (Obviously, I’m still not over it.)

Today and tomorrow, I’ll finally finish my tale of baseball in Alabama and my visit to the Mobile BayBears, who will be relocating to Madison, AL, in 2020. They’ve done a phenomenal job of preserving baseball history at Hank Aaron Stadium in Mobile. Not only did they move Hank Aaron’s childhood home from Toulminville, AL, to the stadium grounds, but they have several historical exhibits around the stadium.

For starters, check out the pictures of Hank Aaron’s childhood home:

Throughout the stadium concourse, there are actual stadium seats from current and former baseball stadiums around the country. First, there’s Fulton County Stadium, where Hank Aaron hit his 715th home run to break Babe Ruth’s record:

Next, we stumbled upon seats from Wrigley Field, although it’s unclear exactly why they were there:

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Finally, there are seats from Milwaukee County Stadium, where Hank Aaron started his career with the Milwaukee Braves and ended it with the Milwaukee Brewers:

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Stay tuned for more about the Mobile BayBears tomorrow!

~ baseballrebecca

Trash Pandas or Space Sloths: You Choose


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Trash Panda (photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

Last week, the 10 finalists were announced in the contest to rename the Mobile BayBears once they move to Madison, Alabama, in 2020. One name is in honor of the nearby U.S. Army Redstone Arsenal which employs more than 40,000 people in the area: Army Ants.

Several names are related to the local space industry and NASA’s Marshal Space Flight Center: Comet Jockeys, Lunartics, Space Sloths, Space Chimps (a nod to Miss Baker, “one of the first animals safely launched into space. She is buried on the grounds at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center”), and Puffy Head Bird Legs (reportedly astronaut slang for “body fluid moving from feet to head in outer space due to the lack of gravity”).

The remaining options are related to local weather and animals (as well as a couple also being space-related): GloWorms, Moon Possums, ThunderSharks, and Trash Pandas (also known as racoons).

Voting is open now through August 16 at the future team’s website. Choose wisely, baseball fans. Choose wisely.

~ baseballrebecca

Got Hank?


Hank AaronI had a Hank Aaron folder when I was in elementary school.  It was my most prized possession.  Even back then, I knew it was kind of odd.  I mean, I was the only kid, not to mention the only girl, in that small, suburban Maryland Catholic elementary school who had Hank Aaron school supplies.  I’d forgotten about my beloved folder until the other day when I looked at my Baseball Hall of Fame calendar and saw that last week was the 37th anniversary of Aaron’s 715th home run.  Hammerin’ Hank surpassed Babe Ruth’s previous HR record on April 8, 1974.  I was probably in 2nd or 3rd grade.

I hadn’t thought of that folder in years, and I haven’t thought about Hank in at least a few days.  (MLB.com had a cool article about him last month.)  So I googled him to find out what he’s been up to.  If you weren’t sure of the sociological impact of Hank Aaron, just check out the interesting facts I found:

  • The Hank Aaron Museum opened last year in Mobile, Alabama, right next to Hank Aaron Stadium.  Catching a BayBears game just moved higher up on my Baseball Priority List!
  • If you visit Miller Park in Milwaukee,Wisconsin, you can also take a stroll on Hank Aaron Trail.  This is definitely another stadium on the List.
  • Of course, these days the 77-year old Hank remains involved in everything from baseball to politics, not to mention all the recent discussions of his home run record.

Clearly, Hank has had an impact on society.  Not only did he break records, he broke barriers.  Now I wonder what ever happened to that folder…

~ baseballrebecca