BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Birmingham is setting up for a big sports week as opening day for the Barons is May 4 and the 29th Regions Tradition Championship starts on Wednesday. Both were cancelled in 2020 due to the pandemic, which is why both are very eager to be back.
“We are very excited to be back,” Regions Traditions Executive Director Gene Hallman said.
President and General Manager of the Birmingham Barons Johnathan Nelson says it was a tough year without baseball.
“With the absence of a baseball season last year, it’s one of the unique preparation times we ever had,” Nelson said.
The Regions Tradition Championship was cancelled twice in 2020. Hallman says he is thrilled to be preparing for the tournament, though he wasn’t sure it was going to happen a few months ago.
“A bigger meaning to the players because they want to win one of those 5 Major Championships,” Hallman said.
There will be several COVID-19 guidelines in place this year. Hallman says they will only allow up to 65% capacity at Greystone Golf and Country Club. According to their website, masks will also be required for those who attend. Hallman says they have found some other ways to ensure people can stay socially distant.
“We eliminate bleachers and hospitality tents to avoid confined spaces,” Hallman said.
The Barons will allow less than 50% capacity for the time being. Masks will be required at games per the city of Birmingham and Major League Baseball.
“You know, our mind and thoughts have been on the health and welfare of everybody in the community,” Nelson said.
Preparing for both took a lot of time and effort. Hallman says they’ve had numerous conversations with health experts to ensure they are keeping people safe.
“Because we are not the experts, epidemiologists, or cannot project what is safe and what is not,” Hallman said.
One thing is for certain: both are ready for a memorable championship and season.
“No doubt that opening game, opening week and the entire season is going to be beyond special for our organization and for this community,” Nelson said.
All other COVID protocol for the Regions tradition can be found here.