Fans excited to return to SEC baseball tournament after last year’s cancelation

Local News

HOOVER, Ala. (WIAT) — The Hoover Met is a special place for many SEC baseball fans, especially those like Liz and Steven Buteau, who travel to games in RVs.

“This is probably our favorite tournament,” Liz Buteau said.

The couple drove from Jeanerette, Louisiana this week to cheer on LSU, where their son, Rhett, played in the early 2000s. Back then, the Buteaus came to Hoover every year. After a decade-long hiatus, they returned in 2019 and hoped to make their second straight trip last year. Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit and forced the NCAA to cut the season short.

“We were looking forward to it,” Liz Buteau said. “I love baseball. I grew up in a baseball household, and I just was so disappointed.”

They’re back this year, spending time with friends they made during their son’s college days. Those friendships have lasted along with their love for the SEC baseball tournament, which, according to Steven Buteau, offers a better fan experience than even the College World Series.

“We’ve been at this tournament probably four, five times; Omaha twice,” he said. “And like I said, my rating, as far as tournaments go, we think this is No. 1.”

The RV setup is why the Buteaus prefer it. Fans can park beside the Finley Center, a short walk from the Hoover Met.

“You’ve got close quarters with your compadres and your non-compadres, so to speak,” Steven Buteau said with a smile.

The tournament has developed a great reputation among RV enthusiasts. It’s the reason Ole Miss fan Nick McLendon decided to come.

“I’ve always heard that it’s very exciting, especially if you can get a camping spot,” he said while watching a game on TV outside his RV. “And we got a camping spot this year, so we said we’re going to go try it out.”

Ole Miss won its opener against Auburn 7-4 Tuesday night. But even if the Rebels get eliminated, McLendon said he plans to stay the entire week.

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