A visit to Rickwood Field in recent weeks has meant seeing a structure being constructed out in foul territory around short left field where a metal shed once stood. Construction continues, with hopes of it being mostly complete in time for next week Wednesday’s Rickwood Classic between the Birmingham Barons and the Mississippi Braves, but they’re in need of $25,000 to do so.
The building, a train depot formerly located in downtown Birmingham along 14th St. N., has been given a new lease on life as a batting cage for America’s oldest ballpark. It was seen as a win for preservationists who’d wanted to see the structure preserved as part of a new Alagasco operations center after its demolition had been approved by the city’s Design Review Committee in January. The plans for the building were announced shortly after demolition had begun this spring.
Alagasco has worked with general contractor Stewart Perry Construction and the nonprofit organization the Friends of Rickwood on the building’s move – one that will include being used by Birmingham city high schools and Miles College. A Razoo donation page has been set up for several weeks now, and the campaign has one week left. They’re asking for people to share the link and the story with as many people as possible.
It’s hard not to use a sports cliché when talking about Chris Pollone‘s return to Alabama’s 13 this (Monday) evening. He’ll be doing so as one of the hosts of Alabama Tonight, the NBC affiliate’s new weeknight sports program, for the month of September. Pollone left Birmingham and Alabama’s 13 back in December after 11 years. News of his return was first shared via YouTube earlier this month:
Alabama Tonight is also the name of a blog already being regularly updated on the station’s website. The show plans to be “your source for SEC and High School Sports,” as shared in the bio section of the show’s Twitter account. It’s probably a lot more fun to hear Chris talk about it himself though, so watch that video up there – and then tune in at 6:30 p.m.
He seems excited about it too…
With so much focus in recent weeks on one group’s hopes of landing an NBA franchise for Birmingham, we’ve been ignoring talk of plans to bring football back to the Magic City this spring.
As mentioned on the site and others back in May, the USFL has been looking at Birmingham as a possible location for one of eight franchises as the league is reimagined in 2013. A Birmingham News article filed on July 3 cites league president and CEO Jaime Cuadra as stating that there had not been significant talks with city officials as of yet.
This brings us to this evening, when Cuadra will join Steve West on 101.1 FM at approximately 7:15 p.m. (according to the league’s brand page on Facebook) to discuss “potential” plans for a team in Birmingham, AL. The league did release a new logo last Friday (seen to your left) along with unveiling a new website. They’ve also been touring cities long considered options for franchises in recent weeks.
Incidentally, another thing to keep in mind as all of this talk moves forward is NBC Sports reporting that the UFL (the league that tried to enter the Birmingham market back in 2007) may announce plans for a comeback with four team later this week. Their official website makes it look like it could be all but certain…
There have been posts written about the All-American Football League and the United Football League wanting to bring football back to Birmingham (and, as a result, to historic Legion Field) during the early days of the sites existence. For some reason there were not posts talking about the potential launch of the American Football League in 2011 and our potential franchise, the Birmingham Yellowhammers (though that one never got off the ground either).
For some reason though, there’s a little more hope tied to the most recent effort to bring back professional football to Birmingham – especially since its tied to the return of the USFL – sort of. Who knows, it could even mean a return of the Birmingham Stallions.
The Washington Post filed a report late last week about the pending return of the league next spring as a developmental league – an announcement originally made by EndZone Sports Management, LLC, the league’s owners, during the Vegas Unwrapped show (and the company’s website) back on February 15. It was also reported by NBC Sports in April, though considering what day the story ran, we could see why folks wouldn’t necessarily believe it.
Something adding to the increased attention in recent days may be the fact that the cities selected for the relaunch are expected to be announced this summer. Considering that according to the WP story (as well as the pieces from the Birmingham Business Journal and The Birmingham News) there were only 10 cities being looked at for eight slots, the Magic City’s chances are looking pretty good so far.
UPDATE: Joe Webb won his first NFL start this evening, beating the Philadelphia Eagles 24-14.
He threw for 195 yards and ran for 31 yards and a touchdown (and yes, he did the Birmingham Walk afterwards).
If you missed UAB adjunct professor Alice Jackson’s appearance on Jeopardy this evening (we’re still trying to figure out how she did), don’t worry…
There’s another chance to see a member of the UAB alumni community in action on television tonight.
Joe Webb will follow up his performance last week – including his first NFL regular season touchdown – with his first career start. Incidentally, that touchdown last week made Webb the first UAB Blazer to score an NFL touchdown at quarterback. The start will be against the Eagles in Philadelphia after it was postponed on Sunday night due to concern for public safety.
It’s going to be historic in another way too; this will be the first NFL regular season game played on a Tuesday since 1946.
Photo: Joe Webb. Courtesy of Minnesota Vikings website.
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Tagged alum, first, football, Joe Webb, Minnesota Vikings, NFL, Philadelphia Eagles, Sports, start, UAB, victory, win
Birmingham native and former UAB starting quarterback Joe Webb ran 13 yards for the Minnesota Vikings to record his first career NFL touchdown during Monday night’s 40-17 loss to the Chicago Bears at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, MN.
The Wenonah High School graduate was originally scheduled to start last night for the Vikings but future NFL Hall of Famer Brett Favre had other plans, starting for the 298th time in his career instead after his consecutive starts streak ended last week.
A sack knocked Favre out of the game in the 2nd quarter with a head injury, leading to Webb taking over behind center. He finished the game completing 15 of his 26 pass attempts, good for 129 yards. He had one fumble, two interceptions and three sacks to go along with that touchdown.
Saturday’s Birmingham News interview of Webb covered not just the understandable nervousness about this game, but also the unusual conditions associated with it.
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Tagged football, history, information, Joe Webb, MNF, NFL, Sports, touchdown, UAB, video, Vikings
Several people have received emails in recent days linking to a survey that is part of a privately financed study to “determine the feasibility of building a new ballpark in downtown Birmingham that could become the new home of the Birmingham Barons minor league baseball team.”
There has been several hints in recent years that some people would like to see the Barons return to playing within the city limits of Birmingham.
In April, the Birmingham Business Journal told readers that approximately $40,000 in private funds had been put up for the study.
Several reports last summer mentioned the Merita bakery across from the soon-to-be completed Railroad Park in Birmingham’s Southside was a possible location, though not specific site has been suggested in the 27-question survey. The story received new attention in January when Birmingham City Councilor Johnathan Austin suggested that the city providing additional financial support for a survey.
Photo: Baseball. theseanster93/Flickr