Hoover Metropolitan Stadium
Hoover Metropolitan Stadium, in Hoover, AL, was the home of Birmingham affiliated baseball from 1988 through 2012. After that, the Birmingham Barons of the Southern League left what was then called Regions Park for a new stadium in downtown Birmingham.
"The Met" is better known as the all-but permanent home of the collegiate Southeastern Conference baseball tournament – every year but one since 1996. When the last contract expired in 2016, New Orleans, LA, Nashville, TN, Jacksonville, FL, and Memphis, TN, all also bid – but Hoover saved the seemingly lost event. The city announced a plan to build the Hoover Metropolitan Complex (now called the Finley Center) around the Met, and SEC athletics directors voted unanimously – reportedly at the request of the coaches – to keep the tourney there. The resulting contract was through 2021 but was extended a year because the Coronavirus pandemic killed the 2020 tournament.
The Met – some 20 miles south of the Magic City – opened in 1988. Thanks to Chicago White Sox non-prospect Michael Jordan, it drew 467,868 in 1994 – still the most ever among current SL cities. Regions Bank bought naming rights in 2007, carrying them over to the new downtown Birmingham playpen with Regions Field. Hoover then resumed the Hoover Met name.
CAPACITY: 10,500 seats (stadium website); has reported more than 16,200 for baseball (Media coverage)