Petelos responds to talk of Barons relocating to Birmingham

HOOVER, AL (WBRC) - By Ashley Nix

HOOVER, AL (WBRC) - Mayor Tony Petelos hasn't said much about all the talking of the Barons  possibly moving from Hoover to Birmingham. Thursday night, Petelos sat down with FOX 6 News to say he'll fight to keep the Barons in Hoover.

After 22 years at Regions Park and Hoover Met, Petelos thinks with the lure of a new Birmingham stadium, well, he says there's no way it could really work.

"From the City of Hoover, we'd like for them to stay," said Petelos.  "We hope they'll stay and we think they will stay."

He was confident and asked everyone to consider the scenario.

The Barons lease expires in Hoover on December 31st.  Their season starts 3 months later in March.  That, Petelos says, doesn't give Birmingham enough time in the form of building a new stadium.

"Because they have no option for playing next year unless they go to Rickwood field next March, and I don't think the Southern League or White Sox will allow that."

The idea of a downtown ballpark is a good one for people like Taylor Brasher and Glorious Bates. Moving from Hoover is a good thing. Brasher once attended games at Rickwood. He says, "I have never seen a reaction to the Barons like the ones I saw there. And I absolutely think a whole lot more people would go."

Bates says she never understood why they ever played in Hoover in the first place. "They're the Birmingham Barons. I think they belong in Birmingham and I'm for them moving back to Birmingham."

But for Julius Rotich and his kids, they want the Barons to keep batting in Hoover. "We don't want them to leave," Rotich said.  "The people have gotten used to them here, you know it's part of Hoover.  We don't want to let them go."

For Petelos, it's about keeping the convenience of driving a couple of miles to see a good baseball game, and making sure the Barons stay.

"It's their decision, its the Barons decision and no one else," Petelos said.  "The decision is not mine or the city of Birmingham's and when they make that decision we'll live with it one way or another."

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