Hoover Met tranforms from diamond into title spot

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 7, 2004

HOOVER &045;&045; Football in a baseball stadium?

That’s exactly what fans will find Friday at the Hoover Met where the Sweet Water Bulldogs will take on Hubbard at 3 p.m. in the Class 1A state football championship game, and again at 7 p.m. when the Demopolis Tigers square off against Deschler in Class 4A action.

Depending on which team is home and which is visitor, Miller said, determines whether or not fans will be seated in the baseball seats or the bleachers.

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Normally played at Legion Field, the games were moved to Hoover earlier in the year. That move, as it turns out, brought with it a few added benefits.

With free parking, an all-day pass gets fans into the stadium for both games. Tickets, which may be purchased at either Sweet Water High School or Demopolis High School, or at the gate, are $10.

Miller said fans can attend both games, and may stay in the stadium between games.

The showcase home of the Birmingham Barons since 1988, the Hoover Metropolitan Stadium entered its 17th season of use in 2004. The Barons played their first official game at the Met on April 16, 1988 against the Greenville Braves.

The $14.5 million, 70-acre facility, part of the Trace Crossings development, is just three miles from the heart of Hoover and the Riverchase Galleria. The Met seats 10,800 (3,202 box seats and 7,598 general admission) and the project cost was $14.5 million. It’s located off Highway 150 South near the intersection of I-459 and Highway 150.

The Met features 12 luxury stadium suites, a large banquet area overlooking the 3rd base line, two picnic areas (left and right field) and two full-size press boxes (baseball and football). Parking is provided for approximately 3,000 cars.

Recent improvements include a state-of-the-art video scoreboard and new catering facilities for Diamond Creations. Also, the Met received a rebuilt infield surface, a new warning track and an addition of the Barons Clubhouse Shop in the concourse.

Miller said plans were being developed to use the park’s JumboTron to provide close-circuit play-by-play action on the "big screen."

Fans won’t see much change in security requirements from normal high school or college games, but Miller said to expect purses and other bags to be searched at entrance gates.

Marengo County fans should take I-20/59 to Exit 106 just south of Bessemer. The Hoover Met is located off of I-459 at exit 10 (Alabama Highway 150). Exit onto Alabama 150 toward Hoover and take a right at the third stoplight (Stadium Trace Parkway). Follow Stadium Trace about one mile to the ballpark.