Photo courtesy of the City of Hoover.
0413 Hoover Met
The former Regions Park is back in the hands of the City of Hoover following the BirminghamBarons’ departure, and its future will boast festivals, major sporting tournamentsand more.
It’s been a busy spring at the Hoover Metropolitan Stadium. The University of Alabama has called the Met its home field this year, as renovations continue at Tuscaloosa’s Sewell-Thomas Stadium.
And from May 19-24, the Southeastern Conference Baseball Tournament returns for its 18th consecutive year to Hoover.
One question, though. Will the home-away-from-home Crimson Tide be among the 12 teams in the field?
The 2015 tournament again features just the top 12 of the league’s 14 schools, and as of mid-April, Alabama was battling Auburn, Kentucky and Tennessee for the final two spots. Each division’s winner lands an automatic spot, but the other 10 teams are selected by league winning percentage, regardless of division.
Attendance has been excellent through the years, thanks in part to Alabama’s and Auburn’s participation in the tourney, but also because the top five schools in NCAA Division I home attendance in 2014 were SEC schools, and they like to come to Hoover.
The 2013 SEC tournament drew 134,396 fans to the Hoover Met, a record high for the event. Last year dipped to 120,386, seventh-best in the 17 years. Auburn did not make the field, and Alabama was eliminated after one game. So, local attendance certainly boosts the box office.
The good news is that the league appears to be very balanced after the top four teams in each division, so neither Alabama nor Auburn should be written off just yet. And we’re just about halfway through the SEC schedule, so anything can happen.
The tournament format works this way: Seeds 5-12 meet in a single elimination format on the opening day of the tournament (Tuesday, May 19), followed by traditional double-elimination play Wednesday through Friday. The tournament will return to single elimination play on Saturday. A total of 17 games will be played throughout the tournament.
All tourney games have been televised in high definition since 2008. For the first time in the history of the tournament, all games of this year’s SEC Baseball Tournament will be nationally televised.
Although Hoover has been the host for 17 years, some other sites have expressed interest in taking the game away, at least for a limited run. The SEC is scheduled to keep the tournament in Hoover through 2016 under the current contract. Do not be surprised if an announcement concerning future sites is addressed during the tournament or more likely at the SEC meetings in Destin, Florida, later this month.
The two division champions shall be automatically seeded number one and number two based on winning percentage in Conference competition. The remaining teams shall be seeded numbers three through 10 based on winning percentage without regard to division. Ties will be broken in the following manner:
1. Two-Team Tie. The following procedure will be used in the following order until the tie is broken:
A. Won-lost results of head-to-head competition between the two tied teams.
B. If two teams are divisional opponents: (1) Won-lost percentage within their division (over the 15-game SEC division schedule). (2) Won-lost percentage of the two teams versus the No. 1 team in their division (and proceeding through the No. 6 team, if necessary).
C. If two teams are not divisional opponents: (1) Won-lost record of the two teams versus the No. 1 seed using common opponents only (and proceeding through the No. 10 seed, if necessary). (2) Coin flip by the Commissioner.
2. Three-Team Tie (or more). The following procedure will be used in the following order until the tie is broken: (Note: If the three tied teams have three different records against each other, they shall be seeded in best percentage order.) Otherwise, once the tie has been reduced to two teams, the two-team tiebreaker procedure will be used. A. If all three teams are common opponents: Total won-lost percentage of games played among the tied teams. B. Won-lost percentage of the tied teams versus the No. 1 seed and proceeding through the No. 8 seed, if necessary, using common opponents only.
C. If three or more teams still are tied, the Commissioner will conduct a draw.
General admission tickets: $14 per session for adults, or $8 per session for children ages 3-12. There are two games per session every day but the final day, when the championship game is held. On the first three days of the tournament (Tuesday through Thursday), there will be two sessions each day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon/evening. There is only one session (with two games) on both Friday and Saturday.
Fans can buy a six-pack, which includes six general admission tickets good for any session, for $66. Those interested in buying tickets for all nine sessions can get reserved box seats for $120 and have an opportunity to purchase a hospitality upgrade.
Hospitality passes offer both indoor and outdoor seating, flat-screen TVs, one meal per session, snacks and beverages.
All tickets, hospitality passes and special parking passes can be bought online at secsports.com.