Some alarming news for you college baseball enthusiasts out there:
Jon Solomon from The Birmingham News is reporting that five cities are expected to compete against Hoover, Ala., later this week in the first open-bid process for the Southeastern Conference Baseball Tournament. Memphis, Tenn., Duluth, Ga., Jacksonville, Fla., Jackson, Miss., and Montgomery, Ala., are all expected to place bids for 2012 and beyond, in competition with the longtime host site, Hoover.
One year remains on the SEC contract with Hoover's 22-year-old Regions Park, which has been the tournament host since 1998, Solomon reports.
The average fan might toss aside this story and sarcastically say, "Big deal," but the truth of the matter is that Hoover holds a soft spot in the heart of SEC fans, players and coaches.
Since landing in Hoover in 1998, the tournament has become an annual end-of-the-year celebration. The town, the ballpark and the tournament format have been wholeheartedly embraced by Hoover.
The tournament has been so successful in Hoover that SEC Commissioner Mike Slive has compared the buildup of the tournament to the anticipation of reaching the College World Series in Omaha.
If Hoover and a league tournament compare to Omaha, the CWS and one of the richest traditions in college sports, then many believe there is no reason to change it.
According to The Birmingham News story, several SEC coaches have said they want to remain in Hoover, including Ole Miss' Mike Bianco, whose program would benefit by having more fans in nearby Memphis.