CURRENT TENANT: New Orleans Zephyrs (Miami Marlins’ Triple-A affiliate)
PROS: Parking. Exceptional fan support likely from LSU fans. Bourbon Street after the game is a big selling point.
CONS: Second-oldest ballpark being considered. A long way from the French Quarter. Few dining/lodging/nightlife options in the immediate area.
Hoover Metropolitan Stadium
SITE: Hoover, Alabama
CURRENT TENANT: None
PROS: Central location is six hours’ drive or less from nine SEC cities. This year marks the 19th straight SEC tournament in Hoover, making it the SEC’s Omaha as a baseball destination. Ample parking, including lots for RVs.
CONS: Oldest facility being considered. Lacks amenities of newer ballparks. Location in suburban Birmingham residential area means a drive to everything.
SITE: Memphis, Tennessee
CURRENT TENANT: Memphis Redbirds (St. Louis Cardinals’ Triple-A affiliate)
PROS: SEC-centric location within 6½ Hours’ drive of 10 conference cities. Beale Street is Memphis’ answer to Bourbon Street and is just three blocks away. Best combination of nearby dining/lodging options.
CONS: Lack of parking, especially for RVs, though city contends latter issues have been addressed.
First Tennessee Park
SITE: Nashville, Tennessee
CURRENT TENANT: Nashville Sounds (Oakland Athletics’ Triple-A affiliate)
PROS: Newest stadium. Central SEC location. Nashville may be the SEC’s best city in terms of nightlife/family destination. The honky tonks on Broadway after the game sound enticing.
CONS: Lack of dining/nightlife in a still-developing area. Nashville is the primary site for SEC men’s basketball tournament, so the conference might not want to anchor another major event there.
Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville
SITE: Jacksonville, Florida
CURRENT TENANT: Jacksonville Suns (Miami Marlins’ Double-A affiliate)
PROS: Hosted ACC tournament from 2005-08 and annual Florida-Florida State game. Ample parking adjacent to Jaguars’ EverBank Field. Near downtown hotels, restaurants.
CONS: A long drive for most SEC fans. Speaking of long drives, center field (420 feet from home plate) is where home runs go to die.