The SEC baseball tournament opens today in Hoover, Ala., where it has been played annually since 1998. Might the tournament move to, say, Gwinnett County in a couple of years?
The SEC’s contract with Hoover’s Regions Park expires after next year’s tournament, and the conference plans to put the event up for bid for 2012 and thereafter.
The SEC will send requests-for-proposals this summer to Regions Park and two other minor-league baseball stadiums that have expressed strong interest in hosting the tournament — Gwinnett County’s Coolray Field and Memphis’ AutoZone Park.
Coolray Field is home of the Braves’ Class AAA farm team, and AutoZone Park is home of the St. Louis Cardinals’ AAA affiliate.
The issue of a future site for the SEC tournament might come up during the league’s spring meetings in Destin, Fla., next week, but a decision isn’t expected until the fall.
Gordon Smith –- a former Georgia tennis player, a retired partner at Atlanta-based law firm King & Spalding and now executive director and chief operating officer of the United States Tennis Association (USTA) -– will be among 10 inductees into the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Hall of Fame during ceremonies in Athens tonight.
Smith played on four SEC champion Georgia teams from 1972-75 and as a senior won the conference doubles title with roommate Manuel Diaz, now UGA’s men’s tennis coach. Smith is being inducted into the Hall of Fame not as a player but as a “contributor” to the game. During a legal career that saw him often listed among “The Best Lawyers in America,” Smith did much volunteer work for the USTA Southern Section. He has held the USTA’s senior staff position in New York since 2007 –- a job that Dan Magill, Smith’s former UGA coach, describes as “commander in chief of all tennis in the United States of America.”
The Hall of Fame induction ceremony is being held in conjunction with the NCAA Tennis Championships in Athens. The Hall of Fame is located on the UGA campus, adjacent to the courts where Smith used to play.
Two Georgia backup football players, wide receiver Israel Troupe and cornerback Sanders Commings, might play baseball this summer for a local amateur team, the Athens Pirates.
Both are listed as outfielders on the Pirates’ roster, according to this story by Marc Weiszer in the Athens Banner-Herald. “We don’t want it to interfere with football, but it’s something that we’re looking at doing,” Troupe told Weiszer.
Both players were baseball draft picks out of high school, Troupe in the 31st round and Commings in the 37th. Troupe practiced briefly with UGA’s baseball team this year but left the squad before the season started to focus on spring football practice.