Chamber offers $1 Barons night

Sports moments have always been a footnote to my memories. A night at a Birmingham Barons game is no different.

During the 1989 season, I remember going to games all the time at the new Hoover Met.

Barons games to me meant ice cream in a baseball helmet bowl, peanuts, a hot dog, foul balls and victory. We were always fortunate to collect a ball every few games on the first base side.

This Thursday, June 18, the Greater Shelby Chamber of Commerce will host Shelby County Night with the Barons for a special price of $5 admits five people. That’s $1 per person on Thirsty Thursday, when beverages are $1 each and chicken wings are $0.25 each.

To top it off, the game will be a battle of the Southern League’s best teams. The Barons are currently atop the South Division, while the Huntsville Stars are atop the North Division.

One of the major complaints about sports today is that it’s too expensive to take a family to a great game. Not this week.

This special offer between the two long-time rivals is a throw back to that special 1989 season, when the Barons won the Southern League title and Huntsville was the second-best team.

It was the season I first came to enjoy baseball. It was the season I learned to catch.

One of my most vivid memories of that season is standing at the base of the grassy hill along the right field line. I was asking for former Barons outfielder C.L. Penigar’s autograph, while pitcher Buddy Groom warmed up.

Penigar tossed a ball to me, which I dropped. So, he tossed another — determined to have me catch one. I eventually did. It wasn’t actually the first time I’d learned to catch, but is one of my main early memories.

Most likely, the Southern League baseball I keep in my desk drawer was one of the baseballs they threw to me that day, or another day.

To take advantage of the special offer, tickets must be purchased and picked up at the Chamber office, 1301 County Services Drive, Pelham.

Outside the Lines is a weekly opinion column