The City of Madison is making its best pitch to the new owner of the Baybears to move the team to North Alabama.
New owner, Ralph Nelson, has made several short stops in Madison over the past two weeks to vet the area’s ability to support a minor-league baseball team.
“I think this is probably the best minor-league baseball market in the United States that does not currently have a team,” Nelson said.
The fact that Huntsville just recently lost a team 3 years ago, because after failing to get a new ballpark built, hasn’t deterred him from considering North Alabama after heavily vetting the market.
“We love the demographics here. We love the economy here. We love the enthusiasm of the folks we have met with here. There’s a very attractive site in Madison that we like quite a bit,” Nelson said.
The move would require the City of Madison to build a $40-$50Million ballpark in the “Town Madison” mixed use development site off Zierdt Road. The Southern League would also need to give the thumbs up for the move to occur.
Nelson told WAAY 31 the process is moving rather fast. They’ve already put together a design for the proposed ballpark and are securing partners to invest in the stadium.
“Obviously, we’ve done a lot of preliminary work in that regard, we’re moving rather quickly and so I would say that certainly within the next month or two we should probably have this all resolved,” Nelson said.
Nelson told WAAY 31 if the team moves to Madison, there would be a renaming of the team contest, a new logo, new colors, uniforms and potentially changing it's MLB team affiliation. He would also personally relocate to the north Alabama, because he wouldn’t want to be an absentee owner.
The city of Madison is holding a second and final public meeting about rezoning Town Madison to accommodate a baseball field on November 27.