Step Up To The Plate Celebration Kicks Off 2014 Season



Jan. 25, 2014

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The University of Alabama baseball team held its inaugural Step up to the Plate Celebration on Saturday afternoon in the South Zone at Bryant-Denny Stadium. The event was designed as a tip-off and a fundraising event for the new Sewell-Thomas Stadium as well as a way to begin the 2014 season.

"We want to thank everyone who came out to the Step up to the Plate Celebration to make it a successful event," Alabama head coach Mitch Gaspard said. "There was an excellent turnout and it was great to see a number of our former players in attendance. Those who attended the event had an opportunity to see the future home for Alabama baseball, and I think they were very pleased with what they saw."

During the event, the more than 400 people in attendance had an opportunity to hear from Alabama Athletics Director Bill Battle, regarding the plans for the future of Sewell-Thomas Stadium and the importance for creating an outstanding atmosphere for the team, recruits and fans. Following the video by Battle, Gaspard addressed the crowd to talk about the upcoming season and the positive outlook for the 2014 campaign.

Fans can get a look at this year's team by attending practices and intrasquads leading up to the first game of the season. The Crimson Tide will practice on Sunday starting at 1:30 p.m., and will close the practice with an intrasquad, which is slated to begin around 3 p.m. The practice and intrasquad are open to the public and free of charge.

After the Gaspard season outlook, a video recap of the team's end of the fall season Battle for the Hammer competition was shown, which was following by introductions of the 2014 team. A video outlining the history of the baseball program through the years at Frank Thomas Field, to Sewell-Thomas Field and now Sewell-Thomas Stadium, then Davis Architects provided a presentation to the crowd showing the plans for the future stadium.

After the presentation, the live auction took place, as the audience was able to bid on a number of outstanding items, including an autographed baseball bat from two-time World Series Champion and nine-time All-Star Albert Pujols, an autographed jersey from five-time World Series Champion Andy Pettitte, a two-day golf out for four at Kiva Dunes Golf Resort with Jerry Pate, an Atlanta Braves baseball package and a dinner for six with UA Athletics Director Bill Battle.

There were also four additional items added to the live auction, including an autographed bat by MLB Hall of Famer and former Alabama player and coach Joe Sewell. Former major leaguers in attendance, Lance Cormier and Todd Jones helped the auction by signing baseball items. Cormier provided autographs on a game-worn jersey and a ball while Jones signed a glove and a baseball. Also in attendance was current MLB player, Tampa Bay Rays center fielder Desmond Jennings, who signed a bat and a ball for the auction.

In addition to the live auction, those in attendance also had the ability to bid on 30 silent auction items. The silent auction items included signed jerseys, balls and bats from former Alabama and MLB players, autographed footballs by Nick Saban and Minnesota running back Adrian Peterson and autographed team equipment from the 2014 Alabama baseball team.

To be part of the excitement of the 2014 Alabama baseball season, purchase tickets at or call the ticket office at 1.877.TIDETIX. Purchased season tickets for the 2014 season will be shipped in early February. Single game and Mini Packs will go on sale on February, 2014.

Get all the latest information on the team by following AlabamaBSB on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. General athletic news can also be found at UA_Athletics on Twitter and Instagram and AlabamaAthletics on Facebook.