Good Friday morning West Alabama. It is June 21, 2024, the first full day of Summer which actually began yesterday afternoon.

It was fitting that "The Boys of Summer" brought a spectacular night to Rickwood Field in Birmingham Thursday evening. A packed house at the nation's oldest professional baseball stadium saw St. Louis edge San Francisco 6-5. The difference in the game being Alabama native Brendon Donavon's first major league homerun.

It was another Alabama native though that was in the hearts and minds of all in attendance, Hall of Famer Willie Mays. The "Say Hey Kid" died Monday at the age of 93. He played with the Birmingham Black Barons. He got his first pro hit off pitching great Satchel Page in that stadium. It seemed the stars aligned for the event.

More than a year ago Rickwood, home to the Birmingham Black Barons, was selected to host the major league game to honor the stars of Negro Baseball League. One of the league's biggest stars was Willie Mays who played his high school baseball at Rickwood and then began hi pro ball career in the same stadium.

Noone could have fathomed that Mays, who was slated to attend the game, would pass away at the age of 93 just days before the game. His son Michael told the sold-out crowd in pregame ceremonies that his dad actually found a way to be there. He had written a note Monday to be read to the crowd.

“I’m not able to get to Birmingham this year but will follow the game back here in the Bay Area,” Mays wrote. “My heart will be with all of you who are honoring the Negro League ballplayers, who should always be remembered, including all my teammates on the Black Barons. I wanted to thank Major League Baseball, the Giants, the Cardinals and all the fans who’ll be at Rickwood or watching the game. It’ll be a special day, and I hope the kids will enjoy it and be inspired by it.”

The crowd paid their own tribute to, arguably the greatest player ever, with shouts of "Willie, Willie, Willie". It was a moment that brought tears to eyes everywhere.

After the national anthem the oldest living Negro League player and Mays' former teammate Bill Greason, 99, threw out the ceremonial first pitch.

It was a day that will be remembered in baseball lore and Rickwood's storied history forever. Yes, it was fitting that it happened on the first day of summer.

The Forecast:

Sunny, with a high near 93. Northeast wind around 5 mph.
Mostly clear, with a low around 70. Northeast wind around 5 mph becoming calm in the evening.
Mostly sunny, with a high near 96. Calm wind becoming southeast around 5 mph in the afternoon.
Saturday Night
Mostly clear, with a low around 72. Calm wind.
Sunny, with a high near 97. Calm wind becoming west around 5 mph in the afternoon.
Sunday Night
Partly cloudy, with a low around 75.
Next Week
Chances of showers and thunderstorms each day with highs in the mid 90s and lows in the lower to mid 70s.

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Topping the News:

Tuscaloosa County recorded its 16th homicide of the year overnight. TPD and the Tuscaloosa Violent Crimes Unit responded to a shot fired call at midnight. When they arrived at a residence on 33rd Avenue officers found a deceased male. No other information has been made available.


50-year-old Stacy Lee Drake is in custody after being captured in a wooded area near Morrilton, Arkansas Thursday. He is wanted in connection with the murder of Russell Andrews on May 14 on Warner Parkway at Tuscaloosa's Alcoholics Anonymous.

Tuscaloosa Violent Crimes Unit Commander Capt. Jack Kennedy told reporters investigators are on their way to Arkansas.

Drake is also a suspect in homicides and carjackings in Oklahoma.


Juneteenth was Wednesday but more people can celebrate on the weekend, so tomorrow Northport’s Juneteenth Celebration will be conducted at the Robert Hasson Community Center. It is located at 1215 Bridge Ave. It begins at noon.


Blue Bird school busses are among the top selling yellow busses bought by school systems across the country and here in Alabama. Now the company is upgrading safety features on the new busses.

Features will include three-point seat belts as standard protection for all students, a steering wheel-deployed airbag for the driver, high-intensity LED lighting on the outside and inside of the buses, and high-resolution front and rear cameras.


Over half of the U.S. Car dealerships have been shut down due to a massive cyber-attack many authorities say originated in China. There has been no confirmation of any West Alabama car dealers being impacted but it is likely that some are.

Multiple attacks this week targeted software provider CDK Global which is one of three major providers for car dealers nationwide.

Among information that the hackers may have accessed are Vehicle Identification Numbers (VIN), customer financial and identity data from dealerships.


A high-speed chase through from Dallas County into Perry County resulted in the capture of a Selma shooting suspect Thursday. 38-year-old Jason Craig of Orville, was taken into custody a numerous Selma, Dallas County and Perry County units chased Craig at speeds exceeding 100 mph.

The victim of the shooting is listed in critical condition.


University of Alabama Deputy Police Chief Micah Rodgers has graduated from the FBI Academy located in Quantico, VA.

In a release from UA Rodgers was listed as one of 201 law enforcement officers to receive a broad spectrum of training from the academy. He has been with UAPD for 15 years.


Topping Sports News:

The Championship round of the College Baseball World Series matches the SEC West’s Texas A&M Aggies against the SEC East’s Tennessee Vols this weekend. The best of three games begins at 3:30 tomorrow afternoon. Game two is Sunday and there could be a game Monday if needed.


4-star Alabama quarterback commit Keelon Russell may be getting a fifth star behind his name after being named Most Valuable Player at Elite 11 Finals.

Russell is 6-foot-3, 180-pound and became the first Alabama commit to win the award since Tua Tagovailoa in 2016.


Have a wonderful weekend!!

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