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MLB To Play First Game At Historic Negro Leagues Field in 2024

  • Event next year in Alabama extends a recent run of games held at nontraditional locations
  • MLB's attendance surge continues with strong showing over Father's Day weekend
Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports
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Major League Baseball’s ongoing series of commemorative games is heading to America’s oldest professional ballpark next year.

On June 20, 2024 — a day after next year’s Juneteenth — the league will stage a game between St. Louis and San Francisco at Rickwood Field in Birmingham, Alabama, a park that opened in 1910 and hosted Negro Leagues games for decades.

The event marks MLB’s first game at a historic Negro Leagues field and extends a recent run of games held at nontraditional locations, including the “Field of Dreams” movie site in Iowa, the Little League complex in Pennsylvania, Fort Liberty in North Carolina, and the College World Series site in Nebraska.

“I never thought I’d see in my lifetime an MLB game being played on the very field where I played baseball as a teenager,” said Baseball Hall of Famer Willie Mays.

MLB’s Rickwood Field plans are announced on the eve of a new documentary on the Negro Leagues, which will debut next month.

Attendance Surge Continues

MLB drew some of its best attendance totals in years over Father’s Day weekend. 

The league drew 1.6 million for its June 16-18 games, its best pre-July weekend total since 2017. The June 18 draw (603,303) was the best Sunday showing since 2008. MLB also posted its first consecutive weekends with at least 1.5 million fans since August 2017.

The league projects an attendance lift of 6% to 8% for the entire season as fans embrace rule changes designed to shorten and enliven games.

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