3 Ballparks Are Receiving Upgrades For the Spring
Although baseball ended in the summer, several area fields are still abuzz with activity.
Winter and baseball usually don't go together, but this season is providing some changes for a few teams.
For three local ballparks, upgrades continue in preparation for the upcoming season.
At Franklin Rogers Park, a $3.2 million improvement project is adding and replacing new seating as well as installing a brand–new playing surface.
Facilities Project Coordinator Tom Fournier said "Visibility of the fans, there's some different areas that are being allocated with the berms and new buildings. So, they'll be some different perspectives that fans will be able to see and watch the game."
Director of Public Works Jeff Johnson said "The artificial turf seemed to be the best option for us. Mostly from a playability standpoint and also turning the field over in between games can be much quicker. We believe this will be a good product that will last a great many years."
Nearby, on the campus of MSU, Bowyer Field is also seeing a makeover with a new field and scoreboard.
Perhaps the most anticipated addition will be the dugouts, which are being replaced to emulate what you'd see at a Twins game.
The Vetter Stone Company has supplied the same material for the Mavericks as the stone at Target Field and along with a new look, heaters will be installed for games.
MSU Baseball Coach Matt Magers said "This summer we put new grass turf on the infield and then this fall we started a $300,000 new dugout project. We're about 80% to finish and then looking forward to finishing that here when we get some good weather."
In Waseca, a $1.8 million renovation has been underway after a fire destroyed the backstop and grandstands at Tink Larson Field last year.
Members of the Super Bowl committee and Minnesota Twins chipped in a $50,000 grant that assisted in new sod for home plate and improvements to the dugouts.
Waseca Baseball Assistant Coach Tink Larson said "If we can get the stands in by next week, then hopefully they'll have a little more cement work to do before it gets too cold. Then they'll be able to work through the winter putting the concession stands and the bathrooms up because they're made out of wood. Of course, the steel roof and that, the beams and everything, they'll be able to do that in the winter."
All three parks are scheduled to have their new looks complete by the start of their respective seasons.
The Mankato Moondogs will begin play at home on May 29 against the Duluth Huskies at 7:05 p.m.
MSU Mavericks' home opener will take place on March 18 vs Southwest Minnesota State.
April 12th will be the day the Waseca Bluejays open their season.
- KEYC 12