We’re guessing someday the new University of South Carolina ballpark will be named after coach Ray Tanner, but for now he’ll be happy directing the action from the dugout — and pleased he’s raised the public profile of college baseball.
We’re guessing someday the new South Carolina ballpark will be named after coach Ray Tanner, but for now he’ll be happy directing the action from the dugout.
Tanner was the driving force behind Carolina Stadium, the new $35.6 million ballpark opening this weekend. In general, Tanner is a force anyway, and the ballpark puts the Gamecock program exactly where Tanner wants it: in national prominence.
In an interview with The State, Tanner discusses how the new ballpark will help him in a very tangible way — on the recruiting front:
[The new ballpark means] bigger crowds, better players, greater passion, an event and an atmosphere second to none at this level. Keep in mind, I feel like we have the greatest fans already. We were sixth in country in attendance last year. We have built a program here, and when I say we, I mean coach Richardson started it, and coach Raines picked it up for 20 years. The hard work was done when I got here. The foundation was here. I just need to try to keep it moving in the right direction….You can hardly ask for any more as a young prospect and potential student-athlete. It’s hard for me to imagine that it could be any better than what we have right here.
We are in the midst of an escalating arms race in college baseball, with LSU and South Carolina opening state-of-the-art facilities this season. You can look for other programs to see what’s happening at these schools and realize they need to put some money into their ballparks.