The University of South Florida is replacing Red McEwen Field, the former home to the Tampa Yankees, with a new ballpark slated to open next spring.
The University of South Florida is replacing Red McEwen Field, the former home to the Tampa Yankees (High Class A; Florida State League), with a new ballpark slated to open next spring.
The Red, as known affectionately by Bulls fans, is a pretty basic college ballpark: grandstand, picnic area down the line, small press box and some pretty landscaping. It opened in 1977 and was very much a design of that era. While it technically holds 2,500 fans, a crowd that large would seriously tax the facility: fans would be crammed on metal benches and overwhelming the limited restroom and concession outlets. Pros will remember it as the temporary home of the Tampa Yankees while then-Legends Field was under construction: Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera spent a season there while in development, and Hall of Famer Robin Roberts coached at USF for several seasons.
The Red, in its present form, is heading into its final days, as USF is planning to replace it with a new facility that has all the things — enclosed batting cages, comfortable seating — recruits look for in a college facility. Probably for the best: it's hard to see how the current small grandstand could be the basis of something more, and the rest of the ballpark isn't worth saving in its present form. Still, for those of us who like baseball at its most basic, the loss of Red McEwen Field is a small blow against the quaint and intimate in college ball.
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