Tuesday afternoon brings a College baseball facility debut, as University of Kentucky will play its first regular-season game at the new Kentucky Proud Park.
Kentucky concluded construction last fall on this new facility, allowing it to have the ballpark ready in plenty of time for 2019 college baseball action. Wildcats baseball will host its regular-season home opener Tuesday afternoon at 4:00 p.m. EST against Eastern Kentucky, marking a milestone for the program and its new facility.
For fans, the new Kentucky Proud Park will feature several amenities in line with modern college baseball facilities–including 2,500 fixed seats, a 360-degree concourse, modern technology, and more. Kentucky officials, including head baseball coach Nick Mingione, anticipate that fans will welcome the number of amenities available at the new Kentucky Proud Park. More from the Lexington Herald-Reader:
The other major difference besides the giant video board over the right-center-field fence? The playing surface is all synthetic turf, with the exception of the dirt pitching mound. The change from natural grass to turf follows the latest trend in college baseball to increase everyday playability and reduce upkeep costs.
For the fans, the park’s permanent seating is for 2,500, plus terrace areas where they can stand or rent a chair for $3. Chairs from home are not allowed. There are also grass berms on either side to put down a blanket and let the kids roam.
“We had a scrimmage … and there was a group of kids jumping up and down, rolling down the hill, and I tapped over to one of the coaches, and I go ‘guys, look right there. That’s exactly what I envisioned,” Mingione said.
Kentucky’s opening of the new on-campus ballpark marks the end of a long era at Cliff Hagan Stadium. That facility originally opened as the Bernie A. Shively Sports Center in 1969, before receiving renovations at several points over the years.
Rendering courtesy University of Kentucky.
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