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Mitch Barnhart sat down with CatsPause.com for an exclusive in-depth interview on the state of the athletics program. Part one of the five-part series talks baseball.
This post was edited by Matt May on 4/30/2012 at 8:49 AM
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Thx, Matt. I hope they fix the field and leave it natural turf, but I do understand that being this far north lends itself to field turf.
Thanks, Matt. Interesting read. Seems like I recall seeing a $15 million price tag mentioned recently for upgrades to the Cliff, which would buy some significant improvements.
Went to the Cliff for the first time in several years to see the LSU game, and was looking around wondering how they would expand/spruce up the stadium. They'll have to get creative to do it well. There's just not much room, especially since the track facility now sits much closer to the left field line (and the practice infield beyond the left field wall). UK needs to do something in the outfield if they can to give the stadium a little more personality and/or create more atmosphere (read: like other SEC stadiums, create a tailgating/viewing area out there for students and others so inclined to enjoy the game and food/drink out there - the "party deck" is not much). Again, just tough to do with the space limitations - which is why I was intrigued by the idea of moving the stadium over off of Alumni which was bounced around several years ago (though it sounds like that idea is dead).
The easy answer would be to build bleachers in left field between the scoreboard and LF line, but the issue with that is they would then have to find a place to relocate the practice infield that sits behind the LF wall. You're right on space issues. Anything they want to do would require taking away something that's pretty necessary there. If you build behind RCF/RF walls then you have to take out parking for athletes next to football practice fields and move the equipment garage. If you move the current hitting/bullpen shed behind LF to put seats down RF line then you may have to reconfigure the student parking lot nestled alongside. I'm not sure what the answer is, but they definitely want to do something.
I am intrigued by the idea of having at least a partial FieldTurf surface. Some more conversations since I did the interview late last week left me thinking they won't make the infield FieldTurf because the staff is concerned it would really mess with the players to play most of their games on that surface and then have to travel to natural fields. The OF makes some sense because you can't tarp it so it would eliminate drainage issues. There is also talk of only FieldTurf-ing the foul territory areas and behind home plate.
Yeah I was always in favor of putting the new ball park over at alumni and moving the softball team over to the Cliff. It just made more sense to do it that way. But now they will be redoing the softball stadium this summer so that plan is definitly not going to happen.
Follow me on twitter @ TailgatingCzar
Nice interview Matt. It is always good to hear from Mitch on the plans for the future.
I'm kind of shocked more people didn't respond to this article. I'm excited to read the next ones.
Summer fatigue may be setting in...
I'm kind of in the mindset that Cliff Hagan Stadium is perfect for their purposes. Unless it means they can't host some regionals in the future, I don't think they need to rush into anything.
Follow me on Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/JDrumUK
Really great opportunity for CatsPause. I really enjoyed part I. People think Mitch is dumb and clueless, but you can tell that they cover every angle. I, too, look forward to reading the next edition.
Twitter - @JEdwar247
Really liked this article, Matt; can't wait to read the rest of it.
I'm also in favor of renovating the Cliff.
Danville / Atlanta / Westport, CT / @tbradg
I like the Cliff now, but it could use a few perks. The feel of it is nice already.
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