This is another post by Joel Condreay our resident Husky Baseball expert.
The Washington baseball program has gone just 17-37 against Pac-10 opponents in the last two seasons. However, Husky baseball fans have reason to be excited due to the strides forward the program is currently making in the recruiting department. This boost in recruiting is being aided by a new team operations building being constructed down the right-field line of the Husky baseball stadium.
Husky Ballpark, situated on the shore of Lake Washington, already boasts a top of the line field adorned with a large W in the grass in center field, a purple warning track, and picturesque views of Mt. Rainier and the lake. Despite the attractive field, the Husky baseball program has struggled in recent years to recruit players because of the amenities that Husky Ballpark lacks. The dated locker room is detached, forcing Washington ballplayers to walk a distance to reach the field itself.
In addition, Husky Ballpark’s seating consists of simple wood and metal grandstands with the paint peeling off these crude looking bleachers. The field even lacks plumbed bathrooms for both players and fans.
Not only is the seating structure less modern looking, but it holds significantly fewer fans than other Pac-12 ballparks. The Washington facility has the second lowest seating capacity in the Pac-12 at 2,212, which is less than half the average seating capacity of ballparks in the conference. When compared to the large concrete grandstands and better equipped adjoining locker rooms found at colleges around the conference and the country, Husky Stadium has not been a particularly appealing venue for potential recruits considering wearing purple and gold.
The construction of the new $4 million team building is helping to solve this recruiting problem. The structure will have a training room, video room, study room, and a player locker room that can be accessed from the field – all amenities that should help attract prospects. The building will also have locker rooms for coaches and umpires, coaches’ offices, storage, and an area designed for the use of spectators.
Projected to be finished in early 2012, the team building will also serve as a stepping stone for the renovation of the grandstands. Early plans project the new seating bowl to accommodate 3,000 fans in chair-backed seats. Suites and a broadcast booth are also in the future for Husky Ballpark.
The additions to the Washington baseball complex may already be helping recruiting. Coach Lindsay Meggs has attracted an exceptional group of signees this offseason with eight players taken in the 2011 MLB draft, including Pitcher Robert Stephenson, who was drafted 27th overall by the Cincinnati Reds.
These improvements to Husky Stadium have made an immediate impact on Washington Husky baseball and are creating a bright future for the program.