It’s the sheikh thing to do these days. At least since 1988 when The Voice told Ray Kinsella that building a baseball field would make the world right. It worked for Ray, and it will work for the University of Washington, too.
The Huskies will unveil their new digs Friday, but there’s more to the new ballpark than the fans will see. Beyond the right field line the team has at their disposal a hitting and pitching facility with five cages, plus three pitching rubbers. The facility totals 8,000 square feet, the largest such in the Pac-12 Conference. The pitching rubbers are covered, but just outside the doors to the field side of the building. The players have access to this facility via key code 24 hours a day, which coach Lindsay Meggs notes is “a big advantage for us.”
Perhaps the most technologically advanced portion of the hitting and pitching building is the ability to project video of an opposing picture onto the wall, perhaps from a Pac-12 Networks broadcast, so hitters can get a look at their future foe as they work on their swings.
The field itself is 100 percent Field Turf, often seen on football fields around the country, but now used in many norther areas for amateur baseball, including Oregon State and Oregon. At the new Husky Ballpark, the turf has three different lengths. What would be the ‘dirt’ portion of infield on a natural surface is shorter than the other two areas. What would be the grass portion is a tick longer and the outfield area is another tick longer.
Coach Meggs commented that the turf has generated true hops during the team’s workouts.
The dimensions are as follows: 365′ to straight-away left field, 385 in both alleys, 395 in center and a a short-porch in right at just 317 feet.
The seating areas also have been completely re-done, with box-style seating behind home plate and bleacher seating throughout the rest of the park.
While it’s like football where facilities can mean almost everything in the recruiting process, having a new ballpark and facilities will help the Huskies compete in the Pac-12. They’re off to a solid start in 2014, including a series win in Tempe versus Arizona State last weekend.
Among the visitors to Husky Ballpark this year will be the last two College World Series Champions in the UCLA Bruins and Arizona Wildcats. The Wildcats help the Diamond Dawgs christen the new park this weekend.
Led by right-handers Jeff Brigham and Trevor Dunlap, outfielers Braden Bishop and Robert Pehl, and reigning Pac-12 Player of the Week, infielder Andrew Ely, the Huskies are 13-5-1 heading into the home opener.
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