Saturday, January 06, 2007

How About A New Siebert Field?

I see that the University of Minnesota has released the artwork for its new football stadium. It looks great, but here's my question. Where are the upgrades or new digs for the Gophers baseball team?

I can't blame the university for the desire to move their home football games out of the Metrodome. The Metrodome's two primary tenants, the Twins and Vikings, don't want to play there, either. Yet, if UMN is going to toss around some building capital, why not show Coach John Anderson's team some love?

Now, perhaps, there is a plan on the table to upgrade Minnesota's existing facilities. If not, the decision to only send money towards the football program comes at an interesting time. Four Big Ten schools -- Indiana, Michigan, Michigan State and Purdue -- either have approved plans for new parks, have renovations underway or are raising money to make significant changes. A fifth Big Ten baseball team, Penn State, will open a brand new yard this spring. When you factor in Ohio State's conference leading baseball complex, that's six of the ten programs in the conference either already playing in or planning to improve the setting for their teams. Why not Minnesota?

In light of the Golden Gophers outstanding baseball tradition -- certainly amongst the best in the conference and arguably amongst the best in the nation -- and the push by a majority of the rest of the conference to upgrade their baseball homes, one wonders why UMN's administration isn't pushing harder to keep pace with the others in the Big Ten?

The hope here is that with the Gophers football team exiting the Metrodome for a new building that the Minnesota baseball team will follow suit. A state of the art baseball complex would be appropriate for a school with such a rich hardball tradition. However, a major renovation of the current on campus site would seem to be the least the university could do.