Build it and they will come

Buffalo baseball needs an on-campus stadium

By BEN TARHAN
On February 14, 2013

 

The Bulls have a lot working against them when they take the field on Friday at North Carolina A&T.

Any Buffalo baseball team would be at a disadvantage with the notorious weather: wind, snow, rain, sleet. You name it - we've got it.

But the UB baseball team has additional drawbacks, namely its lack of an on-campus field and its insufficient scholarship funding.

Baseball has only been a varsity sport at Buffalo for 13 years. It's understandable that there is no baseball facility on campus, and the large number of sports that Buffalo funds accounts for the lack of scholarship funds.

It's no one's fault that the baseball team is at a competitive disadvantage against the rest of the Mid-American Conference, but it's time to fix the problem.

The athletic program turns a profit, and the baseball team's alumni base is only growing. It's time for UB Athletics to step up to the plate and take care what could be one of the school's most successful teams.

The first step toward becoming a bona fide Division I baseball program is building an on-campus facility.

I've watched games at Amherst Audubon Field, and it's not an enjoyable experience. Although the Bulls' offense usually puts on a show, the steel bleachers behind home plate are the only seating arrangement for fans.

Buffalo is the only MAC team with a facility that doesn't seat 1,000 people or more. (Amherst Audubon Field has a listed capacity of 500.)

During the months in which the Bulls compete (mid-February to mid-May), the weather is not all that warm in Buffalo, and sitting on steel bleachers does not help to heat the scarce fan base.

Baseball is "America's pastime" and the Bulls should look to their past for a stadium site. Everyone knows about the softball fields on South Campus, but how many people have used them?

The open field is the perfect size and location for a baseball stadium.

Though the Bulls' current field arrangement is closer to North Campus, it's terribly inconvenient to reach the field without a car.

A South Campus field would be easily accessible by the Stampede and it would be easier for the surrounding community to attend games, which would help grow a fan base.

The small area would force the field to be built with quirks that baseball players are accustomed to and the game has come to be known for. Perhaps the Bulls could have their very own version of the Green Monster or something that would be purely Buffalo baseball.

Additionally, a baseball stadium would make it much more convenient and comfortable for local alumni to attend games, and comfortable alumni means more donations to the program. This could help the Bulls reach full funding and give head coach Ron Torgalski more resources to build off last season's success.

Buffalo is no longer a fledgling Division I program. With a new athletic director who has put an emphasis on winning, it's time the Bulls begin to focus on sports other then football and basketball.

 

Email: ben.tarhan@ubspectrum.com


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