New Coach, Stadium Welcomed with Open Arms

Change is in the air for Arizona State baseball. The Sun Devils leave iconic Packard Stadium for Phoenix Municipal Stadium, and have a new skipper, Tracy Smith, whose philosophy has been a welcomed change for this ASU squad.

“It has been fairly easy,” said ace pitcher Brett Lilek. “We have a great coaching staff. They bring a positive energy to the game and that is something we were all looking for. He (Smith) is going to lead us and we are going to be here to follow him. He just wants us to come together as a team.

“The teams he has had in the past have come together, and we have seen what they have done, and they have been great teams.”

Jake Peevyhouse, ASU’s starting outfielder, is a fan of Smith’s new philosophies, which start with uncompromising accountability.

“People are taking a lot more responsibility with everything that they are doing and it is showing,” Peevyhouse commented. “People are working harder because you have to be accountable for everything and I think that is the biggest difference.”

Tracy Smith, former coach of Indiana University, won Big Ten Coach of the Year twice, and earned National Coach of the Year honors after leading Indiana University to their first College World Series in 2013. In his 18 years of coaching, Smith has had 54 of his players selected into MLB Draft, including 22 in the first 10 rounds.

*****

A new coach is not the only transformation happening around this ASU baseball team, they are also leaving behind the historic Packard Stadium and returning to Phoenix Municipal Stadium. Phoenix Muni was home to ASU back in 1964-1974 and will be their new home for the next 25 years.

A “new” and bigger park has Lilek excited.

“I love it, definitely a big park,” Lilek remarked. “The adjustment has been nice; the locker room has been pretty sweet. Everything else that comes with it is pretty cool. Definitely, bigger grounds in the outfield. We got some fast outfields who can track down the ball, so that’s going to help”.

“It gives you more room to run around,” Peevyhouse added. “I like it. Play a little deeper, but we have speed in the outfield so it honestly helps us. Instead of balls being fence scrappers in Packard, and we can run them down more easily.

“It is starting to feel like a home now. They are putting everything up, and finally putting up the little touches on. Especially once we get the banners and the retired numbers, it will feel complete.”

Coming off a 33-24 record, the Sun Devils enter 2015 ranked preseason number 20, according to perfectgame.org , and number 24 according to D1Baseball.org .

ASU’s Alumni Game will be held at Phoenix Muni on February 7th at 11 a.m.

The 2015 season of Sun Devil baseball begins Friday February 13th at 6:30 p.m. as they face Oklahoma State University in a three-game series for their home opener.

Click here for the full ASU Baseball Schedule .


Sun Devil Source Top Stories