AState Needs a Diamond, Lots of Them

As we write this the status of Wednesday afternoon Arkansas State home baseball game against Missouri State is in doubt. The decision is to be made in the morning.

If it is not played that would give the Red Wolves’ three lost home dates this season. This home series was originally a Tuesday-Wednesday event that was sliced down to one because of playing conditions. There was also a lost game against Illinois State in the season opening weekend.

Of course that is coming on the heels of last weekend’s season opening Sun Belt series with Texas-Arlington that was moved to Jackson, Miss., where there was an all-weather field. The Red Wolves lost two of three to the Mavericks at the neutral site "home" game.

It is the second time in the last two seasons the Red Wolves, who have become one of the emerging programs in the SBC, have had to move a series. Last year it was Creighton, although one game was eventually played in Jonesboro, going to Millington, Tenn. Again the Red Wolves lost two of three.

Statistics prove in college baseball the home teams usually wins two of three. The stats also show doubleheaders are hard to sweep.

If the Red Wolves can get on the field that probably bodes well for this weekend’s Sun Belt Conference series with Georgia State. The Red Wolves, likely contenders for the conference title, need to play at home.

A-State has made big strides in baseball in the last few years under Tommy Raffo. They are regulars in the SBC tourney, making it to at least the semifinals each season, and after the first few years of patchwork we are seeing a program that is maturing. And winning.

The next needed move would be an all-turf field that would greatly solve the scheduling problems. In fact, Raffo said, if the Red Wolves had an all-turf field, “we’d have people calling us to play.”

It would also reduce a strain off the budget since taking a college baseball team on the road for a weekend series usually costs around $15,000.

Raffo said around 1,500 high school students and 75 to 80 teams are on campus for baseball events each year – camps and tournaments. That number would greatly increase with a new surface.

The big issue here is the cost is around $1 million and all extra funding is going into football construction. Extra dollars are hard to find.

In the last few years there have been upgrades, nice field level seating, a new locker room and the Barton’s Home Run Deck. All of that through upgrades have come from private donations.

Raffo and staff have done a good job of building a team and needs help in taking the next step.

An all-weather field would be a big step in right direction.