MSU Baseball Scheduling, Left Field Fence

Mississippi State Director of Baseball Operations Tyler Bratton talks about the upcoming baseball schedules and moving in the left field fence.

I know the 2013 schedule is complete. What's going on with the 2014 schedule?
"We try to bring in name schools, schools that we feel the fans would like to see. We also want to bring in quality opponents. I think that is something that we have achieved with the 2014 schedule. We have some solid RPI teams from years past coming in. For instance, we open up on Valentine's day with Hofstra, who is from New York, for a four-game series. They had a top-100 RPI last year. I believe it was 97th. And they won 33 games.

"We have another northeast opponent coming in the next weekend, College of Holy Cross. They won 32 games a year ago and have a winning tradition. We will also play them in a four-game series. It will be one game on Friday, a double-header Saturday and a single game Sunday. It kind of takes you back to the old days when we played a double-header on Saturday against an SEC opponent.

"On the third weekend we will play Michigan State. They'll be here to play in a tournament that will include Eastern Illinois. We'll play each of the two teams twice.

"The next one should excite fans. We are doing a home and home against the University of Arizona, the 2012 national champions. We'll go out there and play them in a three-game series from March 7th through the 9th. Then, they'll return the trip in 2015.

"We also play our normal teams, Memphis, South Alabama, Southern Miss and a game against Ole Miss in Pearl (Mississippi).

"Although everything hasn't been finalized, you are probably looking at about 35 home games in 2014."

You mentioned that you will play Arizona at home in 2015. Who are some other teams that you have lined up for 2015?
"We haven't filled out the first weekend of 2015 but the following weekend we will play in New Orleans in a tournament at Zephyr Field, a park that holds about 10,000. It's going to be a Mississippi versus Louisiana type tournament. It will be three-games for each team. It will be from February 20th through February 22nd.

"The next weekend, February 27th through March 1st, we will have Arizona in for a three-game series.

"The next weekend, we will play in a tournament with the University of Oregon and the University of Nevada at Las Vegas. It's the first year of a unique three-team, three-site, three year tournament. We'll go out the the University of Oregon from March 6th through the 8th in 2015. The following year, 2016, we will host Oregon and UNLV here at Dudy Noble. And in 2017 we will play in Las Vegas."

Something else I would like to talk about is the left field fence being moved in for the 2013 season. What are the left field dimensions now?
"Moving the fence in wasn't something that was done overnight. There was a lot of research involved because we wanted to be very thorough. What moving the fence in will do is create more space in the left field (lounge) area. With the new, beautiful Leo Seal, Jr. football complex located behind the Palmeiro Center we needed more space for the road leading to the complex.

"But even with us moving the fence in, the biggest distance is about 10 feet. It won't be a big distance in other areas of the fence. For instance, from the foul pole to the next 12-foot mark it may a 2-foot difference from the old fence to the new one. From that 12-foot mark to the next 12-foot mark it may be a 3.5-foot difference, then maybe a 5-foot difference the next 12-foot mark. It is small differences until you get to the light pole and it's about a 10 to 12-foot difference there. Because of how it's staggered, it's not going to be as big of a difference as fans might think it will be."

It's actually getting you closer to how most of the other fields in the SEC are already.
"Most of the other schools in the SEC are about 365 in the power ally while ours was 376. At Florida, it is really deep in center field but from left to left center it's pretty much straight across. South Carolina, Alabama and Ole Miss are very similar to that. While those fields were going straight across, ours was angling out then back in."


Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the GenesPage.com website, the source for Mississippi State sports on Scout.com sports network. You can contact him by emailing swindoll@genespage.com.


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