MSU Baseball Facilities Update

Mississippi State head baseball coach John Cohen talks one-on-one with Gene's Page about MSU's plans on upgrading the baseball facilities, short-term and long-term.

Specifically, what kind of work is being done to the baseball locker room?
"It's not really a huge renovation. There is a wall between the players lounge and the locker room, and we've decided to knock the wall out. The bathroom facilities are close to 23 years old, so we are going to fix them. We'll also do a little carpet fixing. We'll redo the lighting. We do so much video in our locker room and the lighting isn't really conducive for that. There will be some lockers taken out. And there will be some really neat stuff put on the walls that recognizes the history and tradition of Mississippi State."

The field is being reworked. When does that start?
"The company is going to be here late (Monday, July 28th). They will set everything up, then begin doing stuff (Tuesday)."

What exactly are they going to do to the field?
"The field holds water very poorly. The field just doesn't drain well. And we have to get that fixed. And the field is really not level, which also hurts the drainage.

"We are going to make our dugouts a little bit bigger. They will be six feet bigger going toward the field. And we will have rails in front of the dugout.

"We will put field turf in place of the (current) warning tracks. It's the newest version of astro turf. It's what we have in the Palmeiro Center. The warning track will no longer be loose material, no crushed brick. Whenever it rains all that loose material comes into our dugout. Then, all that ends up going down the drain and clogging up the drain. When it rains the drains are clogged and the dugouts hold the water.

"Another thing I hope we will be able to do is put up a new fence. The outfield wall is kind of ballooning out and we want to replace the (current) padding with a padding that has a wooden insert on the back that will hold it in place a little bit better."

What color will the field turf be?
"It will be the color of the (current) warning track, a dark red/maroon color."

Aren't you also doing something with the home bullpen as well?
"Yes, we are going to do some nice things to it also. I think we are going to be able to brick it in with a brick fence. We are going to have field turf down there as well. Because of that, we won't have to worry about the grass being trampled."

Going back to the dugout expansion comment. Why are you making the dugouts bigger?
"What you want to do is have it where (two people) can walk in the dugout side by side. Right now, you can't do that."

That has been talk that you might move home plate 10 feet closer to the fence. Is that true?
"No, we are not moving home plate."

What are some long-term things you would like to see done to the baseball stadium?
"There are a lot of things that we would like to do, but our administration has enlisted the help of some people who are master plan experts. They kind of understand our market, understand our fans and the needs of our fans. We are going to wait and see what those people have to say because Greg (Byrne) wants to have a long-term plan for exactly what we are going to do."

What are some suggestions that you have made?
"The aluminum bleachers, in the baseball world especially at the highest levels of college baseball and professional baseball, are something of the past. People are moving away from them. I would like to replace them with something else. But can that be done right? Maybe not. But long-term I would love for us to have some type of club level seating. That is something that other schools in our league have done.

"Something else I would love to have are areas in the ballpark designated for smaller kids to be able to play in. You see that all over the country."

Will anything be done to the Left Field Lounge area?
"I don't think anybody wants to see anything done to hurt it or that would affect our fans who have been there so long supporting our program. It is one of the gems of college baseball."


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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