Baseball: Renovation delays could threaten first home games

Renovations+to+Rocky+Miller+Park%2C+pictured+here+in+October%2C+will+include+a+new+turf+playing+surface.+Delays+could+threaten+Northwestern%E2%80%99s+first+home+game+April+1.

Daily file photo by Alex Putterman

Renovations to Rocky Miller Park, pictured here in October, will include a new turf playing surface. Delays could threaten Northwestern’s first home game April 1.

Alex Putterman, Web Editor


Baseball


Behind-schedule renovations to Rocky Miller Park could affect Northwestern’s first home games in early April, athletic director Jim Phillips said Tuesday.

Phillips said bad weather in November and December slowed the installation of a new turf playing surface.

“It’s not too far behind,” he said. “They have a little work to do as soon as they get the snow off, if we catch a break with the weather, and we’re hopeful that it doesn’t impact our home season at all.”

Phillips said NU intends to complete the playing surface before the home schedule begins and work on further renovations after the season. Plans include a new clubhouse and upgrades to the stands, dugouts and concession stands.

One benefit of a turf field, Phillips said, is protection against rainouts. Last season the Wildcats had two games cancelled due to weather, and in 2013 they lost two dates to rain and had three others postponed.

Phillips said even if the renovations delay some games, the turf will make up the difference.

“If you ask me, ‘Do you stand a chance to lose some games,’ I would say no more than would be lost if we had the same grass field,” he said.

The Cats’ first home game is scheduled for April 1 against Western Michigan, with a three-game series against Illinois beginning two days later.

Baseball coach Paul Stevens said last month that he remained confident the field would be ready in time.

“I’m believing in the people that are doing that,” Stevens said in February. “I believe that they will get this done.”

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