The center field wall at Siebert Field, the Gophers' former baseball stadium, was crushed by a 30 foot pole that had rot at ground level and was blown over during a storm.
Richard Sennott, Star Tribune
Siebert Field starts its own demolition
- May 23, 2012 - 7:02 AM
Mother Nature is getting a head start on the demolition of Siebert Field.
Over the weekend, one of the nine wooden poles holding up the huge black batter's eye behind the outfield fence toppled over. The pole on the far left -- looking from home plate -- fell onto the outfield grass, taking out one of the green wooden panels between the NCAA logo and the numbers 380, painted in white, indicating the distance to dead center.
"I'm just glad it didn't happen during our final game there versus St. Thomas," Gophers baseball coach John Anderson said. "It was awfully windy that night. Let's be thankful."
That was May 1 and 1,421 fans, including a lot of baseball alumni, packed the grandstand and temporary bleachers. It was the only game the Gophers played at Siebert Field this season, and it was billed as the last one there. Siebert Field opened in 1971.
"The wind blew it over," Anderson said. "Those poles have been up for 40 years. It's a message."
Indeed. The stadium's time has come. Anderson said he expects the U of M's board of regents to approve the first phase of construction on a new ballpark -- at a cost of $7.5 million that Anderson helped raise -- when it meets in early June. A ground-breaking ceremony for the stadium is planned for June 11.
In the meantime, Anderson said, the facilities department is deciding what to do about the other eight poles -- all about 30 feet long -- that are still upright. The pole that broke was rotten inside at its base.
"It is a concern," Anderson said.
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