When Gophers baseball coach John Anderson approached Hall of Famer Paul Molitor to chair the fundraising drive to build the new Siebert Field, Molitor had one overriding thought.
“I didn’t want to do this, if we couldn’t get it done,” Molitor said. “But then I realized — not only can we get this done, but we had to get it done.”
Molitor, Anderson and U of M President Eric Kaler were among the featured speakers Tuesday as the Gophers held a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the new ballpark. The Gophers will play their first game there against Ohio State on Friday afternoon.
“This is my 37th year connected to the Golden Gopher baseball family, and this may be the proudest day,” Anderson said. “I’m proud for the former players, I’m proud for the future players, and I’m proud we were able to bring the facility that deserves the name of Dick Siebert.”
Twins CEO Jim Pohlad, whose family donated $2.25 million toward the project, was among those at the ceremony, along with former Gophers pitcher and fellow donor Glen Perkins.
Including those gifts, Molitor helped raise $7.2 million to get the project to this point. There’s a new artificial playing surface, a high-definition scoreboard, a press box and a 1,420-seat grandstand.
The Gophers hope to raise another $1.5 million to add lights, an indoor training facility and a canopy for the grandstand.
““Obviously we have more work to do,” Molitor said. “We have to get some lights in here, and we have to get them a hitting facility. But for now, we’ve got a beautiful place to play for people to come out and watch college baseball, and we’re really grateful for that.”