Field of U's dreams

  • Article by: JOE CHRISTENSEN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 5, 2013 - 12:31 AM

The Gophers will play their first baseball game at new Siebert Field on Friday, culminating years of hard work to get it built.

hide

The grand opening of the new Siebert Field, the Gophers' baseball home, on April 2.

Photo: RICHARD SENNOTT, Star Tribune

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

Twins pitcher Cole De Vries can recite the proud history of the Gophers baseball program, including the 24 Big Ten titles, the three NCAA championships (1956, 1960 and 1964) and two eventual Hall of Famers (Dave Winfield and Paul Molitor).

But when De Vries pitched for the Gophers from 2004 to 2006, he never had warm feelings for old, dilapidated Siebert Field.

“You’d come on the field, and you’d kind of be a little disappointed because you didn’t feel like the facility lived up to the tradition,” De Vries said at this week’s grand opening of the new Siebert Field. “So now, I’m really happy for these guys. They finally have a facility that represents what this program is all about.”

For 32nd-year coach John Anderson, the long, hard wait finally is over. The Gophers will play Ohio State at 3 p.m. Friday, in the inaugural game at the new ballpark, for which Anderson first began pushing in the early 1990s.

Anderson and Molitor helped raise $7.5 million to get the new ballpark built. They’re still looking for about $1.5 million more to add lights, an indoor hitting facility and a canopy for the grandstand. But, the park already is perfectly suited for day ball.

“Common sense should tell all of us that if we’re going to have a Division I baseball program, that we needed to have a Division I, first-class facility for them to play in,” Molitor said.

The old Siebert featured natural grass. The new, 1,420-seat park has Mondo Sport Turf covering the entire field, except for the clay pitcher’s mound and dirt circle around home plate. The infield is painted reddish brown, so it looks traditional, but it’s a turf surface designed to keep maintenance to a minimum.

“We wouldn’t be able to play out here on Friday if it wasn’t for the turf,” Anderson said. “Ten days ago, there was 10 inches of snow on this field and three inches of ice. We got the snow off and the ice was here, but the turf absorbs the sunlight because of the color and the texture.

“We were worried about where the water was going to go when it melted, but as soon as the frost got out of the ground, the water disappeared into the system.”

The drainage system should help decrease the amount of rainouts, too.

“We were told you’d have to have a monsoon not to be able to play,” Anderson said.

With its condemned seating areas and faltering field, the old Siebert became practically unplayable toward the end. It bothered Anderson because the park’s namesake was his mentor, Dick Siebert, who always strove to have baseball played the right way.

Built in 1971, it held its share of big moments, but the Gophers moved all but a handful of games to the Metrodome in recent years. They returned to the old ballpark for one final goodbye last May 1, defeating St. Thomas there 9-2.

Gophers left fielder Andy Henkemeyer, who hit a grand slam in that game, watched the old ballpark’s demolition and new ballpark’s construction from a nearby Dinkytown apartment.

“The Metrodome was wonderful, being able to have warm 70-degree weather the whole time,” he said. “But it’s going to be nice to be on campus again and get a lot of fans here.”

 

  • related content

  • U of M baseball coach John Anderson (from left to right), Wheelock Whitney and Gopher alum Paul Molitor checked out the new turf in early April.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Boston - A. Ranaudo 6:05 PM
Pittsburgh - C. Morton
Toronto - D. Hutchison 6:05 PM
Baltimore - U. Jimenez
Washington - T. Roark 6:10 PM
Atlanta - A. Harang
Miami - N. Eovaldi 6:10 PM
NY Mets - B. Colon
NY Yankees - M. Pineda 6:10 PM
Tampa Bay - J. Odorizzi
Cincinnati - J. Cueto 7:05 PM
Chicago Cubs - J. Arrieta
Chicago WSox - C. Bassitt 7:10 PM
Kansas City - L. Hendriks
Cleveland - C. Kluber 7:10 PM
Houston - N. Tropeano
Detroit - R. Porcello 7:10 PM
Minnesota - R. Nolasco
Milwaukee - W. Peralta 7:15 PM
St. Louis - L. Lynn
Los Angeles - D. Haren 7:40 PM
Colorado - T. Matzek
San Francisco - J. Peavy 8:40 PM
Arizona - J. Collmenter
Seattle - R. Elias 9:05 PM
LA Angels - C. Rasmus
Texas - N. Tepesch 9:05 PM
Oakland - S. Kazmir
Philadelphia - A. Burnett 9:10 PM
San Diego - I. Kennedy
Tampa Bay 9/18/14 7:25 PM
Atlanta
San Diego 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Buffalo
Dallas 9/21/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
Washington 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Houston 9/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Minnesota 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Tennessee 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Baltimore 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland
Green Bay 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Indianapolis 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Oakland 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New England
San Francisco 9/21/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Denver 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Kansas City 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Miami
Pittsburgh 9/21/14 7:30 PM
Carolina
Chicago 9/22/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
(5) Auburn 9/18/14 6:30 PM
(20) Kansas State
Connecticut 9/19/14 7:00 PM
So Florida
Old Dominion 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Rice
Troy 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(13) Georgia
Georgia Tech 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Virginia Tech
Eastern Mich 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(11) Michigan State
Iowa 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Maryland 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Syracuse
Tulane 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Duke
Hawaii 9/20/14 1:00 PM
Colorado
Marshall 9/20/14 1:00 PM
Akron
North Carolina 9/20/14 2:30 PM
East Carolina
Army 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Virginia 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(21) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 9/20/14 2:30 PM
SMU
Rutgers 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Central Mich 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Kansas
Utah 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Florida 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(3) Alabama
Louisville 9/20/14 2:30 PM
FIU
Fla Atlantic 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Wyoming
Indiana 9/20/14 3:00 PM
(18) Missouri
San Jose St 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Minnesota
Texas State 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Illinois
Massachusetts 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Penn State
Georgia State 9/20/14 5:00 PM
Washington
Appalachian St 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Miss State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
(8) LSU
Northern Ill 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas
Middle Tennessee 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Memphis
Utah State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Miami-Ohio 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Idaho 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Ohio U
Ball State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
(14) So Carolina 9/20/14 6:30 PM
Vanderbilt
(4) Oklahoma 9/20/14 6:30 PM
West Virginia
Ga Southern 9/20/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
UNLV 9/20/14 7:00 PM
Houston
(22) Clemson 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(1) Florida State
Miami-Florida 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(24) Nebraska
New Mexico 9/20/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 9/20/14 9:00 PM
Arizona
Louisiana 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Boise State
(2) Oregon 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
San Diego St 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Oregon State
Toronto 9/19/14 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Edmonton 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Calgary 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Ottawa 9/21/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan

ADVERTISEMENT

Advertisement
Golden Gavel by Star Tribune

Countdown to great deals

Bid Sept. 21-29

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How do you feel about the decision to reinstate Adrian Peterson?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close