Ball Diamond and the Softball Complex are currently being renovated as a part of Cardinal Commitment. The fields have not been renovated for more than 40 years. DN PHOTO BREANNA DAUGHERTY
BASEBALL: Renovations to Ball Diamond begin
The Ball State baseball program has used Ball Diamond for more than 40 years, and while it is still a serviceable field, history has taken its toll on the diamond’s condition.
But thanks to a $20 million fundraising effort, the university is currently in the midst of renovating the Cardinals’ home field.
Baseball head coach Rich Maloney, who began his second stint with Ball State prior to the 2013 season, has led the way for the Ball Diamond renovations, and understands its importance based on the shift in college baseball.
After more than 40 years, the Cardinals’ home field is undergoing renovations that include:
“Really, if we want to count baseball as a true sport here in Muncie, Ind., then we’ve got to be able to commit resources,” Maloney said. “And that’s exactly what the university has done.”
The renovation includes new dugouts, modernized press boxes, grandstands and concession stands.
According to Maloney, these upgrades are only the beginning.
“This is only phase one,” Maloney said. “We’ve got a long way to go. ... I was out at the field just now, and I’m amazed [at] how much this crew has been doing.”
While success isn’t the prime reason behind the fundraising project, it can’t hurt. The Cardinals are coming off a 39-18 campaign that included a Mid-American Conference title.
Maloney said he believes field renovations will help the team retain momentum.
“We’ve got people in the community getting excited about our program again,” he said. “We’ve got donors wanting to be a part of it.”
Other MAC schools, such as Kent State, Miami and Western Michigan have recently updated facilities, along with Midwest competitors Indiana University, Purdue University, Ohio State and the University of Michigan.
Maloney coached at Michigan from 2003 to 2012 after his first time coaching at Ball State from 1996 until 2002.
“Back when I was here in the ’90s, I had dreams of renovating a field, of building a new field, before all the boom started in college baseball,” Maloney said.
One benefit of the new stadium will be improved recruiting, he said. Ball Diamond is one of the first things a student sees when they enter the north end of campus.
“It’s so good for baseball because it’s the first thing anybody sees off of McGalliard,” Maloney said. “It’s just been an eyesore. They have a chance to really clean up that area and make people say, ‘Wow, that’s a nice park and very nice entrance to Ball State.’”