When the men’s baseball team plays its home opener at the end of the month, it will do in a newly remodeled and revamped Hoy Field.
David F. Hoy Field, which has been the home of the Big Red (1-3) since 1922, has been a part of the Cornell landscape for decades and, beginning late last autumn, has undergone several key renovations that are expected to run at a total cost around $3.25 million, according to Associate Director of Finance and Administration Alan Katz.
[img_assist|nid=21903|title=Peanuts and Cracker Jacks|desc=The baseball team will be get to play on a newly renovated Hoy Field when the season kicks off this year.|link=none|align=left|width=100|height=95]
“We’re really excited about it. It’s going to be a first class facility,” said head coach Tom Ford. “At this point, we can’t wait for it to get a little warmer outside to use. It’s a great facility and we are very fortunate to have it.”
The project includes new dugouts, a press box, batting cages beyond leftfield, bleachers and general landscaping. Most importantly, the field is being resurfaced with FieldTurf, a type of artificial playing surface. These impressive new facilities will not only improve the quality of the program from a physical standpoint, but will also be a great help in recruiting.
Indeed, the coaching staff was able to land an eight-man recruiting class for the Class of 2011. The Red was able to secure all eight players through the early decision program, something they have never done before.
“I think we’ve already seen the results of the new facilities. We were able to get an outstanding recruiting class, and I think a lot of that is a result of the excitement driven by the new facility,” said assistant coach Scott Marsh. “It is a top facility in the Northeast, and I think a lot of kids are interested in coming to play at a state of the art, brand new place.”
“I think this will have a big impact on recruits,” said junior outfielder Brian Kaufman, a 2006 All-Ivy second team selection. “When we bring recruits out from across the nation to check out the school and the program, when we show them that field, that will be something that stays in their minds — along with the great facilities of the program and the academic facilities of the university. So, the field should definitely be a big recruiting tool.”
On Nov. 8, the renovations began, as crews began to re-orient the field to better fit the land on which it sits. Home plate, which previously faced south, will now be located in the corner behind the Gruman Squash Courts and face southwest. FieldTurf, an artificial turf that has been growing rapidly in popularity in the last few years, was installed.
“It’s a much faster surface, and balls will really fly around on the field,” Kaufman said. “One advantage from a defensive point is that there won’t really be any bad hops. But, from the offensive side, if you can get a ball in that gap, it will probably shoot all the way to the fence.”
“The biggest difference I see is that players won’t get any bad hops, so the defense should be pretty good on that surface,” Marsh said.
Today, three major league baseball teams, including the Toronto Blue Jays, Tampa Bay Devil Rays and Minnesota Twins, and several pro-football teams use FieldTurf for their home playing surfaces.
The FieldTurf, which provides the feel of natural grass but with low maintenance costs and all-weather playabilility, should allow the Red to get more practice time in during the early spring, when snow and still-frozen ground can be significant issues.
Kaufman and the Red are very thankful for the generous contributions of alumni and program supporters who made the renovations and new facilities possible.
“The baseball program is extremely thankful for everyone who gave for the renovations,” Kaufman said. “Our facilities are now some of the tops in the Northeast, and we’ll have one of the nicest fields in the country. We’re extremely eager to get out on the field and call it our new home”
While the team has yet to play on the new field, it has been completed for a few months already, and the other new facilities are expected to be ready for the Red’s home opener on March 31 against Ivy League rival Yale.