*I’m going to preface by saying I love NC State and what the Athletic Department has done over the years. This by no means is a rant on “they don’t do sh*t”, because that’s 100% not the case. The updates to Reynolds, Carter-Finley and soon to be PNC, among other renovations, have been beyond awesome.*
Baseball needs upgraded facilities. Period.
With the NCAA year wrapping up, I’ve been watching my fair share of baseball. The one thing that stands out, is how freaking amazing some of these facilities are. We’re talking world class, borderline AAA quality ballparks for college teams. Which got me thinking, when can State make the upgrades and why has it not happened yet?
Baseball isn’t a Tier One Sport
“Why would State put money into a ballpark that doesn’t generate the revenue it needs to?”
I am here to say, that’s not the case. State fans are about as loyal as they come. Does that fandom ratchet up a level or two because of all the pain and suffering? 100% But, WPN is all onboard.
In 2017, State attendance ranked top-30 IN THE COUNTRY for D1 baseball. 500 more people per game and they jump into top-20. I do think Doak is decent, but by no means do I walk in saying “this is the place.” If it becomes a true ballpark that fans are giddy to go to, traditions are emphasized and the environment is pure madness, State would move to another level.
“How big do you want to make this damn thing?”
I’ve actually been to Miss State’s 15k seat gem. Watching Arkansas’ 10k go crazy is awesome. After all that, however, I’m a realist. Doak Field seats 3k-ish. Even the Top-10 in NCAA attendance just crack 5k, so it doesn’t necessarily need to be mindblowingly big. How about we make it a clean 5-6k with an awesome overhang covered concourse?
“State has gotten studs without the facilities, why pay for it?”
Love when folks talk about the stud that is Trea Turner. While I love him and he has rapidly made his way up every imaginable category for a SS in the MLB, he wasn’t highly recruited out of high school. Rodon, Bailey, Wilson all recently drafted and are making noise of their own. And State and Avent did it with a right field barn to walk out of.
Imagine being the crown jewel of baseball loving North Carolina? (No disrespect ECU and your crazy fandom, but we’ll have/need a sexier ballpark). You talk about the history of the program, here’s first-class training facilities, now let’s walk down this tunnel to the most pristine ballpark in the NC? Recruits will ask for a pen.
Three-stars become four-stars. State starts inching their way up recruiting rankings. They’re getting it done without the resources.
Winning Cures All
“Yeah right, whatever. Maybe if Avent didn’t choke we’d be able to have something. Maybe win a title first.”
K, cool bro. This will sound obvious, but winning is hard. Recruiting with current facilities in place, only adds obstacles. It’s not like State Baseball is bottom barrel in the ACC. Year in and year out, they’re in the NCAAT. Most years, they are top-3 in the Atlantic. Heartbreak after heartbreak has single-handily cost them ACC titles, additional Super Regional appearances and trips to Omaha.
I truly feel, this program is always on the very edge of making it big time. Would that Duke win have helped the cause? For sure. Would another trip to Omaha reignite talks? I’d hope so. But this program is steady and solid and now has the opportunity to go next level.
With all that said, when I win the jackpot Mega Millions (talked to my financial advisor and he says the Lotto Path is 100% the right move), Vonwolf will kick in a few mill to get this started. I fully understand, money doesn’t grow on trees, but would like to think the return on a baseball investment would be stellar.