The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

College Sports

April 10, 2013

Again, I ask: Does WVU really need a new ballpark?

MORGANTOWN — West Virginia University’s baseball team has won all six of its home games so far this spring at Hawley Field.

These are the scores and attendance figures for each non-conference contest:

n Eastern Kentucky, 2-1, attendance 206.

n New Orleans (Game 1), 11-2, attendance 191.

n New Orleans (Game 2), 12-2, attendance 326.

n New Orleans (Games 3 and 4), 5-1 and 4-3, doubleheader, attendance 303.

n Marshall, 10-2, attendance 544.

The average attendance for those six home games was exactly 288.3 per game.

Granted, the weather was nippy most of these days. But they were typical of what Morgantown has in March and April.

Do you think WVU turned a profit, financially, for any of those six games? I don’t think so. They haven’t in past years.

Grant Dovey, WVU publicist for baseball, estimates that 1,500 people could be accommodated at Hawley Field’s bleacher seats which were donated by a Morgantown company years ago.

But I can’t recall when there ever was an overflow crowd for any home games.

Now let’s look at West Virginia’s baseball attendance average for each of the last 10 seasons at home:

n 2003 — 27 games, attendance average per game, 174.

n 2004 — 29 games, attendance average per game, 245.

n 2005 — 21 games, attendance average per game, 215.

n 2006 — 28 games, attendance average per game, 245.

n 2007 — 23 games, attendance average per game, 280.

n 2008 — 24 games, attendance average per game, 324.

n 2009 — 27 games, attendance average per game, 326.

n 2010 — 27 games, attendance average per game, 304.

n 2011 — 27 games, attendance average per game, 304

n 2012 — 26 games, attendance average per game, 325.

Do you think those averages of home game attendance for the past 10 years merit the construction of a new baseball park near a cold Morgantown shopping mall?

I’m told that would cost millions of dollars. But locker rooms could be built on either side of the Hawley Field dugouts for a few thousand dollars, according to knowledgeable people.

What’s more, the playing surface of Hawley Field is reportedly the best in northern West Virginia and it’s located within close walking distance in the WVU Coliseum complex. I am told that the turf was transplanted from an organized baseball stadium many years ago.

Keep in mind, too, that the WVU Department of Intercollegiate Athletics was $13 million in the red for fiscal 2012.

Isn’t it time to cut back on unnecessary spending? Growing numbers of former buyers of now-unaffordable tickets for the games in the two major sports believe it’s past time.

In my opinion, baseball — collegiately or professionally — will never pay its way in this city. I will believe that until somebody proves me wrong.

1
Text Only
College Sports
  • Miners stop Lorain County 5-1

    The West Virginia Miners received a strong outing from starting pitcher Patrick LaGanke, and scored one run in each of the final five innings to defeat the Lorain County Ironmen 5-1 Thursday.

    July 25, 2014

  • Some topics of interest to area fans

    Tom Hart, a widely known retired Morgantown High School administrator and coach, continues to excel as one of the nation’s top bowlers

    July 25, 2014

  • 072514 WVU Replacing Sims a challenge for WVU

    Every year, almost every college football preview publication available lists one key statistic that most use to evaluate the prospects for any given football team — returning starters.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • WVU’s Worley clear starter at cornerback

    There were few bright spots in West Virginia University’s 4-8 football campaign last year, and even fewer on the defensive side of the football, where the Mountaineers gave up more than 455 yards and 33 points per game.

    July 24, 2014

  • Holgorsen to appear on ESPN special

    West Virginia University football coach Dana Holgorsen will appear Wednesday on ESPN’s annual mid-summer college football coaches’ “car wash” — in which guests appear across multiple programs and platforms over one day.

    July 23, 2014

  • Holgorsen: WVU getting comfortable in new league

    Dana Holgorsen remembers the glory days of West Virginia University football — the ones that included conference championships and BCS bowl wins. In fact, he was part of one of those, leading the Mountaineers to a Big East championship and an Orange Bowl victory in his first season as head coach in 2011.

    July 23, 2014

  • 072314 miners Miners take series with Paints

    The way the West Virginia Miners see it, they don’t have the luxury of planning for tomorrow.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • WVU's Fleming signs with Yankees

    Second baseman Billy Fleming of the West Virginia University baseball team has signed a professional contract with the New York Yankees, foregoing his upcoming senior season.

    July 22, 2014

  • WVU to kickoff 2018 season against Tennessee in Charlotte

    The Charlotte Sports Foundation (CSF) announced Tuesday morning that it has secured a regular season college football game for the city of Charlotte pitting the University of Tennessee against West Virginia University.

    July 22, 2014

  • Can summit of bigwigs really solve college athletics issues?

    I see where the Big 12 Conference is going to host in New York City what will be titled “A State of College Athletics Forum.”

    July 22, 2014

Saints Training Camp