The MSU baseball and softball teams received good news recently in the form of stadium upgrades. The Drayton McLane Baseball Stadium at John H. Kobs Field and Secchia Softball Stadium will both be receiving new electric field heating systems, according to an announcement made July 28 by the MSU Athletics Department.
Sports Fields, Inc., began installing the new system, developed by The Slovakian-headquartered Heating Solutions International Inc., on July 22, according to a press release.
Upon completion of the project, the infields of the baseball and softball facilities will be heated, providing each program with extended playing time in the colder months. This should help with the early-season slump most northern teams experience because it is still cold.
“This project will provide our baseball and softball programs outdoor access in the early spring, allowing for team preparation for their competitive seasons that start in February,” MSU deputy athletic director Greg Ianni said. “Additionally, our grounds staff will be able to prepare the fields for game use in March, resulting in fewer early season cancellations. This is cutting-edge technology that will tremendously benefit our student-athletes and coaches. The generosity of our donors and the diligence of the Spartan Fund staff continue to make a difference. We are very grateful for their support.”
According to the release, a few “loyal donors” with an interest in the baseball and softball programs have made the project possible.
“We are extremely excited about the project on Kobs Field and are honored to be the first collegiate facility nationally to incorporate this type of technology,” MSU baseball head coach Jake Boss said. “The great game of baseball was meant to be played on a natural surface and this project will ensure that we will be afforded that luxury in the early stages of our season. Following the 2014 Field of the Year Award by SportsTurf Magazine, Amy Fouty and her staff continue to take a great surface and make it even better.”
Sports Fields, Inc. will install HSI’s “heating ribbon” technology, part of the company’s unique, patented electric operation module. The heating ribbons will be installed 3 to 9 inches below the playing surfaces of both fields and will operate via a control panel at each facility.
MSU will be the first university in the U.S. to install this field heating technology, according to the release.
“It’s a new challenge for us at Michigan State and we believe on being on the cutting edge of urban agriculture and providing the highest quality playing surface for our student-athletes,” MSU sports turf manager Amy Fouty said.
HSI has installed this technology on professional soccer pitches across Europe, according to the release, so one has to wonder if the DeMartin Soccer Stadium will be receiving an upgrade eventually as well.