Friday, May 20, 2011
"Takes your breath away when you look at the field," said Asa Snitchler, Wichita Wingnuts fan.
Fans finally got to see what nearly $2.2 million in the city's capital improvement money plus insurance did to change the face of the 77-year-old stadium.
"I really like the renovations. I'm glad we got the new turf and new field. Hopefully, our players will react well with the new field," said Snitchler.
When fans walk into the stadium, they will notice the new logos on the artificial turf. Staff said turf has already helped with rain because they no longer have to put a tarp.
"It was pretty refreshing feeling knowing that we weren't going to have to worry about tarp pulls and pumping water anymore. We were able to get the games in without a hitch," said Josh Robertson, Wingnuts general manager.
For the past two months, the stadium was under construction. Now, fans can notice the new Lawrence Dumont Stadium sign that lights up, much like the new light posts surrounding the stadium.
"I've seen a lot of changes on this. This is beautiful. They've done an excellent job," said Patrick Arnold, Wingnuts fan.
The old and the new are combined at the stadium. The video board sits next to the manually operated scoreboard. The 1930's grandstand seating is combined with some new box area seats, replaced from the 2009 hail storm. Now, the improvements also accommodating taller players in the dugout.
"Those dugouts were tiny. This is a 1935 stadium. They were built for the 1935 athlete. Guys aren't 5 foot 11 like they were back then," said Robertson.
Staff said the improvements give the newness of most ballparks while maintaining the character of the nation's sixth oldest professional baseball park.
"This isn't just for the team. This isn't' just for the Wingnuts organization. This is for everybody in Wichita and we have the crown jewel here," said Robertson.
Fans can expect another change on the field. Next week, the blue padding will be replaced to match the team's color of red.