Posted: 11:00 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2013
Before we talk at all about last night's Dudy Noble Field Renovation/Expansion talks and what came of it, I'd like to quickly applaud Scott Stricklin and his staff for this idea. It would be easy for him and the athletics department to shield themselves off from public input, but they've welcomed public input wholeheartedly with these meetings. That's important to a lot of people, because the renovation of DNF means a lot to a lot of people. A majority of the MSU fanbase has been following the Diamond Dawgs for decades, so they are highly invested in the program, the stadium, and the atmosphere that so many have worked so hard to make the best in college baseball.
Although I was not present at tonight's meeting, I -- along with what I suspect was a large portion of the people keeping up with tonight's meeting -- kept up with the discussions via various twitter accounts. One of the most consistent accounts providing updates was that of GenesPage.com's David Murray (@DawgsBitMag). Here are just a few of many updates via David:
"Improve, renovate, update, start over, there’s nothing off the table." -- Scott— David H Murray (@DawgsBiteMag) October 14, 2013
Scott "Mississippi State deserves to have the very best facility in the country. Not kinda good, not up there with the best. The very best."— David H Murray (@DawgsBiteMag) October 14, 2013
He asked "is there anyone here who wants to leave bleachers in their current form" at which the whole room chuckles.— David H Murray (@DawgsBiteMag) October 14, 2013
Cohen makes a great follow-up point; how on TV 3,700 fans on Tuesday looks empty, but 1,900 at Vandy's stadium looks full. He's right.— David H Murray (@DawgsBiteMag) October 14, 2013
'Flexibility' is one word for the night, related to small midweek crowds against need for record crowds' space too.— David H Murray (@DawgsBiteMag) October 15, 2013
One suggested take out the bleachers and put in a beer garden, which would improve student participation...— David H Murray (@DawgsBiteMag) October 15, 2013
a suggestion that slabs be installed, uniform size, for rigs to be parked on. Hmmmm...— David H Murray (@DawgsBiteMag) October 15, 2013
One asks a timeframe for the project. Scott "We don't have enough information, depends on the scope and the scale."— David H Murray (@DawgsBiteMag) October 15, 2013
Scott reminds that the DWS project started planning two years before breaking ground.— David H Murray (@DawgsBiteMag) October 15, 2013
And again, those were just a few of many. There was also a TON of griping about any potential changes to the Left Field Lounge. Overall though, from following David's account it seemed that a few major points were established:
At the time that I'm putting together this post, there isn't an "official transcript." If one pops up then I'll either add it here or add it in a separate post, but for the most part I bet you can imagine what all was discussed. Now, let's hit up the #DNF hashtag (which was the hastag the school asked people to use last night to join the discussion) to see a few other highlights from the discussion:
Would like to see an open concourse so you can get concessions, use restroom or do a lap with your restless child & still see the game. #DNF— Ghost of Hank Flick (@mandwnation) October 14, 2013
Old school manual scoreboard smartly combined with ribbon board for stats. Done right, classic look while also moving forward. #DNF— Patrick Wiggins (@iPat09) October 14, 2013
Blow it up. Start over. #DNF— Rob Hataway (@vhdawg) October 15, 2013
Speaker suggests club areas that are both inside and outside like Davis Wade Stadium #Dnf— MSU Baseball (@HailStateBB) October 15, 2013
Let me be "that guy on Twitter" and say that the inclusion of these tweets doesn't mean I concur with all of them; it's just to show you a sample of the changes that were suggested by some following via Twitter last night. That is, except for that last one. I can't agree with Joe more: it's important to remember that what has made Dudy Noble so special over the years is the fans in it, not the concrete and steel that have held all those fans over the years. If the best plan available leads to a renovation, then that's great. But I think Joe makes a good point that if things lead to a complete demolition and rebuild, then Dudy Noble will still be the same "Carnegie Hall of College Baseball" that we all love. Except maybe a LOT nicer.
There's a lot of great ideas in there I think, even if I don't necessarily agree with all of them. You can also easily tell how much people in the MSU family care about this, and care about Dudy Noble and the rejuvenation of not only the program, but the facilities that house it and our fanbase on spring weekends as well. To wrap up, I just wanted to touch on a few things that I think should happen as a part of the renovations. I will say that these are fluid with me, but at this current time these are the things that I would like to see as a part of the renovation:
I have to say that coming in, I was still well on the fence. However, when you think more about what is needed at Dudy Noble and what is possible, you may be looking at the best option being to completely demolish and rebuild. This seems more and more like a strong candidate for the best available option going foward, of course pending costs and available funding.
So, that's a lot to take in, obviously. And don't forget, there's another meeting tonight in Jackson for metro area fans to voice their opinions and ideas for the renovation. If you're around, make sure you get by there and let them know what you think. It's important that we get the school all the thoughts, ideas, brainstorms, brainfarts, etc., that we can come up with so that they immerse themselves in the possibilities, and come out with a plan that incorporates the best of everything in a new/new-ish park that will serve the Mississippi State Baseball Program for years (and hopefully championships) to come.
Also, make sure you leave us your thoughts in the comments on what you want to see with Dudy Noble Field renovations.