Many have already seen it. The Mississippi State baseball team will have a new scoreboard to gaze upon when they take the field this spring. It’s the first step in what is going to be a major overhaul of Dudy Noble Field.
The plans to renovate Dudy Noble Field were announced some time ago, but no construction was to begin until the school had secured enough of the funds in advance to ensure the project would be a success. In a Wednesday Update last April, Scott Stricklin announced there were enough funds in place to begin construction after the completion of this baseball season.
Ever since the project was first announced, fans have been divided about the renovation. There was a large percentage of the fan base who was thrilled to bring what looked like a park that would rival most minor league stadiums to the campus of Mississippi State University.
There was another portion of the fan base who was less than thrilled with the project for one of two reasons. With the renovation, those who had purchased lifetime seats in the current Dudy Noble Field were incensed that they would no longer have those life time seats in the new stadium. The other group was angered because they believed what had made the Left Field Lounge great and unique was now going to be lost.
Appeasing either group of fans has not been easy, but both areas of interest needed attention. Far too often when baseball games take place, the General Admission seats will be full as well as the outfield, but there will be large swaths of seats that are empty because the lifetime seat holders were not using their tickets. What had been a good idea to spark interest in the early glory days of Mississippi State baseball, it had become a financial strain and eye sore to the current program with all of the empty seats.
Left Field Lounge is a much more complicated matter. The Lounge is almost always packed and it has carved out a unique place for the school in terms of college baseball history. The Left Field Lounge is considered one of the greatest traditions in all of college baseball, so it’s understandable why people wouldn’t want it changed.
The problem the Lounge faces is the liability the school accepts when they allow fans to bring their own rigs built by themselves to the venue to watch a game. No one from the school has ever come out and said this is the primary reason for renovating, but the fact that the school has not budged on insisting that the new Left Field Lounge will still provide a unique experience and allow those who decide to continue the tradition with a significant amount of customization makes me think this was a major contributing factor.
The argument that people who have been the most upset about the Left Field Lounge changes have always used is no one has gotten hurt to this point. They would be right (at least we think they are, it is possible someone could have in the early days but no one thought to take legal action) but it only takes one time to cause a serious lawsuit and financial strain on the university.
While those who have been upset about the renovation will likely never be fully satisfied, I hope everyone can at least give the new park a chance. The chance for lifetime seats will forever be gone, but there will still be plenty of opportunities to purchase new season tickets. It might not be the same, but it is something. And while the Left Field Lounge might be different, it doesn’t mean it has to be worse. Mississippi State baseball is one of the best things in all of college baseball, and a renovated Dudy Noble Field won’t change that.