LA CROSSE, Wis. (WXOW) – The La Crosse Loggers open at the Lumber yard in Copeland Park on May 27th, and fans should notice some new additions which will improve the game day experience.
The Loggers and the UW-La Crosse baseball program have a partnership and after three years of fundraising, the Loggers have made over $600,000 in renovations for the 2014 baseball season.
Loggers General Manager Chris Goodell said certain renovations were needed at the Lumber yard, mainly because of Wisconsin’s unpredictable climate.
“There are over 200 games a year played on this field, and to play that many games on a grass surface here in Wisconsin with changing weather all the time, you just can’t keep up, and turf field can certainly withstand that,” Goodell said.
Since October, the infield grass at Copeland Park has been replaced with astro-turf, there are new bases, and new dugouts.
“The probability of getting any game in is pretty high out here now. Playing ability-wise, everything is true because it’s astro-turf, so the infielders love it. You can have multiple games a day out here and not have to worry about the ware and tear,” Goodell said.
Goodell said other new additions, such as a brand new, 17x30 foot video board in left-center field and a new pavilion in right field will benefit players and fans.
“We’ve had rain delays and now with turf, rain delays will exactly be that—just a delay. As soon as it stops, we’ll hop right back on here and play. The people in our deck area, a lot of times they’ve left the park—and now they don’t have to. They can stay under our brand new shelter that is out there and stick around and watch us resume the game,” Goodell said.
Goodell said the Loggers have only been focused on improvements for the 2014 season, but he said future projects could include permanent bathroom stalls and improved concession stands.
“Everything is about the fan experience, given everybody that comes in here. It’s an enjoyable experience and anything we can do to add to that and keep making it a better place is important to us,” Goodell said.
Both the video board and outfield pavilion are not yet completed, but Goodell said when they are finished, it should create an even greater fan-friendly environment. Goodell said they hope to have the video board running and the pavilion completed by next week.
The Loggers and the UW-L baseball program have a 10-year partnership agreement, as UW-L will play all of their home baseball games at the lumber yard for the next ten years. As part of that agreement, the Loggers will donate roughly $40,000 per year to the UW-L program.
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