Fowler Park Shines in Opening Weekend All three games were sold out at USD's new ball park
Feb. 19, 2013
SAN DIEGO, Calif. - The University of San Diego baseball team opened their state-of-the-art Fowler Park and Cunningham Field this past weekend with a three game series against cross-town rival San Diego State. The entire series was sold out and was considered a huge success. Opening night on February 15th was televised nationally on Fox Sports giving viewers across the country a glimpse of the ball park's beauty, sightlines, and intimate atmosphere.
Fowler Park, a $13.8 million project that was constructed in just 38 weeks, is more than just a playing field, it houses coaches' offices, an athletic training room, a player study lounge, conference room, indoor batting cage, as well as a players' locker room that rivals MLB standards.
Fowler Park and Cunningham Field opens to rave reviews
The Toreros, who have been one of the best programs on the West Coast over the past decade, now have a premier facility to match their on-field product. The ball park, which features a grand entry archway detailed in 16th century Spanish Renaissance architecture to match the university's look, has two suites located behind home plate as well as an expansive press box that holds two radio/TV booths, and game-day operation center.
"It's the most beautiful ballpark I've seen, certainly on the West Coast," said USD head baseball coach Rich Hill. "I've never seen anything like it in college baseball. Being down on the field, with the lights on looking out towards the outfield, it's unbelievable. Adjectives can't describe it. I'm excited about the experience the fans are going to have."
The ballpark, whose dimensions match TD Ameritrade Park (home of the College World Series), has 1,700 permanent seat-backs, but can be expanded to hold 3,000 fans with designed temporary seating areas. This, along with a 25'x16' digital scoreboard and eight light standards with a Green Musco lighting system for night games, makes Fowler Park equipped to host NCAA Regional's and Super Regional's. Friday's home opener was the Torero's first night game in school history.
Populous, the stadium's architect, and Turner Construction made Fowler Park's beautiful layout and design possible. Together, along with the team effort of USD staff members from athletics and the campus, were able to produce a facility that provides an atmosphere ideal for watching baseball. The majority of the seating sections have only 14 rows and there are absolutely no viewing obstructions throughout the entire concourse, providing fans with excellent and intimate sightlines no matter where they are in the stadium.
"Ky Snyder (USD's athletic director) was passionate that our fans don't lose sight of the field at any time after they've entered the gates, and it's true," USD Associate Athletic Director of Facilities and Operations Josh Lawrence said. "You can always see action on the field no matter where you are in Fowler Park."
In front of a sold-out crowd, the inaugural night was kicked off with a ribbon-cutting ceremony with Ron and Alexis Fowler, whose gracious donation made the ballpark a reality. USD Athletic Director Ky Snyder followed with an inspiring welcoming speech.
"This is just the beginning of what we can be," Snyder said on the field before the first pitch. "The "Campaign for Torero Success" is our ambitious effort to renovate our athletic facilities to make them come up to standards of the academic reputation of the University of San Diego. This just shows what we can be as a University and as an athletic department."
For the ball park's second game on February 16th, the field was dedicated in honor of former USD baseball coach John "JC" Cunningham, who is in his 51st year of involvement with the USD athletic department. University officials also surprised Cunningham when they unveiled a picture of a Torero uniform with his number 33 and announced that his number was officially retired. Cunningham tossed out the first pitch before the game.
Fowler Park and Cunningham Field was made possible through countless hours of planning and hard work by Populous, the stadium's architect, Turner Construction, and the University of San Diego staff. The culmination of all of this hard work is an amazing ball park that players, coaches, USD students and fans will enjoy for years to come.