I am a University of Arkansas graduate and a baseball fan, yet I have no interest in Razorback baseball. The college version is an inferior product compared to what is on display courtesy of Double-A talent throughout the summer at Dickey-Stephens Park, and the Razorback coach usually comes off as a Grade A ass.
However, bringing Razorback baseball to Dickey-Stephens Park for a single game each spring has two primary benefits that makes me in favor of this amateur display of baseball prowess.
First, the sold-out crowds remind the University of Arkansas administration once again that Central Arkansas is a vital market to the financial success of its sports money makers. A large percentage of donations sent to the Razorback Foundation comes from this area, and fans from Central Arkansas account for a big portion of ticket sales for the big three sports played on the Hill.
But second, and most importantly, hosting the Razorbacks brings out people to Dickey-Stephens Park who otherwise might not realize that this is the premier baseball facility in Arkansas (one that absolutely should be hosting the high school playoffs, but that's a topic for another day). Let's face it, Arkansas is not really a collective "good sports town" unless you are talking about the Razorbacks, and exposure to Dickey-Stephens will bring people to Travelers games starting next month who otherwise might not be interested.
However... if the University of Arkansas athletic department is going to make the effort to bring its brand (which is basically how the athletic director approaches it these days) to Dickey-Stephens Park for a one-game showcase before a sold-out house, the least the Arkansas Travelers could do is HAVE THE FIELD READY AND PRESENTABLE for a game of this magnitude.
At Tuesday night's game, the outfield was mostly patches of yellow, and the infield wasn't too much better. It seems like this problem with the grass has been going on for two or three seasons now, but this is the worst I remember seeing it.
Yes, it is early spring and maybe the grass hasn't come in yet. But I don't see Baum Stadium or AutoZone Park (the Hogs' next destination) using that excuse. The appearance of the field simply put a stain on the game and brought shame to Central Arkansas as it battles back the arrogant tone continuously coming from NWA.
Is it going to be another bad season for the grass at Dickey-Stephens? Maybe it is time to get a refund from the Major League Baseball guy who planted this turf in the first place.
-- Travelerocity reporter