Notebook: Improvements made to Reese Smith Field

Raiders get ready for start of spring practice

January 14, 2014 · @MTAthletics

The 41st Annual Groundhog Day Luncheon has been scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 4 beginning at 11:30 a.m. in Murphy Center.

Head coach Jim McGuire and the Middle Tennessee baseball team will host the event to kick off the 2014 inaugural Conference USA baseball campaign. The luncheon will have its traditional menu of ham hocks, white beans, tomato salad, green onions, corn bread, chocolate cake and ice cream.

Tickets are $20 in advance or $25 at the door. Additionally, a table of 10 can be reserved for $250. Reservations can be made by calling the Blue Raider ticket office at (615) 898-5261. The deadline to pre-order tickets is Jan. 31.

Students return to campus this week, with the Blue Raiders getting ready for the start of the 2014 campaign. Classes will begin Thursday with Middle Tennessee, with the team getting together for the first time the day before. The Blue Raiders will spend a little over a week on group work before the first practice on Jan. 24 at Reese Smith Field.

"We're really excited to get out there," said head baseball coach Jim McGuire. "Our staff and our players will make sure from day one that we'll be where we need to be when we take the field at Kennesaw State on Feb. 14."

Despite the incredibly cold temperatures to hit Tennessee the beginning of last week, improvements to Reese Smith Field are just about complete for the 2014 season. Most of the work will not be noticeable at first look to Blue Raider fans, but will make a major difference in how the field plays.

A new irrigation system has been installed to replace the original system that was installed approximately 30 years ago, according to McGuire. The new system will help with the play of the field during the wear and tear of the season.

In addition, a new drainage system has been installed behind home plate to improve the clean-up time on rainy days. A new Field Turf surface has been added between home plate and the warning track behind home plate, with the artificial surface in that part of Reese Smith Field helping to minimize wear and tear during batting practice and in games.

"A lot of the improvements that were made this offseason aren't visible to our fans at first glance," McGuire said. "That being said, when it rains, or when other unpleasant weather hits, this field will be ready to go better than ever before. Our Grounds Services department does a great job of taking care of our field; these renovations will make that easier for them and for us."

Friend of the Blue Raiders? Like us on Facebook and become part of the True Blue army today.