Siebert Field is falling apart

The stadium’s condition forced some games to be moved to the Metrodome.

Than Tibbetts

Still seeking a new stadium, the Gophers baseball team will now play two-thirds of its 2005 home games at the Metrodome.

Siebert Field, the 33-year-old home of the team, which is falling apart, will force athletics officials to bump much of next season off campus.

“The stadium doesn’t provide a safe and comfortable environment,” baseball coach John Anderson said. “We don’t have much of a choice.”

Some of Siebert Field’s block walls are falling down, the foundation is crumbling and an equipment room roof leaks, Anderson said. The playing surface is still in excellent condition.

“It’s embarrassing to me,” Anderson said. “The players enjoy playing at Siebert. It’s very comforting and relaxing there.”

The Gophers baseball team will play 25 of its 36 home games at the Dome for the 2005 season. Officials would have moved the entire home season to the facility, but some games conflict with the Minnesota Twins’ schedule, Anderson said.

Moving to the Metrodome is the best option available, Athletics Director Joel Maturi said.

But Maturi said having to play in a crumbling facility or moving games to a noncampus facility is “inconsistent with what we want to be on campus.”

Maturi and Anderson said they were thankful the Twins helped the Gophers.

The baseball players enjoy playing at Siebert Field, Anderson said.

“I hear the kids talk about the magic of Siebert Field,” Anderson said. “But there’s gonna come a time when the thing’s not gonna stand up any longer.”

Officials said they have plans to build a new baseball stadium in a future campus athletics and recreational sports expansion called University Park.

Previous stadium cost estimates ranged from $7 million to $12 million, Maturi said. Where to find money to pay for the possible project is unknown, Maturi said.

The Board of Regents would have to approve a proposed stadium plan before the University could move ahead with a feasibility study, Maturi said, and the regents might take up the issue in their November or December meetings.

Named in honor of former coach Dick Siebert, the field opened in 1971.

The team wants to play on campus, Anderson said.

“When you don’t have a facility, you’re vulnerable,” Anderson said. “Thankfully, we have the Metrodome.”