U coach

Jim Schortemeyer

Fresh on the heels of losing out on a bid to host the NCAA regionals, Minnesota baseball coach John Anderson is making it known his team wants a new stadium.
Minnesota applied to be one of the 16 host sites but was denied. Anderson said the Gophers’ failed bid wasn’t due to the team’s lower seed.
“We’re a two-seed and other two-seeds have stadiums,” Anderson said. “What I heard was that the field was what decided our bid.
“If you study the history of it, generally 65 to 70 percent of the time the host school moves on,” Anderson said. “That’s a huge advantage.”
The last time the Gophers hosted an NCAA regional was also the last time they made it to the College World Series. That was 1977, when Siebert Field was still considered one of the best fields in the Midwest.
Anderson said the home-field advantage was a factor for the 1977 Gophers team, of which he was a member.
But Siebert Field was reasonably new when Anderson played on it. Now it’s more than 25 years old and Anderson doesn’t see a way for it to be renovated.
“I’d like to see us build a new stadium,” he said. “We’re cramped for space right now. We love the field and the features, but we want to do some additions to the seating in the press box and in the stands that we can’t do at our present site.”
Anderson’s talk isn’t just idle chatter; he says the baseball program has been talking about a move for four to five years. The baseball team has done a study of prospective sites, and Anderson has earmarked the warehouse and parking lot north of Mariucci Arena as his favorite site.
Anderson said the University will need roughly $6 million to build a new stadium. But before any of that can happen, the Board of Regents would have to approve the idea.
Ohio State built a 3,000-seat baseball stadium last year at the cost of roughly $3 million.
The major stumbling block figures to be Title IX, the 1972 law that requires federally funded schools to provide equal athletics opportunities to male and female students. Anderson isn’t sure how the law affects his chances to get a new stadium.
“If $6 million walked into President (Mark) Yudof’s door, I’m not sure we’d be able to build a stadium because of gender-equity issues,” Anderson said.
“I think it’s great that the soccer team is getting a new stadium and the softball team is getting a new stadium. They need that to compete on a national level. And so do we.”