Arizona Wildcats baseball program will be moving to Hi-Corbett Field for the 2012 season as the Wildcats look to invest some life into their program. The team has been solid on the field but it hasn’t shown though at the gate as last season as they averaged less then 1200 fans per game.
The UA athletic department will spend between $250,000 and $300,000 over the next six months rebranding the historic stadium, mounting the block “A” logo and adding splashes of cardinal and navy paint. The Wildcats will hold their first game there in late February.
To Lopez, the decision to move to Hi Corbett – the former spring training home of the Cleveland Indians and, more recently, the Colorado Rockies – is a game-changer. He said outside of Oregon, which “still has that new-car smell,” Arizona will have the best baseball facilities in the Pac-12.
“An 18-year-old kid is going to look at it and say, ‘Wow, these guys are interested in baseball here. These guys are serious about baseball here,’” he said.
Lopez addressed the move at a Wednesday news conference attended by athletic director Greg Byrne, mayor Bob Walkup and interim UA president Eugene Sander. All four were hopeful that the UA’s five-year lease and subsequent five-year option will renew fan interest.
So far, results have been mixed: Former Wildcats J.T. Snow, Shelley Duncan and Chip Hale have all spoken in favor of relocation, while others bristled at the idea of moving off-campus.
Lopez met with former coach and stadium namesake Jerry Kindall on Tuesday to discuss the move; after a long talk, they parted with a prayer and a hug.
Kindall offered his support.
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