Mississippi State is about to reset the market among college baseball facilities with the new renovations of Dudy Noble Field, which were released on Tuesday.
Watch this video and you will truly get a feel for how impressive this upgrade will be. Pay attention around the 1:11 mark. Yeah, those are individual grills out there in the "Left Field Lounge".
Seating capacity has not yet been determined, but it should not change much from the current totals of 7,200 seats and 15,000 total seats. The project is projected to cost (only) $40 million, and ground won't break until the Bulldogs have secured half of that in donations.
Outside of creating an aesthetically pleasing ballpark, Mississippi State and Populous have found a way to improve what could objectively be called the best stadium in college baseball. In fact, that's already been done. Stadium Journey rated Dudy Noble as its favorite stadium in college baseball last year. And it also holds the NCAA-record for on-campus attendance at 15,586.
The Bulldogs greatest accomplishment, however, is finding a way to actually improve upon the Left Field Lounge. For those unaware, the Left Field Lounge is Dudy Noble's version of the Wall at Fenway, Monument Park at Yankee Stadium, or Howard's Rock at Clemson. It's their untouchable shrine, simply because it's always been there and therefore always will be. Any renovation would have to take the Left Field Lounge into account.
Mississippi State has found a way to not only incorporate the Left Field Lounge into account, they modernized it and improved upon it. The 86 rigs will be transformed into 86 permanent lounges that will basically serve as year-round tailgating apartments. According to Mississippi State's official blog, lounge owners will have the option to personally customize their lounge, equipped with electricity and storage, and will be open in the fall and spring for both football and baseball tailgating.
If there's a lesson here for football programs across the country - other than that the SEC has now reset the market for both football and baseball stadia - is to not let your stadium's sacred cow from pushing into the future.
Scott spoke with Mississippi State athletic director Scott Stricklin this afternoon about this project. Have a listen while taking in the images below. Truly an impressive project.