New season, new home comforts

Gator baseball will open the 2018 season with upgrades to Maloney Field, as well as free admission to home games for students.

The improvements at The Swamp include an upgraded sound system and speakers, new dugout seats and a larger scoreboard that is still being completed.

Maloney has also received enhancements the past two offseasons. In 2016, the outfield got new signage and a large banner in the stands proclaiming “This is Gator Country.”

Before the start of the 2017 season, improvements were made to the playing surface to make it level and the field got a “new pitcher’s mound, new sod, new windscreens, and the installation of new foul poles,” according to SFStateGators.com, the school’s official athletic website.

Brandon Davis, associate director of athletics for Communications and Fan Development at SF State, said in an email that the athletics department identifies its needs, then work with the budget and procurement departments to facilitate the actual purchase. Davis feels that the upgrades will “improve both the student-athlete and fan experience.”

“The baseball scoreboard was a large-ticket item for this season,” said Davis, who added that although the scoreboard is yet to be completed, it looks “better already” and the sound system is a “huge improvement.” Since the project is ongoing, a final bill for the upgrades hasn’t been provided because, “the project is still active and costs have not been finalized,” said Steven Chang, who works in Business Operations in Procurement and Support Services for SF State. Davis confirmed that the project was paid for with funds from the annual athletics budget.

Former Athletics Director Charles Guthrie, Director of Procurement Megan Dobbyn, Davis and members of the school’s budget department were some of the administrative people involved in the decision-making process for the Maloney project. “John Lew is the project manager for the Capital Planning, Design, & Construction department that provides oversight and coordination on the Maloney Field Scoreboard Replacement project,” according to Chang.

Davis and SF State baseball head coach Anthony Schifano both described the scoreboard as being “old” and “aging.” Schifano said it was hard to know the score at times because parts of the scoreboard were no longer working.

Coach Schifano feels that the improvements to The Swamp show support for the team from the school’s administration, with the new sound system in particular providing “a boost of energy.” Schifano believes that it bene ts everybody but especially the student-athletes whose families come to watch them play in the improved facilities.

“It’s been tremendous, it adds a little rhythm, each guy picks a song to add to the list, so they feel a part of it and adds a good energy to practice,” said Schifano in reference to the new sound system. Davis said the improvements will give the team a sense of pride and they will recognize that people are investing in them.

According to Davis, the softball program also received several improvements as part of the recent Mashouf Wellness Center development, such as having a new sound system installed as well. He pointed out that SF State wanted “to make sure that we make decisions that are not one-sided and are in line with Title IX,” said Davis in an email. “For instance, if we make changes at baseball, changes at softball should be made also.”

Along with these improvements, SF State is offering free admission for all 2018 home baseball games.

“The free admission improves the fan experience – no hassle of buying tickets,” said Davis. He hopes it will also draw a larger fan base and said that although “it may seem like we’re giving away money,” it will be a way for people to support the school’s student-athletes.

Coach Schifano said it would be a way “to open it up to the community.”

The SF State community will get its first look at the revamped Maloney Field, and this year’s team, at their home opener on Thursday, Feb. 1 against Azusa Pacific at 2 p.m.

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