500 Project: Migley renovations

NEW CARLISLE- As Migley Field prepares to celebrate its 10th anniversary this year, it will see some significant changes during the offseason. Newts ownership is committed to improving the ballpark experience for both players and fans. The latest round of renovations will aim to improve the functionality of the field and help preserve the historic park for years to come.

The playing surface will receive the most noticeable change. The original dirt infield (baselines and pitcher's circle) will be replaced with natural grass to match the rest of the field. It will provide a consistent surface and eliminate some of the unusual bounces seen on many ground balls.

Although rare, the majority of Migley Field rainouts and postponements were the result of a muddy quagmire in the batter's boxes. Rather than replacing the the dirt with natural grass, the home plate area will be covered with an artificial surface to avoid wear and tear.

The elimination of the dirt infield gives the team the opportunity to re-evaluate the dimensions of the ballpark. The original intent of the ballpark was to be a standard, triangular tournament field (100 feet down the lines and 85 feet to center). However, the slope of the lot forced the grounds crew to place the foul poles closer to home plate, giving the outfield its current shape.

While the wind has the biggest impact on the scores of games at Migley, it has been determined that it is in the best interest of the game to bring the dimensions of the park more in line with the other tournament fields. After consideration of various options, home plate will be moved south approximately 15 feet. With the move, the new, accurate dimensions of Migley will be 95, 98, 100, 98, 93 left to right. (Measurement in the fall revealed some inaccuracies with the current posted dimensions.)

The current chainlink backstop will be replaced with a wooden one. Rather than a vinyl banner simulating bricks, a brick design will be painted directly on the backstop. Event and/or advertising signage will also be added to the backstop. The marquee, built in 2014, will also be moved but will otherwise be unchanged.

To preserve the ivy, the outfield fence will remain in its current location and maintain its current shape. The fence will be repaired and strengthened, but will not be a new structure. Unlike previously reported, no "wells" will be added to the corners. More ivy will be planted in the spring to continue to replace the foliage that did not survive the brutal 2013-14 winter.

Under the current renovation plans, the seating capacity of the ballpark will remain unchanged. There are also no plans for any additional outfield signage or video boards.

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