Bob Wren Stadium Re-Soding Project
Bob Wren Stadium Seating Diagram
FOR OPENERS During the 1998 season, the Ohio University baseball team moved to a new home named after a legendary Bobcat coach. Ohio wasted no time in establishing a winning tradition at Bob Wren Stadium. On April 18, 1998, the Bobcats took on Bowling Green in the opening doubleheader of its new home. A throng of 1,389 fans watched as Ohio defeated the Falcons 4-1 to christen the new facility.
THE FUNDRAISING A renovation of old Trautwein Field was originally part of the Third Century Campaign started by former Ohio president Charles Ping. Under this plan, the wooden bleachers of Trautwein Field would be replaced by permanent seating. The new seats would both help keep the American Legion State Tournament in Athens and help the community as a whole.
That plan had to be modified when it was decided that the Trautwien Field area would be needed for an expansion of Grover Center. The new stadium would be built on the west side of the Convocation Center as part of the new Athletics Mall.
The fundraising then kicked into gear with the late Joe Dean a key figure in the effort.
"We raised close to $1 million in private funding from former players and friends of the baseball program," said Bobcat head coach Joe Carbone.
HAVE A SEAT The seating plan at Bob Wren Stadium is both unique and practical. There are 100 chairback seats that are part of a VIP section, christened The Baumholtz Club in honor of Ohio's legendary two-sport star Frank Baumholtz.
In addition, there is an area of "bleacher-back" seats akin to Cleveland's Jacobs Field. There is also a section of regular bleachers. These three sections total about 2,000 seats.
The seating does not end there. On either side of the field is a grassy knoll. These little hills can hold a total of 500-750 people and can accommodate temporary bleachers if need be, moving the total to 1,000 for each side.
The knolls add a sense of fan-friendliness and familiarity to Bob Wren Stadium, much like the former sundeck of the Aquatic Center at Trautwein Field. Families can bring their children for a picnic at the ballpark and students can sunbathe there, an Ohio warm-weather tradition.
Following the 1999 season, the brick walls situated behind the upper-level bleachers were extended to the end of their respective dugouts. This created a new, open area next to the seating that allows for picnic tables or additional temporary bleachers, if needed.
While there are several types of seating, one idea encompasses the entire stadium - that of excellent sightlines from any seat. Whether someone wants to see the Bobcat first baseman guard the lines, witness the interaction between the pitcher and a baserunner or second-guess the home plate umpire, they will not be disappointed by the views at Bob Wren Stadium.
PLAYING SURFACE The Bobcats play on one of the best fields in the nation, a continuation on a trend that began with Trautwein Field. Below the grass lies a superb drainage system. Above a layer of drain tile lies a bed of sand to aid in the draining process. Also, there is ground mulch in the sand to further speed up the system.
"Bob Wren Stadium is one of the best draining fields in the country," said Carbone.
The infield is composed of a mixture of red sand and red clay. In addition, various drying agents are a part of the composition.
Hand-picked by Carbone, the field's dimensions are 340' down the lines, 380' in the alleys and 405' to dead centerfield. The white window frames of the picturesque West Green dormitories necessitated the construction of a 40-foot major-league hitting background.
AMENETIES There are several other features of Bob Wren Stadium worth mention. The Baumholtz Club is similar to the Tower Club at Peden Stadium. Those members will have access to a lounge where they can mix and mingle with fellow members.
The working press and sports media relations staff have a state-of-the-art press room at their disposal. This two-level room features multiple phone and computer lines to make covering games at Bob Wren Stadium more accessible. In addition, the window at the front of the press box slides open to allow the "sounds of the game" to enter the area.There is a spacious room to house a radio crew and Carbone's satellite office can double as a television broadcast booth. Also, a camera deck bisects the roof of Bob Wren Stadium.
Each dugout is heated and has a bathroom area. The Ohio dugout is 90 feet long and has an adjacent storage room.
The entire Athletics Mall is surrounded by wrought-iron fencing, lending to a more intimate atmosphere. In addition, the area has been landscaped with a variety of trees and shrubs.
Three of the six batting cages to the northeast of Bob Wren Stadium are enclosed, allowing for year-round use. The heated facility was built to completion in 2003 and includes an astroturf floor, mercury lighting, and an equipment area for indoor workouts and drills.
Also in 2003, a new enlarged digital scoreboard replaced its Trautwein Field predecessor.
IF YOU BUILD IT With a beautiful facility, many new events have come to Athens. Bob Wren Stadium is the home field for the Southern Ohio Copperheads, who compete in the Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League. Ohio University also hopes to play host to NCAA Regionals and amateur baseball tournaments, as well as continuing its relationship with American Legion baseball.
"We feel that our stadium will show prospective players that we take baseball seriously at Ohio and that we are committed to them as players and students," Carbone said.
Bob Wren Stadium also provides a boost to current Bobcats.
"The players and coaching staff feel that we have the best playing surface in college baseball, as well as one of the finest facilities in the nation," said Carbone.
LOCKER ROOM Ohio has gained a reputation for excellence not only in on-field achievements but also in the area of facilities. This proud tradition carries over to Ohio baseball's "major league" locker facility.
Through the generosity of more than 40 alumni, the dream of a top-of-the-line clubhouse has become a reality.
"Thanks to our alumni, who are simply the greatest, we have a first-class, big-league locker facility," Carbone said. "It impresses everyone who sees it and will help us with recruiting."
The fund-raising effort was Carbone's undertaking in conjunction with the Convocation Center's silver anniversary. With limited space in the team's storage room, coupled with the amount of equipment that baseball requires, the facelift including large lockers was a necessity.
"We were able to raise $13,000 and now have the type of lockers we need, plus a video area and a Hall of Fame section," said Carbone.
Each locker, the video area and the Hall of Fame section bear plaques honoring the donors.
Carbone and associate head coach Bill Toadvine kicked off the fundraising drive by purchasing the first two lockers. Toadvine chose "12" - the number worn by his son, Brock, a former Bobcat - and Carbone selected the number "1" that he wore as an Ohio infielder.
The 39 light-oak lockers measure 80" high by 37-1/2" wide by 24" deep and were crafted by Jonas Beiler, a local Amish carpenter who "did a tremendous job," according to Carbone.
As for the Hall of Fame section, Carbone said, "We wanted a special area to honor those who have brought distinction to our program."
Without a doubt, the first-class Ohio locker facility brings distinction to the Bobcat program.
"The Ohio baseball locker room is one of the best I've seen," said former Bobcat Jeff Rook. "It is a place where the team can unite. It provides a common bonding ground for the players and it helps prepare them to reach their goals on the playing field."
LET THERE BE LIGHT Thanks to a very successful fundraising campaign spearheaded by community leader John Wharton and Carbone, Ohio played under the lights for the first time in 2004. With the transition to night games such a success, the Bobcats played 15 of their 28 home games under the lights in the 2005 season.