This is the first of our out-of-season updates on Auburn Doubledays baseball. With these updates, we hope to keep the fire alive for Cayuga County’s only professional sports team through the cold winter months.
The biggest news now is the replacement of the playing surface at Falcon Park. We were lucky enough to receive a grant from New York state to cover the costs of a new playing field. Professional baseball playing fields have a life span of seven to 10 years. The field was originally installed in 1995 with some significant repair in 1997. Due to play, weather conditions and the freeze/thaw cycles, the field shifts and becomes uneven. In addition, drainage beneath the surface becomes plugged. As evidenced during this year’s rainy summer, the field drainage at Falcon Park was poor at best. This combination led to a poor condition for our team to play on.
C & S Engineering of Syracuse was retained and found the root zone beneath the grass was compacted, not allowing water to drain through. In addition, several areas of the drainage beneath were plugged. The actual construction work is being done by Auburn’s own Landmark Enterprise. The work includes correcting the drainage along with laser-grading the field to engineering specifications based on NBT Stadium in Syracuse and Nationals Park in Washington. Head groundskeepers Jon Stewart of Syracuse and John Turnour of Washington had input into the specifications of the field. Auburn will have the newest playing surface in the New York-Penn League entering into the 2014 season.
Speaking of 2014, the schedule is out and the Doubledays will be opening the season on Friday, June 14 against the Batavia Muckdogs. The Doubledays will again be in the Pinckney Division with Batavia (Marlins), Williamsport (Phillies), Mahoning Valley (Indians) and State College (Cardinals) and Jamestown (Pirates). The make-up of the 2014 squad will be determined in the spring by evaluating existing players in the system and the outcome of the amateur draft.
Ticket packages are on sale now. Contact the office at (315) 255-2489 for more information. Remember, our season ticket is good for general admission at any Syracuse Chiefs game.
• In 2013, the Nationals minor league organization did well. While our guys came up short against a strong NY-P League, the other levels did well. The Gulf Coast Nationals (Rookie, Viera, Fla.), Hagerstown Suns (Long Season A, Hagerstown, Md.), Potomac Nationals (High A, Potomac, Md.) and Harrisburg Senators (AA, Harrisburg, Pa.) all landed in their respective league championship series. This bodes well for the future of our parent club, the Washington Nationals.
• NY-P League Historian Charlie Wride sent along a list of former Auburn players and coaches who participated in this year’s major league playoffs. Tampa Bay Rays: Ryan Roberts (2003); Boston Red Sox: Jon Diaz (2006); Cleveland Indians: Yan Gomes (2009), Marc Rzepczyniski (2007); Detroit Tigers: Coach Mike Rojas (1997); Pittsburgh Pirates: John Buck (1999); Atlanta Braves: Greg Walker (1977); Los Angeles Dodgers: Brandon League (2002), St. Louis Cardinals: Blaise Ilsley.
• There are various Doubledays internships posted on the Professional Baseball Job Opportunities website for the upcoming season. If you are interested, look on PBEO.com to review them. We have a current need of an accounting intern to help through the winter months and on into the next baseball season. Contact the office if you are interested.
• The Nationals have hired Matt Williams as the new manager, replacing Davy Johnson. Williams will join the team from his current position as third base coach of the Arizona Diamondbacks.
• We are looking for host families to house the 2014 team. We hope to house our players with families in order to give them a safe and secure place to live while they are in Auburn. Our goal is to house 100 percent of the team with individual families. Anyone interested in hosting a player can contact our office at the ballpark at (315) 255-2489.