Saturday, May 23, 2015

Farewell to Howe Field

The Oregon Ducks softball team won their super-regional against North Carolina State yesterday and today in two straight games.  They are now on their way to the Women's Championship World Series that starts on Thursday.

And the last game played at Historic Howe Field.  The bulldozers come on Tuesday.  They're building a new stadium on-site which should be open by the start of next season.

Susanna played all on her games at Howe Field and, though we had good times there, it's definitely time for Howe Field to go.  We went down there to watch a game earlier this season, Cheridan Hawkins perfect game against Washington.  Built as a baseball field in 1936, I've longed maintained it is the oldest field in D1 college softball.  But not up to U Oregon's standards.  I think it's a disgrace that they waited so long.  The seating was dangerous.  I didn't have the nerve but I thought I should fall down those stands and then sue.  Take one for the Ducks.

As I've written before, until 2004, they expected the fans to use port-a-potties!  In the middle of the University of Oregon campus with its celebrated facilities.  I, myself, got them to open the Mac Court bathrooms not 10 feet away.

The seating was dangerous, there were no bathrooms, it was not handicapped accessible. Yes, you could put a wheelchair up top but an assistant coach said she had a horrible time trying to get a player on crutches down to the field.  Let alone a wheelchair.  Big sections of the concrete stands did not have line of sight to the field because of the dugout roof.  If the games were broadcast, the announcers had to sit on a jerry-rigged platform covered by a tarp.  C'mon UO, of the Nike deep pockets, you had a nationally ranked team play here.  The team had locker rooms in the basement of Mac Court were rather dingy and everybody knows that the cockroaches are what holds that old building together.  They just replaced it with a 100m dollar facility.

There were good points.  The location is great, right near the center of campus, it did have it's distinctive atmosphere right there on University Street.   Some great wrought iron gates which I'm not sure will be incorporated into the new design.  The playing field was professionally maintained and was a favorite with players throughout the Pac 12. 

But I will shed no tears, time for Howe Field to go!

Picture posted on UO softball twitter's page of the two top pitchers junior Cheridan Hawkins (one of three finalists for player of the year) and senior Karissa Hovinga taking some dirt from the pitcher's circle.  Maybe they will take it to Oklahoma City.  You sprinkle it in the circle there and it becomes your home field.  And maybe keep some for next year to make the new stadium their own.

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