Unveiled last May, the University of Texas Master Plan for the athletic department revealed that the Longhorns baseball program plans to add on-site and off-site player development facilities.
On Friday, just ahead of the season opener against the Rice Owls at UFCU Disch-Falk Field, former bullpen catcher James “Butters” Barton provided a look at the rendering for the facility:
Future lookin pretttty bright at the Disch pic.twitter.com/ZpB7WeaWRV— James Barton (@jamesbarton10) February 17, 2017
According to the Master Plan, the on-site player development facility will feature an air-conditioned training space with four mounds, six batting cages, and storage, in addition to serving baseball operations.
An off-site player development facility will require the purchase of additional land and provide an indoor practice area with full baseball and softball infield and club areas for pre-game meals. The development would provide the added benefit of centralizing athletic training with sports medicine and strength and conditioning.
The player development facility will be the biggest change at the Disch — other improvements include the recently-completed installation of new turf and moving in the outfield fences. Longer-term plans feature family-friendly kid zones behind the plaza on the third-base side among a host of other upgrades.
The plans also include temporary seating for big games, converting the grass area in left field to allow more concessions and sponsors, adding branding, signage, statistics, and memorabilia to the concourse, a ribbon board on the top of the outfield wall, and a new, interactive video board.
In addition to the temporary seating, other renovations include a party deck or concessions or restrooms near the left field foul pole, an area outside the stadium that has been popular for fans to congregate in past years, especially before wine and beer sales began two years ago. And, as usual, there will be an increase in premium seating in the outfield, a club environment, hospitality suite, and covered bullpen seating.
Suffice it to say that there are some exciting things happening for Texas baseball right now that should not only tremendously benefit fan experience, but also aid in recruiting, development, and more exciting games due to increased scoring in the smaller ballpark.
Not to mention less bunting.