by Dan Eberhard

Harrington Field regulars who walked into the new Clark-LeClair Stadium last weekend probably felt a little lost.  Not because of the unseasonably cool arctic breeze that numbed everyone’s extremities, but because so little was transformed into so much in just nine months. 

The new place was hardly recognizable, not only for the fans but the players as well.  Last season the Pirates were swinging at a short porch in left with “The Jungle” guarding any wind that dared to blow in.  The combination made Harrington Field a launch pad for the team that hit a school record 100 home runs last year and for many teams in the past.

Early indications are the new place may be a little bit more of a pitchers park. Out of the nine games played in the Keith LeClair Classic, only one had a combined score of more than 10 runs.  That was ECU’s 10-3 loss to Arizona State on Saturday. The Pirates beat Michigan 2-1 on Friday and No. 4 North Carolina and Michigan went scoreless for 8 innings on Sunday before Michigan prevailed 1-0.

The fence still reads 320 down the lines and 390 to center, but that’s a bit misleading.  Step it off and don’t be surprised if you come up with 330 down the lines and 400-plus to center.

If you factor in the cold weather and talented pitchers that were on the mound you could argue the other way.  ECU third baseman Mark Minicozzi disagrees with the pitchers park theory.

“The new dimensions make it seem like a pitchers park but I feel like this is still a hitters place.  Wherever the wind is blowing out, that’s where the ball is going to go.”

However, most pitchers will tell you they feel like they have a little more room for error in the new place. 

Hitters park, pitchers park… whatever you believe you can’t argue what an upgrade the new stadium is.  Opposing teams were very impressed with the new facility.

“It’s just a beautiful place,” said ECU head coach Randy Mazey.

“Arizona State’s coach (Pat Murphy) mentioned he thinks this is the nicest place in the nation.”

Dan Eberhard