Take one look at the new and improved Anteater Ballpark and you will realize that the school is taking the resurgent Anteater baseball program seriously.
The renovation has just completed the second of five parts, highlighted by the completion of the $2.4 million Newkirk Pavilion.
Newkirk Pavilion, also known as the Clubhouse, was just completed in February. Although some interior designing still needs to be completed, the layout and design is quite impressive.
‘The clubhouse is a dream come true,’ said senior catcher Aaron Lowenstein. ‘From the training facilities to the locker room, I couldn’t be more thankful.’
Walking into the Pavilion, you first come across the main baseball operations office. This is where all the coaches’ assistants and baseball operational heads work with a view of the ballpark. Adjacent to the office is the Crain Coach’s Office and the Coach’s Locker Room. The locker room holds the coaches’ uniforms and has a bathroom with showers.
Perhaps the coolest feature of the upper level of the clubhouse is the Anteater Club. This club is the equivalent to the luxury box seating at major stadiums such as Dodger and Angel Stadium.
The room consists of many comfortable chairs with tables, a 50-inch plasma screen TV for additional sports viewing, a food buffet line and a beautiful view of the entire field. This room is reserved for alumni and donors but can also host private parties for the price of $500 dollars. Not a bad deal, considering the success of the team right now.
There is a laundry room, equipment room and training room. However, the locker room is probably the best feature of this clubhouse.
The locker rooms are the equivalent of those usually given to professional athletes. Each player has his own Major League-sized locker; enough room to put all their sports equipment, school supplies and other materials. Two 42 inch plasma TV’s are on opposite sides of the room for the players’ entertainment.
‘On the West Coast, this is as nice a locker room you are going to find,’ said UCI Head Coach Dave Serrano. ‘It’s well equipped to accommodate our team. Not only is it a classy deal for the guys, but it really also brings the guys together. To be able to have a place for the players to come in and change, hang out, and practice together allows for the team to bond better and create a sense of unity.’
The baseball program was on a 10-year hiatus before being resurrected six years ago. Since then, the school has shown Serrano and his program ‘first class’ treatment.
Serrano plans to reward the school for its efforts.
‘Our goal as a coaching staff is a tradition of excellence,’ Serrano said. ‘I will never be satisfied with that as long as I am here. I have set the bar high. It’s not only about baseball, but also about going to school, graduating and becoming successful too.’
Senior second baseman Cody Cipriano said, ‘The clubhouse is a lot more convenient. Not having to jump up and down to and from Crawford Hall has made it easier for the team to focus on baseball. We’re a part of something special over here. We are thankful for the school recognizing our success, and we hope to continue that success for years to come.’
With a new clubhouse and resurgent program, Serrano’s goal of excellence is hitting full throttle. With a strong coaching staff, solid team and top of the line facilities, the baseball program should attract many new recruits and create a new tradition of excellence.
Filed Under: Sports