The Florida A&M University baseball team is struggling to cope with equipment and facilities that are in a state of disrepair.
Among the items that they say should be replaced at their home turf, Moore-Kittles Field, are the infield screens, dirt, grass, tarp, and the scoreboard; the batting cages are also decrepit.
“We had the old tarp for at least 15 years and it had all types of holes in it,” said coach Brett Richardson, “but fortunately one of our grounds crew members used to work at Florida State and made a call over there and they gave us one of their old tarps.”
Richardson said the team still needs a new tarp, because the one that they received from FSU has a hole in it as well.
The old tarp was worn out and the players and coaches said it had many holes in it, which made the field unplayable, especially when it rains the day before a game.
“We got a new tarp now so we can play more,” said pitcher Miguel Parga.
“The old tarp had too many holes and was not really effective, but we have a new tarp now, which is great because we can get more work in.”
Parga said the team could also use new infield screens because the older ones are busted and a lot of the balls get through them during batting practice.
“But we need more infield screens as well because we don’t have enough to cover all of the spots for batting practice,” Parga said.
Another team member, senior outfielder Elliott Bonner, said the batting cages are sub par and are falling apart because of a lack repairs and the field requires more maintenance.
Bonner said the scoreboard has not worked for the last three games.
“We need to get our cage higher and re-done, because when guys are in there hitting they are knocking their bats off of the top of the cage,” Bonner said.
He also said he believes the batting cage is unsafe and has many holes, where the balls are knocked out during batting practice.
Bonner said the infield lacks dirt and the outfield could use some more grass.
“We need a lot more dirt in the infield and it needs to be heightened because there’s a lot of lips on the edge of the grass which can create bad hops and create potential errors,” Bonner said.
“Like some times when we bunt the ball it will be a great bunt, but it will roll foul because of the lack of dirt it spins foul, and this could be prevented with a lot more dirt on this field.”
Florida A&M Interim Athletic Director Michael Smith said he is aware of the problems plaguing the baseball team and plans to address them. When the issues will addressed remains to be seen.
“We are working to look at what our facility needs (are) for the baseball team and other Florida A&M sports as well,” Smith said.