Just 3 days until Chris Allen throws the first pitch of the FIU baseball season and the Turtle Thomas Era begins against USC at home on Friday night. But before we get there, let's take one more field trip back to the Crown Jewel for a bonus tour of FIU Stadium.
Before we get back to the structure itself, wanted to let you know there will be a new turf on the field for the 2008 season. FIU Stadium is removing its old AstroPlay surface and installing Field Turf before South Florida visits for the opener on Sept. 20.
The next time we'll tour the stadium will be in April when the west end zone and FIU fieldhouse structures are actually visible. So keep the photo below on the left in mind as to what the area looks like now.
We'll go back up to the club suites in a second, but first let's see if I can point out to you how all the seats at the stadium are built angled toward the field -- this was done so that no one goes home with a neck strain. If you have ever sat down the right field foul line at Dolphin Stadium to watch a Marlins game, then you and your neck know what I'm talking about.
Again, like I've said before, if your computer can enlarge these photos, please do so. Look at the photo on the right here and you can see how all the seats have been built with a slight turn toward the field.
Back up to the club suite level, in the photo below left, you can see the area (it's empty now) where the 12 bucket seats will be installed outside of each club suite. Add the 8 seats inside the club suite and you get 20 per suite. A bucket seat is similar to what you sit on at the movies. The club seats -- which when you drive by the stadium is that patch of silver in the middle of the south stands (photo below right) -- will also be bucket seats. Right now that area is also empty, because they have yet to install those seats as well.
Although there is not much to see right now, on the bottom left photo is a view from inside a club suite onto the field. The area on the left will be like a bar-type of area. You can see the top part is the window, which will open, and below that might be some bar stools to sit on and watch the game with your favorite adult beverage. The area on the right would be a door-like opening for access to the 12 outdoor seats of each club suite.
You've seen where the FIU fieldhouse is going and how spacious that will be, so now let's show you where the opponents/officials/high school teams/soccer teams fieldhouse will be. The name I just created for that fieldhouse might take up a lot of room, but the visitors fieldhouse, which will go under those frames (below right) does not. Been told that fieldhouse will be 1/10th the size of the FIU fieldhouse. The location of the opposing fieldhouse is under the east end zone stands. No structure has been built yet, but when it's done FIU's opponents will have to deal with the noise from fans above on the east end zone. The metal flooring of the stadium makes some serious noise when you stomp on it.
Now for the last part of your bonus tour, I'd like to show you where the west end zone stands will turn into the north side of the stadium. When I first learned that the first phase of the stadium was not going to be enclosed I thought there wouldn't be much of a home field edge, but after having stood where the west turn will occur I must say the stadium will be tight -- even as a "C" shape in the first phase.
You may need to enlarge the following two photos to see where the west turn will happen. In the photo on the left, the west stands turn just right of the "S" on the Panthers end zone lettering. In the photo on the right, the turn happens just to the left of the blue triangular shaped entrance gate. The west turn happens at the same spot in both locations, just thought I'd give you two different photos to see it from.
Okay, we'll be back at the stadium in April when the FIU fieldhouse and other parts of the stadium have taken more shape. Odebrecht has their construction crews working 6 days a week from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. sometimes to 5 p.m. trying to get this all done by Sept. 20. And I'll have answers to your stadium questions in an upcoming post.
For now, Let's play ball! Less than 93 hours before the first pitch against USC.
FIU Fanatic: From last speaking with MC, there is no leading candidate yet for the O-coordinator position. When I got something I'll post it on here.
UltimateFIUFan: The FIU hoops recruit you are thinking of is power forward Freddy Asprilla, who originally was going to become a Hurricane, but could not get into that school, because of grades. Hopefully he has a different fate at FIU. Heard the kid is a heck of a hoopster.
I'm sure Coley knew of FSU's "double secret probation, whatever that means" when he took the job. Talking to some writers that cover FSU, the deal for Coley was that he will become the Seminoles offensive coordinator when current FSU o-coordinator Jimbo Fisher takes over for Bobby Bowden.
TNGoldenPanther: Ted Hutton over at the SS has been calling FIU the "Amber Kitties" for a long time. Just good fun. We could call FAU the Hooters if need be. Reading the posts on Ted's blog, the FAU folks are going a little bit postal over some of the FIU faithful joining their blog. Hey, bring them over here to the GPP we'll amuse them.