Fans to notice changes at Eastwood Field

Tribune Chronicle / R. Michael Semple Welder Rodney Randall, working for Eckert Welding & Erectors Inc. of Wilder, Kentucky, works on the steel frame of the new scoreboard Tuesday morning at Eastwood Field.

NILES — Hosea Nelson launched a ball to right center field.

It kept sailing, right toward the workers erecting a metal frame for the new scoreboard at Eastwood Field.

The Mahoning Valley Scrappers outfielder hit a home run, but knew what was going to be up before Friday’s opener against the West Virginia Black Bears.

A new scoreboard, about four times the size of the old, outdated one, was slated to be put up Tuesday afternoon, taking about eight hours to install.

It’s just part of the new things fans will see this year at Eastwood Field as the Scrappers celebrate their 20th anniversary.

Tribune Chronicle / R. Michael Semple Jamel Mallad of State College, Pa., employee of Visua Corp., attaches banners to light stands as renovations continue Tuesday morning at Eastwood Field. The Mahoning Valley Scrappers host West Virginia in Friday night’s home opener at Eastwood Field.

“It looks great,” Nelson said. “I got to be out here yesterday, get some work in. I almost hit the guy up there in the construction thing up there on the scoreboard sign. I apologized.

“Other than that, it’s pretty cool.”

Scrappers General Manager Jordan Taylor said the new scoreboard is in high definition and incorporates live statistics so fans can watch things like real-time batting averages and pitcher’s ERA.

“The experience of watching everything is going to be much crisper,” Taylor said.

There’s a new sound system in place where there’s a 360-degree sound experience.

“I think we’ve almost tripled the number of speakers to the ballpark what we had previously,” Taylor said. “Each one is individually controlled. You’ll have a lot more customized experience. You can change volume level throughout in the concourse, restrooms, even outside the ballpark where we have speakers.”

Concessions, there’s a point of sale system where Taylor said it’ll speed the line through. There are digital menu boards incorporated in the main stands.

In addition, there are a nacho cart, taco cart, build a burger and yes, Chick-fil-A has a stand.

The upstairs suite level has new restrooms and some of the suites have been redone as well.

The renovations are even taking place next year and the following season.

Next year, the clubhouse. For now, there is new carpeting, paint and locker area.

Eventually, there is 1,500 square feet added on, mainly to be used for a weight facility site for the players.

“It really is incredible,” Scrappers infielder Simeon Lucas said. “It’ll be exciting for future generations to see where this ballpark is headed.”

How much is all of this going to cost?

“Still tallying things up,” Taylor said. “Multi-million by the time it’s all done, which includes not only this year, but next year by the time it’s all done and probably the year after.”

Scrappers manager Jim Pankovits sees the scaffolding in the stands and other renovations.

“There’s a lot of work being done around here right now,” he said. “I know they have some very ambitious renovations planned, not just for right now, but for the near future too.

“This is exciting to see in the community. That means that there’s really solid support. Hopefully we get to see a lot of that here in the summer.”

As he and the players step in the dugout, they’ll see new flooring, which has a better drainage system.

“My favorite improvement is the dugout floor,” Nelson said. “There was like a 3-foot drop every time you walked in there. That’s probably the best part.”

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