All it takes is a giant television screen to really boost Hoglund Ballpark's atmosphere.
Kansas University's baseball team just finished its first weekend at its upgraded home field, winning two of four nonconference games with a $400,000 video board up and running behind the right-center-field wall.
"I thought it was absolutely outstanding," coach Ritch Price said. "It's a great addition to the ballpark. And I think it will only get better."
The board was used the whole weekend, showing lineups, statistics, replays and highlights throughout the game. The size and location of the board makes it easy for fans to read everything on it, especially after some tweaking to the layout after Friday's debut.
The addition significantly boosts the fan experience at Hoglund, and the video board is one of just six in Big 12 Conference stadiums - and it's one of the largest.
The gift that funded the board came from Forrest Hoglund, a former player who has proven to be KU baseball's most generous benefactor. Hoglund also funded the indoor hitting facility built down the right-field line last year, and the ballpark was named after him due to past gifts.
The board was manufactured by Daktronics, the same company that produced the video boards in Allen Fieldhouse and the new message boards at Memorial Stadium.
It's just another upgrade to Hoglund Ballpark done during Price's tenure. The fences down the lines were moved from 350 feet from home plate to 330, making the park more hitter-friendly. In addition, the dugouts were redone with an old-school look by way of bricks. The outdoor batting cages down the left-field line were re-done, and the indoor facility was constructed down the right-field line last year.
Long-term plans, according to Price, are to upgrade the lighting, cover the batting cages down the left-field line and eventually build a $700,000 clubhouse down by the outdoor cages for the team's use.