Social media accounts affiliated with Transylvania have teased about a certain upcoming announcement regarding the university’s athletic program. In fact, on Facebook, the curiosity is palpable with comments on a teaser post representing fully diverse schools of thought. With conjectures that the school is recreating a football team, creating a new athletic scholarship, or finally taking Quidditch to the varsity level, it is clear that our community is ready for the official announcement. At last, the wait is over. Transy made the announcement this afternoon that the Transylvania Baseball team will now play their home games at Whitaker Bank Ballpark.
Whitaker is the official home of the Lexington Legends, a minor league baseball team serving as the Single-A affiliate of the Kansas City Royals. Several current major leaguers such as Jose Altuve, Chris Devenski, and Enrique Hernandez have played for the franchise previously. Whitaker Bank Ballpark was modeled with inspiration from major league ball parks when it was constructed in 2001. The capacity of the stadium is estimated to be just under 7,000 people not including standing room.
Previously, Transy baseball’s home games were played at Marquard Field on Haggard Lane, which is located farther away from campus than Whitaker Bank Ballpark. Though that field is well taken care of and a legitimate baseball field in its own right, it is tough to argue that this change is not a significant upgrade. To put it in perspective, Whitaker Bank Arena is also home to the annual KHSAA (Kentucky High School Athletic Association) State Baseball Tournament each year. The equivalent basketball tournament is held at the prized Rupp Arena. Clearly, Whitaker is highly regarded around Kentucky.
The overall feeling of Transy’s baseball team is positive. Sophomore Catcher Matthew Broadwater stated, “Our home field being moved to Whitaker is a program changer! The atmosphere there is going to be electric and loud. That type of energy is was what we as players dream to play in front of on a nightly basis!”
Junior Pitcher Colton Hartig, who has pitched a significant amount of games on both fields throughout his high school and collegiate career described how the two fields differ and the difference this change will make to the fans. “First off, both fields are always in incredible shape thanks to our hardworking coaching staff. Marquard field is a very open environment, so it never really seems to be ‘full’ of fans from the perspective of the players. Whitaker Bank Ballpark, on the other hand, offers a much more high-energy environment for both the players and the fans, making it one of the most high-profile venues that we could ask for as players. I have no doubt that this aspect of our new home will draw in many more fans from all over the state. I am very excited for the future of this program and acquiring Whitaker Bank Ballpark is another tremendous leap in the right direction for Transy Baseball. We as athletes are incredibly thankful that the administration, coaching staff, and Lexington Legends for having put all of this together for us and we will not hesitate to capitalize on this opportunity.”
Overall, it will be intriguing to watch this season unfold in the new venue. Whitaker Bank Ballpark will add a touch of crimson to its history. Come baseball season, the Transylvania community will enter a new era.
An earlier version of this article misstated the seating capacity of Whitaker Bank Ballpark. The article has been updated to reflect the correction