PRESS RELEASE – As with most 68-year old facilities, there’s always work that needs to be done. Such is the case with Danville Stadium. The biggest projects going on right now include a rehab of the infield dirt surface, and replacement of the outfield wall.
Midwest Athletic Fields is working on rehabbing the infield dirt area. They scraped off as much as 30 feet of grass behind the infield dirt, and then sloped the ground so that water would drain off the dirt to the outfield. “When we first started, the grass on both the infield and outfield side of the dirt was level, so the water would just collect in the dirt area,” said Josh Viet, a partner and construction manager with Midwest. “When we’re done, we’ll have a drop of five to six inches from the infield side of the dirt to the outfield, so that water can drain away.” Sod will be placed behind the infield to blend in with the existing outfield.
While Danville Stadium is owned by the City of Danville, several teams besides the Dans utilize it for games, including Danville and Schlarman High Schools, Danville Area Community College and American Legion baseball. “We couldn’t get this project done without the financial support of all the stakeholders of Danville Stadium coming together to see that these improvements happen,” said Jeanie Cooke, Dans managing partner. “This will benefit all our teams by limiting rainouts and giving the players a better surface to play on.”
Another major project currently underway is the replacement of the outfield fence. The current structure is plywood fastened to chain-link fencing around the outfield.
“More than half of the outfield fence was braced up by 2×4’s on the back side,” Cooke noted.
City crews will be removing both fences, and resetting treated posts and plywood that will be painted Danville Stadium green in the spring.
Other projects on the checklist may include replacement of the dugout roofs, repairs on the clubhouse roof, and upgrades to the sound system.
Danville Stadium was opened in 1946, when local businessmen convinced Branch Rickey to place a Brooklyn Dodgers farm system team in Danville. It has been the home to over 200 major league players during its 68 seasons – including 23 former Danville Dans that have worn a MLB uniform. In 1991, it was also the setting for many ballpark scenes in the movie “The Babe.”
Danville Dans are a member of the Prospect League, one of the premier college summer leagues in the nation. Baseball players from California, Florida, and all across the Midwest come to Danville to improve their pitching and fielding skills and batting with wood bats.