It’s past time for a pastime
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Just east of campus sits a piece of history. It’s fair to assume that many students will never visit Centennial Field, let alone understand what it’s meant to generations of students and Vermonters alike.
This isn’t just the school paper waxing poetic — ESPN says it’s one of the top 10 baseball locations in the country. It’s older than Fenway Park. And until 2009, it was the home of UVM baseball and softball. Despite a winning record and community support, the baseball and softball programs were cut due to budget restrictions. Ever since, the field has been waiting for their return.
The Cynic joins a growing chorus of support for the return of baseball and softball to UVM. Both the SGA and the Vermont Legislature have passed resolutions urging UVM to reinstate baseball and softball. There is an active club team for both sports. Most importantly, there is a community. Organized by the Friends of UVM Baseball, players, fans, students, alumni and residents have stood and will continue to stand in support of the beloved game and the students who yearn to play on that historic field.
Despite a winning record and community support, the baseball and softball programs were cut due to budget restrictions. Ever since, the field has been waiting for their return.
The issue, according to UVM, was money. In 2009 the University needed to cut expenses like many institutions and businesses during the depths of the recession. They faced heat from the community about their choice to cut vertically (eliminate programs all together as opposed to taking a little from every program). Yet, the frugality of their decisions in 2009 hasn’t continued.
The Burlington Free Press wrote an editorial criticizing the 18 percent pay raise that Athletic Director Bob Corran received a few years after their austerity measures. Not too long after, then-President Fogel received a half-million severance package — an amount that was just under the varsity baseball budget for 2009. According to the most recent athletic department budget, many sports have seen an increase in funding. We are also about to break ground for the most expensive project in university history.
Since baseball and softball were cut, the budget for athletic directors alone has gone from under a half-million to almost a million dollars. The Vermont Lake Monsters, the current caretakers of Centennial Field, have invested heavily in the would-be home of Vermont baseball and softball. This $2 million investment would take enormous financial pressure off the University were it to reinstate the programs — an advantage no other sport at UVM would have.
The Cynic has the spirit of this community. The support is there from all angles. All save for one. UVM must see what was lost when it took baseball and softball — and what it can give back.
Editor’s note: This editorial has been updated from the print version.