The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

January 22, 2013

Mike Pound: Fitting that Joe Becker gets face-lift

I’m a fan of old sports stadiums.

A few years ago, while visiting Chicago, I made my wife and our then 10-year-old daughter, Emma, ride the “L” to Wrigley Field just so I could walk around the famed home of the Chicago Cubs. I did this despite the fact that the Cubs weren’t playing that day and, as a St. Louis Cardinals fan, the Cubs are far from my favorite team.

The reason I wanted to walk around Wrigley is because it’s one of the last old-time major league baseball stadiums, Fenway Park in Boston being the other.

Most sports teams these days are obsessed with new. When a stadium reaches the advanced age of 20, owners start complaining that it is outdated. I think there is something to be said for history, for tradition.

So when Joplin Parks and Recreation Director Chris Cotten emailed me and asked if I would like to drop by and take a look at the work being done at historic Joe Becker Stadium, I jumped at the chance.

Chris said that several months ago, his department began renovating the press box and the concession stand at Joe Becker. The renovations grew out of necessity more than anything else.

The old press box was a phone-booth-sized room built on the roof of the concession stand. At some point in the fall, there was some sort of leak, and water ruined the amplifier used for the sound system. Since repairing the leak and the amplifier pretty much required that the press box be gutted, Chris decided to go ahead and renovate and expand the whole room.

“We have to take care of what we have,” Chris said.

The new press box will more than double the size of the old one and will include a room so that broadcast crews for visiting clubs can set up and call games. In the past, visiting broadcast crews were forced to call games from the stands.

There also will be a room where umpires can dress and relax before and after games. In the past, the umpires had to walk across the street and use a city-owned house to change, Chris said.

While the press box was being expanded, it just made sense, Chris said, to go ahead and remodel the concession stand, too. Like the new press box, the new concession stand will be bigger than the old one. Parks and recreation crews knocked out the back wall of the old concession stand and expanded the room, which will allow for a much larger work area.

Granted, a new press box and a new concession stand don’t represent some sort of grand restoration of Joe Becker, but they do represent a commitment of sorts by the city to maintain the historic stadium.

In a perfect world, there would be millions of dollars available to turn Joe Becker into the sort of historic ballpark that would draw thousands of fans each year. As you know, this isn’t a perfect world.

But the thing is, Joe Becker still matters. It’s the home of the Missouri Southern State University baseball team. This summer, the Joplin Outlaws will play at Joe Becker, and the stadium continues to be used for all sorts of tournaments.

It’s fitting that, for the 100th anniversary of Joe Becker Stadium, the place gets a bit of a face-lift. And it’s nice to know that a stadium where players with names like Mantle, Musial, Garagiola and Boyer once played still matters.

When the stadium opens this season, I’m going to drop in on the new press box and take a look around again. Then I’m going to go downstairs to the concession stand, order a cheeseburger, take a seat behind home plate and watch some baseball.

Because it matters.

DO YOU HAVE AN IDEA for Mike Pound’s column? Call him at 417-623-3480, ext. 7259, or email him at mpound@joplinglobe.com. Follow him on Twitter @mikepoundglobe.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Pseudoephedrine sales in Pittsburg to require prescription

    Starting Friday, those who purchase pseudoephedrine and related products in Pittsburg will need a prescription to do so.

    July 22, 2014

  • Cherokee County Commission accepts general counsel's resignation

    Kevin Cure, who has served as general counsel for the Cherokee County Commission since 2005, submitted a handwritten resignation to the board on Monday in the aftermath of a landfill controversy.

    July 22, 2014

  • Mike Pound 2010.jpg Mike Pound: Parents can get help with school supplies

    I don’t know much about demographics other than the fact that I no longer belong to a “targeted demographic.” When I was younger, I was bombarded by commercials and ads from companies that were trying to sell me things that I not only needed but wanted.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jasper County Commission reviews traffic plans

    The Jasper County Commission will hold public hearings today and Thursday on a number of traffic changes proposed in the county. No one spoke when the first hearing was held Tuesday as part of the regular commission meeting, according to Jim Honey, Eastern District associate commissioner.

    July 22, 2014

  • Joplin school board reviews audit procedures

    A team from the Missouri State Auditor’s Office has begun requesting documents in its task to audit the operations and management of the Joplin School District, the audit manager told the Board of Education on Tuesday.

    July 22, 2014

  • Joplin man to stand trial in accident case

    A passenger accused of causing an accident on Interstate 44 in Joplin that injured three others as well as himself was ordered bound over for trial Tuesday on three felony counts.

    July 22, 2014

  • r072214soroptimist3.jpg Volunteers spend week providing camp experience to foster youths

    Karen McGlamery is a massage therapist. Terri Falis-Cochran is a finance manager. Jane McCaulley is a retired art teacher. But for a week each summer, the three are among dozens of area residents who become camp counselors.

    July 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • Neosho school board hires company to manage substitutes

    Citing its hopes of shifting health care costs and utilizing more time from retired teachers, the Neosho Board of Education granted a contract Monday to a temporary employee company to manage its substitute teacher program.

    July 22, 2014

  • Main Street TIF district study to begin

    A measure that allows the city to charge its $15,000 in administrative costs for studying a proposal to create a tax increment financing district on South Main Street was approved Monday by the Joplin City Council.

    July 21, 2014

  • Carthage man pleads guilty in sexual abuse case

    A Carthage man pleaded guilty Monday to sexual abuse of a 12-year-old girl in a plea agreement that would cap the length of his prison term at no more than 15 years.

    July 21, 2014

Must Read
Sports
Photos


Facebook
Poll

A state lawmaker who is one of two doctors in the Oklahoma Legislature is insisting that unaccompanied immigrant minors being housed at Fort Sill be quarantined. Do you think those kinds of measures should be taken?

A. Yes.
B. No.
     View Results
Opinion
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter