Field of Dreams: Reds, MLB Leaders Open Magnificently Renovated Meinken Field
Leaders of Major League Baseball, the Cincinnati Reds, and the City of Covington came together on Monday morning to officially commemorate the new Meinken All-Star Field after significant renovations were made to the youth baseball field.
The improvements were part of the MLB All-Star Legacy projects happening around the Greater Cincinnati area this week where nine baseball fields were renovated with almost $5 million of funding donated by MLB and the Reds. Meinken was the final field to be dedicated as part of that effort.
“It has been a terrific week of field dedications and we might have saved the best for last,” said Fox Sports Ohio's Jim Day, who emceed the event.
Meinken Field is the home field for both Holmes High School and Holy Cross High School for baseball and softball. Both schools had teams in attendance that broke in the new diamond with a baseball camp after the field was officially dedicated.
The field experienced a full synthetic upgrade including the replacement of an outdated scoreboard, refinished fencing and netting, batting cages, dugouts and new lighting renovations. The field has been covered with synthetic field turf which replaced the natural grass and dirt of the old field. Thanks to the improvements, Meinken Field, which was first built in the 1950's, will be subject to fewer rain-outs and a lower overall maintenance cost to keep the field in playable conditions.
On hand to speak at the field dedication were Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred, Cincinnati Reds owner Bob Castellini, Covington Mayor Sherry Carran, Director of Major League Umpires (and Covington native) Randy Marsh, former MLB All-Star pitcher Tom Browning, and Covington Independant Schools Superintendent Alvin Garrison.
Since 1997, Major League Baseball has left behind in All-Star markets nearly $70 million toward similar projects. "We always look to the local club, to the local community to help us identify projects that are worthy of being part of the All-Star legacy and Meinken was at the top of our list from the very beginning,” said MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred. “It's been a jewel here in Covington for more than 50 years. Covington has played an important role in the development of baseball and softball in this area, and Major League Baseball has been proud of being part of preserving the great legacy of this facility.”
Randy Marsh, who graduated from Holmes High School and was there when the school won the 1963 state baseball championship, got his start as an umpire on Meinken Field which used to be three fields where the current one sits today.
“It was in a rough condition. There was basically hardly any grass out here. Let me tell you what, what Major League baseball and the Reds have done out here is unbelievable. This will be the best park in the City of Covington by far,” Marsh said.
Marsh umpired in the 1988 All-Star game that was hosted in Cincinnati and in the 1990 World Series which was the last title won by Cincinnati.
The 86th Major League Baseball All-Star game will be played on Tuesday evening at Great American Ballpark.
Written by Bryan Burke, associate editor
Photos by Brandon Wheeler for RCN