BOCA RATON – FAU baseball could have a bright, shiny new home ballpark this year – at least for a couple of nights.
The Owls are considering playing some of their home games at the soon-to-be-completed Ballpark of the Palm Beaches, which welcomes the Houston Astros and Washington Nationals for spring training next week.
“We’re working on it,” FAU coach John McCormack said.
Playing games at the Ballpark of the Palm Beaches would offer the Owls more than a simple night or two away from the FAU baseball stadium, which is in need of renovations.
The ballpark, located in West Palm Beach, could potentially serve as a host site for an NCAA Tournament Regional, should the Owls earn the right to host one. Without a major upgrade, FAU’s current ballpark won’t meet the NCAA’s current requirements for hosting such an event.
“We’d like to develop a relationship with them to possibly, maybe host something down the line,” McCormack said.
It hasn’t happened often, but the NCAA did allow Santa Barbara to host a regional at a local minor league ballpark in 2015.
“I think you really have to have a really good year and a good bid and a good situation for them to allow you to do it somewhere else,” McCormack said.
McCormack said that potentially two or three midweek games against in-state opponents could be played in the Ballpark of the Palm Beaches this year.
Should that happen, it wouldn’t be the first time FAU played in a local minor league ballpark.
Two years ago FAU played Florida at Jupiter’s Roger Dean Stadium, which hosts the St. Louis Cardinals and Miami Marlins for spring training. Last season FAU played the Cardinals there in an exhibition game.
Roger Dean Stadium is also home to the Marlins’ and Cardinals’ Florida State League teams, which means there is a game at the ballpark nearly every day from March through August. The Astros and Nationals don’t field FSL teams, so there are plenty of open dates at the ballpark.
“After spring training, April 1, they are open for business,” McCormack said.
Midweek games against in-state opponents are the games McCormack said he is considering moving north.
Games against Bethune-Cookman (April 4), Florida Gulf Coast (April 25) and Central Florida (May 16) meet those requirements.
McCormack believes the Ballpark of the Palm Beaches could be a future site of the Conference USA baseball tournament.
“I don’t want to put words in the Ballpark of the Palm Beaches, but I think that’s something they would love to bid on,” McCormack said. “That’s something that we would really be into and would be a good event for them.”