Cal Lutheran unveiled its new $5 million stadium on Saturday and it was only appropriate that the University of Redlands was the opponent on the big occasion, given the competitive games the two have had in recent years.
It was another dagger through the heart as Redlands played a flawless first half and led 24-0, only to give up 28 unanswered points and lose 28-24 when the Kingsmen drove 98 yards in the last three minutes.
As far as the stadium goes, I was underwhelmed. For that amount of money, it could have been better. Yes, turf fields always looked spiffy and this one did indeed look good from a field standpoint. Redlands players had trouble on their first drive with footing which may or may not have had anything to do with the new field.
It seats about 2,500, which seems rather small. The announced crowd was 3,051 which sounds about right because every seat was filled and peole were two and three deep standing behind the fence one end zone. If you’re building something new why not make it a bit bigger. Granted the school probably doesn’t draw that well for every game and no visiting school brings in a bigger crowd than Redlands.
The seating is metal bleachers. Ugh!
There is also no room beyond the back of the end zone. The back end line is just a couple feet from a wall on one and end and the fence on the other.
Other logistics left a lot to be desired. It is an absolute nightmare for the press. Yes, I know accommodating the press isn’t a priority. There is just a small area for the press, maybe about three or four feet by the time you accommodate the crew working the game.
Well right in the middle of that 3-4 feet area is a huge light standard. So in that little press area, you can’t see anything between the 40’s. And the floor is level with the last row of the bleachers so when people are standing up again, you have trouble seeing the section on the field.
There were tables in back of the press box on which to put a laptop, notes. But who wants to be sitting facing the wall, away from the field of play. The only option was to put the laptop on a ledge behind the light standard and lean from side or keep getting up.
Sitting on a folding chair hunched over for a laptop on a ledge for that length of time took a toll on my recently surgically repaired neck. I was hurting by the time I got back in the car to make the drive home.
There are other booths that are still empty and I thought maybe plans were to put a press area in one of those when all the final touches have been completed. But after asking around, that doesn’t seem to be the case.
It is certainly an improvement over the facility the school previously used. But it isn’t better, and certainly not as practical and laid out at well as Ted Runner Stadium!