Hill feels he now has the best college ballpark on the West Coast, maybe in the country, one that's suitable for hosting NCAA regionals and super regionals. That's a good thing, because when USD hosted the first NCAA regional ever played in San Diego, in 2007, it was at Tony Gwynn Stadium because USD's field was so sub-par.
"That was great, but it was very awkward," said USD athletic director Ky Snyder, who played football at San Diego State. "It was awkward for us, it was awkward for them. That was kind of a stimulus to get this going."
Fowler Park's perfectly groomed green grass and dark blue outfield fence stand out against the 16th century Spanish Renaissance architecture of the exterior structure, which fits the theme of rest of the hilltop Catholic university's campus.
The "wow" factor extends even to two prominent alums, Brian Matusz of the Baltimore Orioles and A.J. Griffin of the Oakland A's. They recently got a look at the Fowler Park's big-league caliber dugouts and the carpeted, oval-shaped home clubhouse â¿¿ which has four flatscreen TVs on the walls â¿¿ and an adjoining players' lounge, study area and soft-toss cage."I've had Brian Matusz and A.J. Griffin saying, 'It's better than Yankee Stadium in there,' and Yankee Stadium was just built like a couple of years ago," Hill said. "They were saying, 'It's better than Camden Yards. It's better than any spring training complex that we go to.' " There are 1,700 permanent chair-back seats. Capacity can be increased to 3,000 with temporary seating, including on the Torero Deck, a 4,000-square-foot area above the home clubhouse. Hill said the ballpark will be good for fans, too. "This is Friday night baseball, man, Saturday night baseball," he said above the clatter of workers finishing the ballpark earlier this week. "These guys want to come to a ballpark. This is our national pastime on a college campus in Southern California. We have this Taj Mahal that these people can come to and enjoy college baseball played the right way. It's awesome."