Charles Schawb Field, the host ballpark for the Men’s College World Series, plays a little deeper than your average college baseball field.
Left field line—335 feet
Left field alley—375 feet
Center field—408 feet
Right field alley—375 feet
Right field line—335 feet
Height of left field wall—8 feet
Height of center field wall/batter’s eye—8 feet
Height of right field wall—8 feet
For reference, Condron Ballpark runs 330 to left/right field and plays 400 to dead center. The eight-foot wall that surrounds Charles Schawb Field is much taller than what the Gators are used to seeing, especially by the left/right field berms.
Nobody on Florida’s current roster has played on this field, but the Gators got a feel for the new ballpark during their 45-minute practice window earlier this morning.
“It’s a beautiful stadium,” shortstop Josh Rivera said after practice. “The infield plays really well. The outfield is pretty nice.”
“It looks a lot different than you see on TV,” catcher BT Riopelle said. “It’s a lot — you know, more kind of on top of you. I thought it was more of a bowl shape, but people are on top of you.”
If Florida’s batting practice session was any indication, the Gators won’t have any problem muscling baseballs into the seats this week.
“Balls were flying today,” Rivera said. “We had Jac Caglianone hitting balls out of the stadium. It was really cool. All of us from a BP standpoint, we were seeing the balls fly, and it just felt good to be out there for the first time to take it all in because once the World Series really gets started and we start playing these games, we have to focus and lock it in.”
To my count, Caglianone blasted three home runs that cleared the 15+ rows of seats in right center. Luke Heyman, BT Riopelle, Matt Prevesk, Rene Lastres, Richie Schiekofer, Deric Fabian, Tyler Shelnut, and Tucket Talbott all hit home runs on my watch.
Condron Ballpark isn’t a small field as it runs 380 feet in the gaps, so the Gators should be used to a ballpark of this size.
“Luckily enough for us, we play in a big park, so it’s not really a huge change for us in that standpoint,” catcher BT Riopelle said after practice. “But, yeah, just getting familiar with the grounds and the way balls come off the bat.”
Like the rest of the Gators, Head Coach Kevin O’Sullivan is not concerned with the sheer size of the field.
“The dimensions of the field are not much different than what we’re used to,” O’Sullivan said. “We played in Hoover as well, so we’ve played in some big parks.”
The Gators have lived by the long ball in 2023, launching 129 home runs in 65 games this season, tied for fourth most in the country. Florida doesn’t plan on changing their approach at the plate throughout the College World Series.
“If we’re more of a home run/doubles-type team, that’s who we are,” O’Sullivan said. “If we weren’t that way and we tried to be something we weren’t or aren’t, then that’s where the real mistakes are made.”
“Everybody has gotten here because they pitch and play defense,” O’Sullivan said. “Everybody is a little bit different offensively, but who you are who you are at this point.”
“You are built how you are built, right? You can’t change your game,” O’Sullivan added.
Not only is this park different for the offense, but the outfielders as well.
“We feel very capable with a couple of different options,” O’Sullivan said on his defensive alignment. “We played Wyatt in center recently. Shelnut has gotten better. We played Richie Schiekofer in left a little bit on matchups.”
“Still have obviously Michael Robertson that we’ve used late in games defensively and moved Wyatt back to left. And Ty Evans, I still think Ty has a chance to do something in this tournament that will help us. We’ll probably still play some matchups.”
Florida takes the field Friday at 7:00 PM EST for their opening game against Virginia.