Ballpark should be renamed Bandiera

Matt GadSports Writer

Both Jess Dow Field and Moore Field House are named after Southern athletics icons, as well as the short road by the field house and Wintergreen named after Abie Grossfeld, a legendary former Southern Men’s Gymnastics coach. Then there’s Pelz Field, where the softball team plays, and Pelz Gym, the iconic building that used to be an athletic hub but is now famous mostly for the rise of the women’s volleyball program and gymnastics practice.

But what about The Ballpark at Southern? It does not have a nice name or someone’s namesake behind it. It is just named for exactly what it is – The Ballpark.

If you look into the history of Owls Baseball, you will quickly find the name Joe Bandiera, who won the most games in an Owl uniform as the team’s head coach. In his 26 years at Southern, he had 16 winning seasons, won the 1998 ECAC Baseball Tournament and had  a 2001 team that won 38 games, which gave him NE10 Coach of the Year – and if I may, I think he did not need all 38 to lock up the accolade.

He should be in the Hall of Fame –  and yes, he is there, officially as an 2008 inductee. However, what I am saying is that the decision is simple – rename The Ballpark at Southern as Joe Bandiera Field. You should not have a facility that is just named for what it is. Is the pool named The Natatorium at Southern? No. Do we play basketball at The Owls Basketball Center? Same answer.

I honestly do not know if there was a push for this in the past. Maybe Bandiera is too modest to suggest or claim such a title, but there are a lot of places named in honor of someone. I guess the logical response here is that they do not want to name it after someone who has not passed on – I totally get that.

But in terms of history, he deserves his namesake on the field. If that will not happen, maybe name the future press box after him.

I just think it makes sense to rename The Ballpark something that makes more sense – honor a prominent Southern athlete of the past.

If not Bandiera, maybe there’s someone else in the team’s history that is worthy? I would say the same for softball, but Pelz seems pretty synonymous with campus history at this point that there is no point in messing with that.

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