Dec. 18, 2008
PARK RIDGE, IL – – The Big Ten Conference and Greater Columbus Sports Commission announced today that Huntington Park, the brand new home of the Triple-A Columbus Clippers, will serve as the host site for the 2009 Big Ten Baseball Tournament. The event will mark the Big Ten’s first neutral-site baseball tournament since 1994.
“We are excited to announce that the 2009 Big Ten Baseball Tournament will be held at Huntington Park in Columbus, Ohio,” said Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany. “Moving the baseball tournament to a neutral site will allow the conference office and the local organizing committee to promote this event throughout the season. In addition, playing at an outstanding facility like Huntington Park will enhance the experience for our student-athletes, coaches and fans. We’re looking forward to the first pitch of the tournament in May.”
“We are very excited about the Big Ten Tournament moving to a neutral site,” said Iowa Head Coach Jack Dahm. “It gives us an opportunity to draw more interest and larger crowds, which will create a better environment for the student-athletes. Going to a neutral tournament site and three-game weekend series’ are positives steps taken by Big Ten coaches and administrators.”
“We are thrilled to host the Big Ten Baseball Tournament in 2009,” said Greater Columbus Sports Commission executive director Linda Shetina Logan. “Huntington Park is going to be the one of the best ballparks in the nation and will serve as the perfect backdrop as we roll out the red carpet to the players, coaches and fans in attendance. Our goal is to create an atmosphere similar to the College World Series.”
Huntington Park will open on April 18 as the home of the Columbus Clippers, the Triple-A affiliate of the Cleveland Indians. The 2009 Big Ten Baseball Tournament will be held May 20-23 and will be the first special event held in the ballpark, which is located in the Arena District, adjacent to Nationwide Arena.
“We are very excited about the Big Ten Tournament moving to a neutral site. It gives us an opportunity to draw more interest and larger crowds, which will create a better environment for the student-athletes. Going to a neutral tournament site and three-game weekend series’ are positives steps taken by Big Ten coaches and administrators.”
UI Baseball Coach Jack Dahm
“We are proud to be hosting the Big Ten Baseball Tournament at Huntington Park,” said Columbus Clippers general manager Ken Schnacke. “And we thank the Big Ten Conference for allowing us the opportunity to show that Columbus is the best location to host its conference baseball tournament.”
Since the inception of the Big Ten Baseball Tournament in 1981, the event has been played at the site of the regular-season champion or the champion from a pre-selected division, with the exception of 1993 and 1994 when it was held in Battle Creek, MI. From 1981-99, the tournament field consisted of the conference’s top four teams. In 2000, the field expanded to include six squads.
Iowa has played in seven conference tournaments, including two in the last four years. The Hawkeyes’ last appearance was in 2007. Having won the last three regular-season championships, Michigan has hosted the last three tournaments, while the event was last held in Columbus in 2001. The 2009 tournament will be the sixth overall played in the city of Columbus.
The Big Ten Baseball Tournament is a double-elimination event with the top two seeds earning first-round byes.