The bases are loaded and there are already two outs on the board. Senior Brock Hale squares up on home plate as the pitcher spit on the mound. The crowd’s murmurs drown out as Hale focuses on the pitch that is about to be released. His swing launches the ball into the trees outside left field and earns the cheers from the crowd and the Cougars a grand slam. For sophomore Danny Gelalich, this game embodies the Miller Park experience.
“That place just erupted,” Gelalich said. “When I think of Miller Park and it’s energy, I think of that game.” BYU went on the defeat the San Francisco Dons 17-9 for its Senior Day.
BYU’s Miller Park is unique among other baseball venues in that fact that the stadium opens up to the snowcapped Wasatch Mountains and the iconic Y Mountain. BYU’s season is often accompanied by snow and colder temperatures for outdoor baseball. For a sport that normally favors warmer climates with few stadiums featuring mountains in the background, it is a different affair playing at BYU.
The scenery surrounding Miller Park has generated buzz on social media various times. Gelalich said that there are posts about Miller Park often and opposing players will take pictures of the stadium from the dugout. On Jan. 31, a picture of Miller Park with the snow-covered mountains went viral as people couldn’t stop commenting on the content of the picture.
Even the NCAA Baseball Twitter page reposted the picture. Players and parents who don’t represent BYU can’t get enough of it.
While fans might just come to enjoy the environment, many do not know Miller Park’s hidden gem. The occasional snowy seasons and cooler temperatures don’t stop BYU from playing their games during the winter months. Composed of elite artificial turf with a heating device installed underneath, the playability of Miller Park increases. This makes the field distinct as BYU is one of few institutions in baseball to install turf and one of the only ones to have a heating device underneath. Anywhere from four to six inches of snow can be melted within an hour. This allows BYU to host and play more games just as their warmer-weather counterparts.
Junior Mitch McIntyre remarked on the advantage of playing at Miller Park, especially with the field. He feels it is an advantage playing in this climate compared to other teams. They are conditioned to play through the weather while doing so might prove difficult for their counterparts.
Overall, Miller Park is seen as one of the most beautiful ballparks in the country. For assistant coach Brent Haring, it was a dream come true coming to coach at BYU.
“It’s unbelievable. To me, one of the best atmospheres in college baseball,” he said. “When the support is there, there is no venue quite like it.”