The Rizal Memorial Baseball Stadium is undergoing a facelift as renovations on the field are ongoing to make it suitable for other events.
Construction work is currently underway after the Philippine Sports Commission decided to skin the infield grass of the historic stadium, where the New York Yankees, led by legends Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig played in 1934 in exhibition matches to open the venue.
A removable pitching mound will also be installed once the skinning of the field is done.
Once the construction is finished, the stadium will not only be used for baseball purposes, but also for softball and Little League games where different sets of field dimensions are required.
PSC commissioner and executive director Chito Loyzaga said that skinning the infield, which is already an acceptable practice in Asian baseball powerhouse countries Japan, South Korea and Chinese Taipei, was done to accommodate more events at the stadium.
The UAAP will held its baseball and softball games at Rizal this season, which is why the PSC is looking at finishing the construction before the targeted opening of the games on January 7. The league postponed the opening of the baseball and softball tournaments to give way to the renovations.
Loyzaga said that the field can stand any kind of weather. The PSC is also planning to install lights so that night games can also be held at the 77-year-old venue.
“We want to hold more baseball and softball games here at Rizal because of its accessibility to the public,” Loyzaga said.
The adjacent track and football stadium also underwent major renovation on the field last year, coming right as the popularity of football rose in the country. That allowed the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex to host several major international friendlies and World Cup qualifying matches this year.