What a great day for Dirtbags Baseball! Thanks to everyone who came out for our big announcement & of course a huge thank you to Marilyn Bohl for her continued support of Long Beach State! #GoBeachhttps://t.co/dqU7yKJegl pic.twitter.com/y8kHq6XM98
— LBSU Dirtbags (@LBDirtbags) December 12, 2017
Long Beach State (LBSU) announced Monday a multi-million dollar gift from Marilyn Bohl, a longtime supporter of the Dirtbags, which will go toward ongoing renovation efforts at Blair Field. The playing surface will be named in Bohl’s honor, while signage at the facility will now read Bohl Diamond at Blair Field, according to LBSU.
Those in attendance at the Blair Field presentation included Bohl, LBSU Athletics Director Andy Fee, LBSU President Jane Close Conoley, Mayor Robert Garcia, the 2018 Dirtbags team, current Major Leaguers Troy Tulowitzki, Danny Espinosa and Matt Duffy, along with other former Dirtbags players and coaches, supporters and alumni.
“From this day forward, we will hereby call it Bohl Diamond at Blair Field,” Fee said during the presentation. “The stadium will retain its signature name of Blair Field throughout our lease agreement and continue in honor of this great and historic facility.”
In January 2016, Bohl contributed $1 million to help start the early stages of the Blair Field renovations. A new outfield fence was installed before the 2016 season, followed by the completion of the Troy & Danyll Tulowitzki Batting Facility and Jered Weaver Bullpen earlier this year. The locker room also received a major update before the start of the 2017 season. Thanks to Bohl’s contributions, Blair Field will continue to receive upgrades, according to the release.
“I had said at the Leadoff Dinner a few months before that I was giving back to the Dirtbags,” Bohl explained. “But I also said I was investing; investing in Blair Field, investing in the Dirtbags baseball program, and investing in the lives of every single one of our baseball players current and future. To me, that was very, very exciting.”
Future upgrades include new stadium lights, a new playing surface and drainage system and plans to renovate the structure along the left-field line into a new multi-purpose facility. With continued support of the Blair Field Campaign, there are also plans to install new seating and renovate the restrooms, among other improvements to the fan experience of the ballpark, according to LBSU.
The name “Bohl Diamond” has been approved by LBSU in conjunction with the City of Long Beach, and will remain throughout the duration of LBSU’s lease of the field from the city, according to the release.
“A lot of folks don’t know that Blair Field has been a partnership for many years between the city and the university,” Garcia said in a statement. “This is a field of the community, this is a public facility, and we’re so proud of the great stewardship the university has invested in making this a special place for so many students and so many families.”
Opened in 1958 and named after Long Beach Press-Telegram sports editor Frank T. Blair, the first game was played between local high schools Long Beach Poly and Huntington Beach. LBSU played its first game that year against Long Beach City College, and officially adopted Blair as its home field in 1993. Over the past eight seasons, LBSU has had more former players in major leagues than any other college or university, according to the release.