I'd like to introduce this spring's coolest addition to the area baseball scene: the right field party deck at Parkland College. Built by about 35 students enrolled in Parkland's Highway Construction Careers Training Program, the elevated perch offers a cool, free-of-charge view from beyond the crooked right field fence. Kind of like the rooftops at Wrigley — but with better baseball (most recent titles: Parkland in 2009, Cubs in 1908).
"I'm a Cubs fans," Parkland AD Rod Lovett said. "I couldn't quite build the rooftops so the deck was the next best thing."
The Cobras play their second home game of the season Monday (2 p.m. vs. Illinois Central). But until the weather improves, the deck might not fill up.
"When it's 25 degrees out, there's not a great demand for it," Lovett said. Here's more:
No one will be hawking beers.
"That didn't pass inspection, although it would have ensured the deck being full," Lovett said.
But the possibility of a hot dog vendor exists.
"We have talked about a student worker putting on an outfit and walking through that area and behind home plate selling hot dogs and peanuts," Lovett said.
Unlike Phoenix, there are no plans for a swimming pool beyond the outfield fence.
"I think this spring an in-ground sprinkler system is going to be installed. Does that count?" said Parkland program manager R.J. Rowland, who oversaw construction of the deck.
It's for sale.
"We're not opposed if a company wants to make it the blankety-blank right field deck. The News-Gazette Right Field Deck would work," Lovett said.
Taunting the opposition will not be tolerated.
"Groups can reserve it ... student groups, birthday parties. I wanted to make sure we didn't get people up there that were heckling the right fielder," Lovett said.
But fans can throw home run balls back on the field.
"We have one home run in 18 games, so they wouldn't be throwing ours back out there. Hopefully, there won't be a lot from the other team to throw back anyway," Lovett said.