New Eck Stadium speakers to promote winning atmosphere

When Wichita State head baseball coach Todd Butler first arrived on campus last year, he noticed that something was missing about Eck Stadium. While almost everything else about the stadium was top-notch by college baseball standards, the sound system was old and did not meet Butler’s standards.

Less than a year later, his request for a new sound system in Eck Stadium was fulfilled, and fans can look forward to what he thinks will be an improved atmosphere.

“Cosmetically, it’s as good a stadium as there is out there,” Butler said. “When we started doing camps in the summer, we turned on the music and I noticed the speakers were in the scoreboard and it was kind of hard to hear.”

Growing up in Louisiana, Butler said he watched Louisiana State’s baseball program win more after a new sound system led to a more excited fan-base. He said there are 86 speakers at various points throughout Eck Stadium now, and he hopes it will contribute to a better game-day experience.

“We have to learn to play music that our fans will recognize with a two-strike count or after we have a walk offensively,” Butler said. “I just want it to be more of a family atmosphere, where the music’s not too loud, where it’s clear and where our fans can be activated in the game.”

Pitching coach Brent Kemnitz, a 36-year veteran of the Shocker baseball program, said the sound is an improvement.

“I’ve been here forever,” Kemnitz said. “I thought [the old sound system] sounded great. Now that I’ve listened to this new sound system, I think that this was much needed.”

Kemnitz said the hiring of Butler after legendary head coach Gene Stephenson was fired brought a new, essential perspective to Eck Stadium.

“Coach Stephenson is the one who created this whole stadium and raised money and had the dream,” Kemnitz said. “But any time someone new comes in, they give you new ideas, new perspectives.”

Of course, the players on the field will notice when the home crowd makes Eck Stadium an unfriendly environment for opposing teams as well. Junior first baseman Casey Gillaspie said it should make the stadium more inviting for Shocker fans and less inviting for everyone else.

“Obviously, we have a great stadium and great facilities,” Gillaspie said. “It brings just a little bit more to our home field advantage.”

Gillaspie also said that bringing more energy to the park is crucial because of the pace of the sport itself.

“Baseball is a game that kind of drags on sometimes,” Gillaspie said. “But if you’ve got something like that on your side, it definitely rejuvenates the team a little bit and brings more energy.”

Butler agreed that the new sound system at Eck Stadium will bring new life to the crowd, giving the Shocker baseball team an edge over the opposition.

“Baseball is a great sport and it’s kind of a slow-paced game,” Butler said. “But the more the fans are involved, the more they enjoy coming to the park, I think it’s going to help our team play better.”