The crown jewel of Downtown Amarillo is about to get a bit of an upgrade.

HODGETOWN is one of the biggest and most recognizable buildings in Amarillo and has been voted as the best ballpark in America in the past. Now, HODGETOWN will see a few upgrades to stay current with the times.

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Yesterday, March 28th, the Amarillo City Council approve the use of $4.5 million in hotel occupancy tax and revenue bonds to cover upgrades HODGETOWN needs to go through due to new MLB mandates. Some of these you will see, others you will not. Here's what the money is being used for.

With the increasing amount of female umpires and coaches, MLB has stated that stadiums across the country must include facilities that are dedicated to only females. Things such as locker rooms now need to be built in order to accommodate the growing number of women involved in the sport.

That's not to say that stadiums aren't accommodating to any women that enter their stadium when it comes to places for them to change, etc., it just means that they will now have a dedicated place in each stadium, which is 100% needed.

The other change HODGETOWN is required to make WILL affect you when attending a game. The netting that they have up behind home plate and down the 1st and 3rd baselines must be extended for safety purposes. As a fan, I absolutely hate this because I can't stand watching a game through the netting.

However, from a safety standpoint, I'm a huge fan of it. Being a baseball lifer, I know how fast that ball can come at you on a line drive, and if you aren't paying attention, it'll smack you quickly and cause major injury, up to and including death which has happened because of a foul ball.

HODGETOWN plans to start making these changes at the end of the 2023 season and will be in effect when you head to the ballpark in 2024.

Josh Jung and the Frisco RoughRiders play in Amarillo at HODGETOWN

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