Chattanooga Lookouts Left Former Engel Stadium Home Nearly 20 Years Ago Amid Rising Issues With Historic Ballpark
Chattanooga-(WDEF) It has been almost twenty years since the Chattanooga Lookouts moved out of their old home Engel Stadium. Their last game was September 10th of 1999.
While Engel conjures up plenty of charm and nostalgia, it would still be difficult for the Lookouts to play even a retro game at the historic ballpark.
Said Lookouts General Manager Rich Mozingo:”I think it’s one of the wonderful ballparks in America until you have to start running a business there.”
Said the Voice of the Lookouts Larry Ward:”We spent thousands of dollars in paint every year to repaint that thing. You had to. It was just falling apart. Come to find out structurally all around it, there were a lot more things wrong with it than what was right.”
Said Mozingo:”There was no ventilation really in the back of those concession stands. So we had popcorn machines going back there, hot dog rollers, and that kind of stuff. It was so hot, it was stifling back there, but you couldn’t plug a fan in because when you plugged the fan in, the hot dog roller would stop working. I was told a hundred different times that it was the lowest point in Chattanooga, whether that’s true or not, I don’t know. I remember one time we were trying to get the SEC baseball tournament in town. We had the commissioner of the SEC. We were having lunch at Engel Stadium and a water main broke literally almost a half a mile away. And as we sat there, the stadium itself started filling up with water right in front of the SEC Commissioner, Roy Kramer, the SEC Commissioner.”
Said Ward:”There was talk at one time of lifting three to four feet on to of that whole area, which would have been. You might as well build a new stadium because it would have been a couple of three-million-dollars just to do that.”
Reporter:”Anything in particular you miss about Engel Stadium?”
Said Mozingo:”I think it was a very cozy place.”
Said Ward:”You remember when you tried to have a second person with you in the booth, and all you did was this. You were scrunched together.”
Said Mozingo:”Our center field wall being 471 feet away from home plate. The center field wall being 23 feet tall on top of that hill. It’s just an iconic building.”
Ward:”Of course in the main press box the guys would take the baseball. They would date it and leave it stuck in the wall, so we had baseballs stuck in the wall all over the main press box wall.”
Ward:”It finally got on the historic landmark. It would be sad if all of that went away. There are some things of tradition that should never go away. Ever.”