top of page

Under the Lights

The Valley College baseball field shines bright lights for night games in the future. 

By: Alex Diaz, Sports Editor

Outfielder Eddie Zapata tosses the ball moments before the beginning of an inning during the first night game. This is Zapata’s last year playing at Valley. (Taylor Cowhey for The Valley Star)

LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION! Valley College sets a new stage with lighting the baseball field. The Monarchs baseball field underwent a major transformation as it was illuminated with eight new lights, allowing the first night game to be played on April 25. 

Valley College introduced the Campus-wide Exterior Lighting Master Plan in 2010. After 14 years, the plan has finally been completed with the installation of lighting at the baseball field.

“I’ve been here for 20 years, so the talk of it has been going on for years,” said Head Coach and Athletic Director Dave Mallas. “It is pretty exciting to have the back of the district and the administration at Valley College.” 

As the lights provide opportunities for evening games, they also bring in revenue and new communities to Valley College, with the hope of attracting high school teams and offering them chances to play under the lights.

“Getting youth athletes on campus and them having a great experience is what matters,” said President Barry Gribbons. “We will probably generate some revenue but it's also all about being a part of the community.” 

Valley makes history with the installation of the lights as the only baseball program with lights. The MLB started with their first night game 89 years ago. 

Right handed batter Dorian Asher prepares to swing under the lights at Valley’s first night game. Asher was an honorable mention in the Western State Conference. (Taylor Cowhey for The Valley Star)

The first Major League game played under lights took place in 1930 during the Great Depression. As the lights were introduced to the minor leagues in 1935, it was considered to be the "savior of Minor League ball" due to the financial pressures of society at the time.

Many were hesitant to adopt lights as baseball was considered the sport that revolved around the sun. What made baseball the sport it is today was daytime games. Businessman Larry MacPhail wanted to challenge this idea.

The entrepreneur believed that lighting could bring benefits to Major League Baseball by allowing more people to attend games and creating a new atmosphere.

Some players believed that MacPhail's proposal would bring about a drastic change to their daily routine. They were concerned that the lights might be too intense and affect their eyes, or not intense enough to properly illuminate a Major League stadium throughout the season.

MacPhail preserved, and the first night game was played on May 24, 1935, at Crosley Field where the Cincinnati Reds beat the Philadelphia Phillies. 

After MacPhail spent the next decade working for the Dodgers and the Yankees, he left the sport in 1947. He was celebrated as one of baseball’s greatest innovators. In 2024, the MLB will play about two-thirds of its games under the lights.


bottom of page