Chattanooga Lookouts change dugouts

Chattanooga Lookouts change dugouts

March 29th, 2013 by David Paschall in Sports - Professional

Photo by Contributed Photo/Times Free Press.

Rich Mozingo, president and general manager of the Chattanooga Lookouts

The Chattanooga Lookouts are relocating.

To the third-base dugout at AT&T Field.

After spending the past 13 seasons resting in AT&T's first-base dugout, Chattanooga players will have a new gathering spot. The Los Angeles Dodgers requested the move, which will enable Lookouts not on the field to avoid the direct sunlight during evening games.

"It's definitely going to be different for fans to get used to," Lookouts general manager Rich Mozingo said Thursday. "If you're sitting on the first-base side now, you can see into the home dugout. That will be a different perspective for people."

The Lookouts also used the first-base dugout when they played at historic Engel Stadium.

"As long as I can remember, it has always been on the first-base side," said Roy Hawes, a member of Chattanooga's 1952 team that won the Southern Association. "New Orleans had theirs on third, but every other team in this league was on the first-base side."

The Lookouts will occupy the third-base dugout for the first time Tuesday night in an exhibition game against Chattanooga State (starting at 7:15) and again versus Huntsville in next Thursday's Southern League opener.

Swapping dugouts is not as simple as moving some bats and helmets. Paint was needed to switch "Lookouts" and "Southern League" from the tops of the dugouts, and then there was contacting season-ticket holders who have sat behind their team.

"We've given all of our ticket holders the opportunity to change seats if they wanted to change," Mozingo said. "There have been some hurdles to jump over from our end. Operationally, there were some changes that had to be made, but our biggest issue has been communication with season-ticket holders to let them know exactly what's going on.

"We've gotten through that and are getting ready for the season."

Of the 30 major league teams, 19 have their dugout on the first-base side, including the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field. The Dodgers are among the 11 who use the third-base side.

One big difference after games is that Chattanooga and opposing players will cross paths while heading to their respective clubhouses, which could increase the potential for a confrontation.

"That is a possibility, but the fact is they were 20 steps away the other way," Mozingo said. "The potential was there regardless. They will now be crossing lines, but the potential has always been there."

Contact David Paschall at dpaschall@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6524.