Reading youth baseball stadium gets a facelift in major league |  Local news

Reading youth baseball stadium gets a facelift in major league | Local news

Some of the ball fields that Ryan Howard played youth baseball on were not the best for a ball game, so it was a no-brainer, the former Philadelphia Phillies slugger and National League MVP said on Thursday, when asked to collaborate with Scotts and MLB on a program to create and preserve safe places for urban youth to play.

Howard was in Reading on Thursday – where the dream of playing Major League Baseball crystallized in 2004 when he belted 37 home runs to break Greg “The Bull” Luzinski’s record that had stood for more than three decades – for a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate completion of the renovation of the ballpark at Gordon Hoodak Stadium.

Earlier this summer, Scotts and MLB announced that the Olivet Boys & Girls Club of Reading and Berks County won this year’s Scotts Field Refurbishment Program Grant, and received up to $ 50,000 to complete field renovations at the stadium due to Reading School District’s Lauer’s Park Elementary School.

The ballpark is located on the site of the former Lauer’s Park, a ballpark where professional baseball was played a century ago by the likes of Honus Wagner and “Shoeless” Joe Jackson once played with team-storming teams.

This stadium was demolished decades ago.

The current youth ballroom, including the impressive grandstand, was built in 2006 with a grant from Baseballtown Charities, a non-profit organization launched four years earlier in partnership with Reading Phillies to give disadvantaged children better opportunities to play baseball.

The youth ball field, named after a longtime Lauer’s Park principal, was hailed as Baseball Town’s crown achievement in its attempt to revitalize baseball in downtown Reading.

Chuck Domino, president of Baseballtown Charities, thanked Olivet and the Reading School District for being good managers of that investment.

“We chose this site because Gordan Hoodak was the principal of this school, and we knew he would take care of it, and we knew the Boys and Girls Club would take care of it, and they did,” Domino said.

Along with Howard were representatives of MLB, Scotts, Olivet, Baseballtown Charities and Reading Fightin Phillies, Mayor Eddie Moran and Dr. Khalid Mumin, Superintendent of the Reading School District.

Young people participating in the youth baseball and softball leagues run by Olivet participated in exercises, some under the supervision of Howard, on the unnoticed clay diamond and outfield with natural grass.

Fightin Phils’ mascots Crazy Hotdog Vendor and Screwball were hits with the kids, including a group of boys and girls from the Olivet Walnut Street club who were there as part of the day camp.

Christopher Winters, CEO of Olivet, said the pandemic took a toll on youth sports and hindered the youth’s ability to stay physically active, so he thanked Scott and MLB as well as Baseballtown Charities for investing in community health.

Tom Wilhelm of Scotts said MLB and Scotts have partnered with renovation programs for six years, renovating 29 fields in 16 states.

“So we’re excited to have one here in Reading, Pennsylvania, today,” he said. At Scott, we understand that the biggest games and the best memories are made on grass.

“We also understand how having a good field is for society and the children, a safe playing field and something to take great joy and pride over. So when we saw contributions from the Boys and Girls Club in Reading, we were happy to get to work. ”

Howard said that the initiative to provide a safe and clean environment for games is one he quickly embraced because he wants young people and society to feel good about the place they play their games.

“This is something that is very, very special to me,” he said. “It gives the children the opportunity to help with life, learn from a team game and to have the opportunity to play at the next level.”

As a teenager, Howard played in fields that he said were less than ideal, but he still managed to earn a college scholarship. His college coach got the players to join the crew, who watered the grass and such, so that they would have a gratitude for the safe field.

He told the young athletes to thank those who gave them the perfect place.

“This is your house,” he said. “So take care of it. You see rubbish, do not go past, pick it up.”

Some of the girls participating in Olivet’s Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) youth soccer team were in uniform and teaching skills to younger children who were there with Olivet day camp.

The girls started volunteering and worked with Leo Martinez, commissioner of Olivet’s RBI program, to cover the cost of uniforms and travel to tournaments.

Martinez said the goal is to have a clean, well-maintained field and facilities, not just for players but for visitors, including teams from other cities.

“We (Olivet) have control as far as who plays and as far as cleanliness and leave it as you find it,” Martinez said. “The first impression people have when they come through the gates is ‘wow’, and that’s how we want it to be, because this is our house.”

Some of the girls with the RBI program, Tatian Garcia, 15, and Selena Saldivar, 19, have been playing youth ball on the court since they were young children.

For them, Gordon Hoodak Stadium is something of a dream field.

No matter what problems they melt away when they hit the field.

“I get on the field and everything that happens off the field is like a puff,” said Garcia. “You feel so relieved and at peace, in the pile or in the box. I love it so much. “

Source link

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Shopping Cart
Scroll to Top