Baseball Returns To Rhode Island Ballparks, Slowly
This past weekend I took a ride out to several Rhode Island baseball communities to check on their progress. Leagues that have decided to organize activities for the summer months are working hard on communication, signage, field preparation, safety procedures, and overall operations of a community baseball organization. Here are some photos from recent weekend trip around RI and what I observed:
Saturday at North Kingstown Wickford Little League’s Wilson Park, volunteers gathered for Field Day. During Field Day, signs are “zip-tied” to the outfield fences, the fields are raked and prepped, the bullpen and batting cages are cleaned and readied for action, equipment is assembled, baseball gear is counted and cataloged, and that was just the first half hour. Great job by Arnie, Joe, Frank, Jeff, and the other volunteers who showed up to help North Kingstown youth baseball players realize their summer baseball dreams. Also great to run into LaSalle Academy Head Baseball Coach Tom Pacia and talk all things baseball here in Rhode Island.
Coventry Little League’s Wood St Field looks amazing as always. When I pulled into the parking lot at Wood St., I was struck by the addition of the Senior Center and Police Station and newly aligned parking lot area. The complex looks fantastic. Wood St. Field is a hidden gem of a field in Rhode Island. It has hosted some of the most incredible baseball games I have ever been a part of as a coach. Nestled inside a wooden area, this field has a certain aura to it. Even with no baseball players on the field or in sight, you could still feel a buzz in the air. I have a ton of great memories at Wood St.
After a morning walk along the sea wall at Narragansett Beach, my wife and I headed over to Sprague Park. Sprague is home to Narragansett Little League. The park was open, with restrictions and signage, for the public. I saw families and their children on the playground adjacent to the Major field. I stopped to take photos of the field, the new signage put up by the Town of Narraganset Parks and Recreation Department, and the signs of baseball. I saw a batting glove, an L-screen, and a smashed up baseball!!! All signs of baseball life and all positive signs at Sprague Park!
As I was heading out of Sprague, I ran into a member of the Parks and Recreation staff. He echoed the Town’s commitment to providing a safe place for families for the summer. I also caught a glimpse of a baseball practice happening on the “big field” at Sprague. This “big field” was my home field for the summer of 1990, while I played for American Legion Post 39. I took the service road over and snapped a few photos of the Ocean State Makos 16U team. I observed parents who were socially distanced from each other and also wearing masks. The players were in their fielding positions, socially distancing not a problem on a baseball field that size. It was great to see live baseball, albeit a practice. I sat and watched a few rounds of batting practice and then exited with a big grin on my face.
And late last night, I received an email from my 15 year old’s summer baseball coach after practices starting up this week. Baseball, this version of it in 2020, is starting to take form. Please follow the safety guidelines of your coaches, your league, your town/city recreation departments, your town/city/state officials so we can continue to move into Phase III and beyond. Be safe everyone!!!
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The RIBBE is The Rhode Island Baseball Experience. It is promoting the game of baseball here in the great state of Rhode Island for the entire baseball world to see. The RIBBE is positive stories, photos, videos, and responsible social media posts. The RIBBE is an information resource for families looking for an AAU team or a summer camp or a great place to buy a first baseman’s mitt. The RIBBE is a network of coaches, tournament directors, parents, leagues, and baseball junkies whose passion of the game of baseball is unquestioned. I believe that providing expert analysis, information and directions to ballfields, and coaching advice from some of the top RI baseball minds will help promote the game of baseball here in RI to a whole new level.
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