The Rhode Island Baseball Experience Final Swings – The Baseball Fields

Living in Rhode Island off and on for the past 50 years, I have been lucky enough to experience many things in life of Rhode Islander. Rhode Island has beautiful beaches, scenic drives in the woods, city life, eclectic dining spots, ice creams shoppes galore, and incredible history spread out all over the state. And over the past 5 years or so of sharing the Rhode Island Baseball Experience, I have been lucky enough to have visited well over 100 baseball fields and complexes – each with its own uniqueness and place in the Rhode Island Baseball Community. Sure, the “little fields” all have 46′ between home plate and the pitcher’s mound. The “big fields” all have base paths that are 90′ apart. What I learned was there is are fields here in Rhode Island with stone walls that run the perimeter of the field and a field in Newport where Satchel Paige pitched and and a field named after one of the greatest baseball players of all time (from Woonsocket, RI) and a field that is actually in two states (RI and MA) depending on where you are playing. What I learned is that the Rhode Island Baseball Experience on these and so many Rhode Island fields was a story I couldn’t wait to share and write about every single chance I got.

I have also been lucky to have lived in a state that is so small, I can drive out of the state in less than 30 minutes, no matter what spot I am parked at. I have accessed Rhode Island baseball fields by car, on a bike tour (2019), on a ferry, on a moped, and on foot. I have traveled to Woonsocket and Glocester. I have biked from Westerly to Chariho. I have ridden the ferry from Pt. Judith to Block Island. I have walked from Varrato Field to the 50/70 CLCF Field in Cranston. I have walked the grounds of Bryant College to get to the baseball field, through an opening in the stone wall. I have walked past the big field at Fay to find the little field in the back of the recreational complex. I have parked a mile away and walked through the tourists and Navy personnel and heavy beverage drinkers on a busy Newport summer night to attend a Sunset League game. All to watch the great game of baseball at one of Rhode Island’s amazing baseball fields.

And while I am at the field or attending a baseball game, I have taken the time to sit in the left field bleachers and behind home plate and out in centerfield and so on. I write as a fan because I am a fan. As a fan, I wanted to see every angle possible of the game and maybe learn something about the park, its namesake and origin, and any interesting facts about it. I have sat on a park bench in center field at Rodericks Field in East Providence. I have stood next to the dugout at Lischio Field and chatted with old NKW Coaching buddies. I have sat in the first base picnic area at Pontarelli Field and watched RIC compete at at high level. I have stood next to the great Nap Lajoie in Woonsocket, whose photo is artistically photoshopped onto the dugouts. I have read the memorials and the plaques that sit in bullpen areas, behind home plate, next to the concession stands, and around the ball parks. I have stopped and gazed at the flags and banners and sponsorship logos and what all that means to that particular baseball community. If you take a few minutes at a baseball field, you might realize, as I have, that it’s not just base paths and dugouts and pitcher’s mounds at these fields, it is an incredible Rhode Island Baseball Experience.

I also learned that it takes a ton of effort every season to maintain these baseball fields. Some fields are managed by local city or town departments. Others by the leagues and a host of volunteers. Some fields are managed by one person, true fact I know a few fields that have a groundskeeper staff of 1. I have read about and shared amazing tales of volunteers rebuilding dugouts, re-sodding fields, installing new fences, installing new bathrooms, upgrading roofs on concession stands, and the unselfish work of so many to open the fields in the Spring and close them in the Fall. For the volunteers, the city and town workers, and the super groundskeepers who maintain the fields and keep them safe for baseball players of all ages to use every year – Thank you for all you do for the Rhode Island Baseball Community.

Do I have a favorite field in Rhode Island? Yes, although it is not used as a baseball field (technically) anymore. The field with the stone wall perimeter located next to the Phillips St. entrance to Wickford Middle School is where I played many, many games as a Wickford Little Leaguer. It is now the softball field for WMS and I believe Special Olympics North Kingstown uses it as well. I spent an amazing childhood playing baseball on that field and the memories could fill up the North Kingstown Library by yours truly and my biggest fan, my Mom. She used to walk down from our house on Ten Rod Road, sometimes with my dog, and sit on the stone wall and watch my brother and I play baseball. Those Wickford Little League days are some of my most cherished baseball memories and that field is my favorite field of all-time.

Do you have a favorite field? Maybe one you played on or a family member occupies center field on currently? If so, maybe you would like to lend a hand at your local baseball field and help out your local league or organization. Perhaps you are a business that can donate a service to help redo a busted fence or repair a sign? Maybe you are a new parent to a local league and would like to volunteer your time next Spring when they open up the fields. Or a retired person looking to give back to the community you live in? Rhode Island youth organizations are always looking for volunteers. It is a rewarding position in your community that helps another and what is better than that??? Please consider volunteering with your local baseball organization.

I’ll end on this note. Every field here in Rhode Island is worth visiting. From Tiverton to Exeter to Smithfield to Pawtucket to East Greenwich, every field has something unique and historical and yes, a story to share. I tell a lot of people this – I couldn’t do what I do in many other states like New York or Texas or even Massachusetts because of the amount of travel involved in covering the game that way I wanted to. A small state like Rhode Island was the perfect place for me to visit hundreds of fields and tell hundreds of amazing baseball stories these past several years. Every field offered me the chance at their community’s incredible Rhode Island Baseball Experience.

Baseball Parks, Fields, and Complexes IN THE COMMUNITY This Week in Rhode Island Baseball

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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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