Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Pearson Park Ballfield Grandstand

WHERE: Pearson Park, Anaheim California
WHERE EXACTLY: 400 N Harbor Blvd, inside Pearson Park

After clearing away orange trees, the ballfield and grandstand were built in 1927.

The concrete and wood grandstand now has aluminum bleachers and seats 750 people.

Police Chief Randy Gaston who spearheaded a major clean-up and restoration of the park in 1999, died while jogging near the park. He was honored with the planting of an oak tree and this plaque mounted on the side of the grandstand.

It didn't seem so much to be a ballfield anymore though. At least I didn't notice any bases or baselines, not even a home plate, just a big dirt area. In fact when I first approached I couldn't figure out what sport the field could possibly be used for, maybe Cricket?

PARK FACTS: On September 20, 1920, city trustees approved purchase of Herman A. Dickel's 19 acre ranch at the southwest corner of Lemon and Sycamore Streets. A young Rudy Boysen was hired to supervise installation and maintenance of the park. He kept that position for more than 38 Years and developed the "Boysenberry" in his spare time. Each year between 1921 and 1929 a new garden or structure was added to the park. The Greek Theater, water garden, cactus garden, plunge and bathhouse (demolished), and baseball stadium (restored) were part of a building boom stopped only by the Depression. The present day park maintenance buildings were originally part of Boysen's greenhouse. He not only maintained the park grounds but grew all the flowers as well.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Dr. Pepper Youth Ballpark

WHERE: Arlington, Texas
WHERE EXACTLY: 1202 Nolan Ryan Expressway, just North of the Ballpark in Arlington
WHEN VISITED: September 2008, on my lunch break.

Dr. Pepper is HUGE in Texas. This little Dr. Pepper Youth Ballpark was completed in 1994 the same year the Ballpark in Arlington opened it's doors. Its patterned much after the big stadium as well, incorporating the same type girder structure and colors.

As you enter the grandstand you get a nice view of The Wall, Baird Farm Road, and Wet-N-Wild in the background. Enough seats for 750 screaming moms and dads. And shaded from the hot Texas sun.

I drive past this field several times a week, and every time I do I see the grounds crew busily at work. This is no ordinary youth ballfield.

The 20' high left field wall, for that Fenway feeling. Notice the windows cut into the wall for fans to watch the game from the street side.

When Baird Farm Road was being built for access to the new Cowboys Stadium nearby, this little ballpark was threatened with demolition since it was in its path. Thankfully the planners came up with the idea of redirecting the road a little, shortening left field, and installing the high retaining wall. The viewing cutouts were genius. The little field was re-dedicated May 17, 2008.

Sitting in the shadow of the Ballpark, with Mark Holtz Lake between them, this little gem would be a thrill for anybody to play at.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Reese AFB Little League Field

WHERE: Reese Air Force Base, Lubbock, Texas
WHERE EXACTLY: Off base, 1/4 mile NE of Main Gate, on George Drive
WHEN VISITED: November 2006

I was stationed at Reese AFB from June 1986 to March 1990, when I separated the active AF, joined the Air National Guard, and moved back to California. 10 years later we were back living in Texas, in the DFW area, so we decided to go visit Lubbock again, see my old base, show Sonny where he was born.

I knew that the base was deactivated and had been sitting mostly vacant since 1997. The buildings and hangars on base looked like they had been maintained, but I was shocked to see base housing obliterated and the nice sports complex completely overgrown.

It looked as though time had suddenly stopped. It appeared that they didn't try to salvage or sell off anything, just left it there. Tommy and I went up into the announcers booth, and found score sheets and rosters and electronic equipment. It was kinda eerie, like suddenly everyone just vanished. Did the scoreboard sense it's impending doom, "NOO!"

I remember playing softball on the adjacent manicured fields, pausing the game and facing the flag for the Star Spangled Banner in the evening, and running for shelter during sudden lightning storms.

Even the old control tower looks a little sad.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Pilot Point High School Varsity Field

WHERE: Pilot Point, Texas
WHERE EXACTLY: On E. Liberty Street west of S. College Street
WHEN VISITED: 2007 while on the Gainesville roadtrip

The angular black backstop is what first caught my eye. I had never seen a backstop this shape before. It screamed 1940's to me and the little megaphone speaker jutting out only adds to the nostalgia.

Home to the Pilot Point High School Bearcats. It appears from this sign that from 1987 to 1997 Bearcat Baseball often got close enough to taste it but never got to take a bite of the State Champions cake:

1987 District Runner Up

1988 District Runner Up

1989 Area Champ

1990 District Runner Up

1991 Regional Semifinalist

1992 Regional Semifinalist

1993 District Runner Up

1994 Bi-District Champs

1995 State Runner Up

1996 State Qualifier

1997 Area Champ

Pretty impressive but the State Trophy seems to be allusive.

The old Victorian home past right field adds to the vintage look of this high school ballfield.
Some newer aluminum bleachers in addition to the old wooden ones behind home plate may indicate that the program is finally getting some recognition. I noticed that the dugouts were freshly painted black and had new Bearcat script and logo painted on.

An attractive little high school field in a nice, open, old neighborhood setting.