Tuesday, December 19

Baseball Field Fiasco

I thought it was just a fluke when I showed up to Woodstock Park and it looked like a farm field fit for a concert rather than a baseball diamond. I figured the field had been out of the rotation for a while, and maybe the person in charge of the field needed to get back in mid-season form. But it was also kind of a known concern. I'd been told going in to bring my own chair for the dugout. But that was the worst experience at the worst field, so no biggie.

Our next game was at Rondette Park. Actually, it was supposed to be there. But it was a game that had not been on the original schedule, confirmed one week in advance, so that apparently meant the lights would not be scheduled to come on. Fine, we'll wait. Natural light had completely disappeared when the word came that the lights could not be turned on. Someone in Iowa, I was told, controls the lights in Jax parks. That's not even a thing, is it? And even if it is, how can there not be a hotline to call at 7pm for lighting? I mean, why would those people in Iowa even work during daylight hours?

A later game scheduled at Rondette proved to be just as Bush league, and that's saying something, since this is already amateur baseball. We knew we were close to the time limit when we took the field in the last inning, but we had not done anything out of the ordinary. Some baseball innings take longer than others. This was a long inning, and just before it was over, all the lights turned off. Baseball is one of those sports where someone could really get hurt if the lights just turn off in the middle of a throw. My own grandpa wasn't paying attention and lost an eye playing the game, so I am always concerned with metal bats, poorly-maintained infields, hot shots who throw hard at the wrong time, and (now) lights turning off in the middle of the game.

I can accept lackluster fields. You can play deep or play in or bail out of the way. I still have scars from the stones embedded in certain fields from Milwaukee. With the sand in Florida, that's no longer a concern. But lighting that disappears mid-inning is pretty bad.

That's right, we also had to kick kids off our field because their practice field was completely flooded for no reason. And the port a John was missing, meaning the locked bathrooms were more annoying than usual. I don't even know how 25 guys can all avoid using the restroom for three hours (or if they all did).

I am not nearly as good as I used to be at baseball. Maybe I somehow deserve worse fields as I age. But the parks in Jacksonville seem to pose health and safety concerns that I'd rather not deal with. I guess baseball is not considered to be a big deal around here, but I pay taxes, and we paid to play on the fields, so I think it's fair that we get at least minimal amenities.

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