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Boys of Summer: Going to Bat for the Fields

East Haven 89ers baseball officials have raised some concerns about the local league's ability to maintain its current schedule of games if an outside company enters into a field use rental agreement with the town.

Negotiations between the and a Colorado-based company to rent out use of town-owned fields has raised some concern among one local sports organization.

The , the youth baseball program run through American Legion Post 89, has been playing ball here in town since 1985.

During that time, the , including fielding "13 and Under" and "12 and Under" teams for the first time this year.

Last year, the organization's "18 and Under" team — which plays at or — won the state championship. 

And the 89ers kicked off the 2012 season looking forward to an equally competitive effort.

Losing the Field

Last week, however, team officials were informed that their previously scheduled game for June 16 would now have to be rescheduled due to another organization renting out the field.

Triple Crown Sports, a Colorado-based sports company, had rented out the field for its Father's Day Classic baseball tournament.

The travel team tournament takes place on various fields throughout the area from June 15-17.

The 89er Baseball Club’s General Manager Lou Ciaramella told East Haven Patch he was puzzled and frustrated by move, because he had submitted his schedule of games for the 2012 season to the six weeks ago.

Now, he said, he would have to go back to the opposing team and work out a new date, time and/or location to play the game.

"It's embarrassing," Ciaramella said.

'Only One Date'

The immediate rescheduling headache for the 89ers' upcoming June 16 game, however, appears to have been resolved.

Lou Pane, the town's recreation department director, told East Haven Patch on Thursday the Triple Crown game that would have interfered with the 89ers game at that time has been rescheduled — giving the field back to the East Haven team.

"They always have first preference here," Pane said of the 89ers.

"It's only one date. The legion currently has 150 dates," he said. "We always make sure that the legion has so many dates secured here in town... all it is is a rescheduling situation."

Tuesday Meeting

But many legion baseball officials, parents and even some fans are worried that if the town does enter into a rental contract with Triple Crown, future situations like this will arise more frequently, throwing the season's schedule into chaos.

In response, the Mayor's Office has scheduled a meeting with the 89ers and Pane on Tuesday afternoon to discuss the local league's concerns.

When asked for the current status of contract negotiations between the town and Triple Crown, the Mayor's Office declined to comment on the issue prior to Tuesday's meeting.

And Connor Sussillo, Triple Crown's northeast region representative, also declined to comment.

"You can talk to Lou Pane," he told East Haven Patch.

'Fantastic' Economic Impact

Pane did confirm the town and Triple Crown are in talks for ongoing rental of Memorial and the high school fields.

The Colorado business has a series of tournaments scheduled for the area, apparently based in North Branford, that run until late this year.

"We hope to have triple crown here throughout the summer and here in the fall," he said.

And Pane said while he understands the 89ers concerns about potential scheduling conflicts — which he hopes to address and resolve at next week's meeting — the economic impact of having travel teams playing games here in East Haven and the surrounding towns is a big plus for local businesses.

"The economic impact is fantastic," he said. "It's an economic impact that's going to help our town."

"And if we can benefit as a town to utilize fields that are not being used, we're going to be pro-active by doing that," Pane said.

John Gildersleeve June 08, 2012 at 11:49 AM
Seems to be a pattern here. Mayor comes back in office and youth sports suffer. He stopped spending on paint and told the youth soccer league tough luck- you can't have your fields lined.
Rosie June 08, 2012 at 03:22 PM
I don't care who is mayor, or what the economic impact is. The leagues that use any of our town fields should have first preference. Our kids should not have to "reschedule" or be misplaced due to some out of towners wanting to use our fields. The fields belong to the town, and we pay the taxes to maintain them. Let the other teams rent them, but not at our kids expense. They should have to reschedule, not us.
Lise Cavallaro June 08, 2012 at 03:59 PM
I agree Rosie. Another issue: How about all the people who play "sports" and can't even bother to walk to the field from the parking ? They park on the side of the street in designated handicapped spots, or on the grass. Meanwhile, there's at least 1-200 spaces available.
Rosie June 08, 2012 at 05:07 PM
I have seen that at the Pit as well. And do these teams carry their own insurance like our town organizations are required to do, or is the town open to a law suit if someone gets hurt??
FCF June 08, 2012 at 07:09 PM
There is no parking lot at Memorial Field. Where will all those cars from tournament participants go?
Lise Cavallaro June 08, 2012 at 07:50 PM
I'm referring to the high school where there's 100's of spots.

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