SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Wake up Ketchikan!
By Tony Gwynn


August 28, 2008

While I admire Ketchikan Little League board member's aspirations of a baseball facility that would match a professional team's spring training site, I wonder if it's time to stop dreaming of a pot of free gold and instead concentrate on reality.

Indeed, a 7-million dollar facility would be fantastic. Indoor fields, housing for visiting teams, state of the art baseball and softball instructional equipment. But where is this money going to come from? Last year a portion of that money was in a bill (I believe it was only $60-to-$100,000, I don't recall the exact total) that was shot down by Gov Palin. We can't get a hundred grand, why in the world are we thinking we're eventually gonna get seven million dollars? Where is that money going to come from?

I suggest we follow the lead of Sitka, a town half our size. Their coaches, parents and city leaders got together and erected a simple steel building. It holds two batting cages, some work out equipment and a moveable pitching mound. That's it. The result? Sitka won three consecutive high school state championships from 05-07 and was in the championship game this season. And several of their baseball players have received college scholarships.

Sitka's baseball lords didn't care about housing visiting teams, having the most expensive indoor facility on the West Coast, being able to play games indoors, or their own "legacy" in being the people behind the Golden Dome. They realized that the most important thing was building a facility that their youth baseball and softball players could use year round to sharpen and improve their skills. And that's what they did. Quick and easy and they didn't have to beg the governor to fork over millions and millions of dollars.

I can't remember the last year that our Little League or our high school team won a Southeast championship. I think it's time we stop dreaming of 7-million dollar facilities and focus on building a useable warehouse that our kids could start using this year!!!

I also think the Borough should be ashamed of themselves for hijacking the quonset hut and old tennis courts (across from Schoenbar). A history lesson will educate you on what that land was originally attended for. And I promise you it wasn't to park busses on. What a shame that an area designated for youth activities is now used as a bus parking lot and car wash.

Wake up Ketchikan! We can follow Sitka's lead and use community support to erect a steel building. State championship and college scholarships will follow. Or we can sit around and dream of 7-million dollar luxury facilities and completely skip this generation of youth baseball and softball players, while waiting for a gov that is gonna sign a 7-million dollar check for a baseball practice building. Check with the Bridge proponents and see how that's going for them.

Tony Gwynn
Ketchikan, AK

About: "Ketchikan Sports Fan"

Received August 25, 2008 - Published August 28, 2008


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Ketchikan, Alaska