Sports

A diamond in the rough

CK Babe Ruth recently reached an agreement with the county Department of Facilities, Parks and Recreation for Fairgrounds Field 5. The goal is to have the field playable by next season. - Photo by Jesse Beals
CK Babe Ruth recently reached an agreement with the county Department of Facilities, Parks and Recreation for Fairgrounds Field 5. The goal is to have the field playable by next season.
— image credit: Photo by Jesse Beals

They are CK Babe Ruth, hear them roar.

The parents and players of the baseball league banded together recently and let their voices be heard after issues arose with the county regarding field use at the Kitsap Fairgrounds Ballfields.

Pierre and Noel Gauweiler, presi-dent and vice president of CK Babe Ruth, respectively, submitted their usual requests for use of the facilities earlier this month, but were denied.

“Our repeated requests, for even limited play time on the field, have been DENIED,” Noel wrote on the league’s Web site soon after their requests were denied. “The Fairgrounds Review Committee has decided there is to (sic) much use on the ‘Blue Jackets field’ and we have been cut from the schedule. As tax-payers and parents, we should all be outraged!”

It wasn’t long after the posting that parents, players and fans began inundating the county’s Department of Facilities, Parks and Recreation with letters.

“They were pretty much outraged,” Noel explained. “We were getting kicked off.”

More than 100 parents sent letters expressing their discontent with the county’s decision.

“The parents, players and fans came together and wrote and phoned,” she said.

Just recently, the Gauweilers met with Chip Faver, the director of parks, facilities and recreation, and hammered out the details of a future partnership.

The league’s teams will play on Field 1 — the home field for the Kitsap BlueJackets, Olympic High School, Olympic College as well as other youth baseball teams — for at least 11 games this season including senior division games and the championship game at the end of the year.

In addition, one of the softball fields at the Fairgrounds will be made to accommodate baseball play and its accompanying 90-foot bases. If it’s not completed this year, it was agreed that it will be completed next year.

The league also has been given use of Field 5 as the official CK Babe Ruth home field. Although in ill-repair and unusable this year, the Gauweilers are hoping to be able to use the field next year.

“We’ll need more public support,” Noel said of repairing the field. “We’d like to have it playable by next season.”

The field’s needed upgrades include new fencing, field materials and dugouts, according to Faver.

The agreement is a steward-ship/partnership between the league and Kitsap County Parks and Recreation, meaning the county would own the field and CK Babe Ruth would be responsible for the field’s upkeep.

“We’re very excited about their contribution to the project and offer of stewardship,” Faver said.

The partnership/stewardship agreement, however, still has to be signed.

“Once it’s signed we’ll feel really secure,” Noel said.

Faver says the department is working on drafting a proposal that is to be presented to the league.

“We’re taking a model from King County,” he explained

He adds that the agreement will be “lasting and fiscally responsible for all groups.”

CK Babe Ruth started more than 50 years ago and is home to 14 teams made up of players ranging in age from 13 to 18 years old. The league has played on the Fairgrounds’ fields since they were created.

Noel is not only thankful to the parents and players who helped to positively influence the county’s decision, but also to the county officials who listened to the issues at hand.

“It’s good to see that elected officials will listen to you,” Noel said. “We were not going to stop.”

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