Sports

East Bremerton may host 2012 Babe Ruth World Series

By BRIAN J. OLSON

North Kitsap Herald

POULSBO — Kitsap County is one step closer to becoming the site of world series baseball.

The North Kitsap Babe Ruth baseball club is working on a bid to host the 2012 Babe Ruth World Series for 13-year-olds. Last week Babe Ruth League, Inc., the national governing body for Babe Ruth baseball, announced it will send league commissioner Robert Faherty to visit Kitsap County on April 13 to assess the area as a possible tournament site.

“Now we know that Babe Ruth headquarters is serious about considering us as a World Series host,” North Kitsap Babe Ruth tournament director Brent Stenman wrote in an email.

The 10-team tournament would include a North Kitsap Babe Ruth team, as well as regional champions from all over the country. It would take place in August at the Gene Lobe baseball fields at the Kitsap County Fairgrounds in East Bremerton, tournament co-director Russ Barker said.

Poulsbo has its own baseball fields, at Snider Park on Viking Way, but Barker said the facilities do not have the capacity to hold the expected 1,000 spectators per game, and the grounds would need significant improvements to host a tournament of world series magnitude.

Barker and Stenman believe the local support exists, but they are still looking for more help. The team held a meeting for potential volunteers last month, and about 40 people pledged to assist with the tournament. Since then, Stenman said the number has approached 100.

“I’d love to get 150 if we could,” he said.

Stenman added that 75 families will be needed to host the visiting players.

If Babe Ruth League chooses the fairgrounds for the 2012 world series, the North Kitsap club will have to raise the money needed to pull off the spectacle. Stenman said that could be as much as a $100,000 investment, including the $45,000 fee.

Despite the initial cost, Barker said the series would be a boon to local businesses.

“I think it’s a unique opportunity from an economic perspective,” he said. “A tournament like this easily introduces over a million dollars into the community.”

Stenman and Barker first contacted Babe Ruth League, headquartered in New Jersey, about hosting the 2012 world series in the summer of 2008, after hosting the regional championship. The League’s regional commissioner was impressed with the facilities and recommended the club try for the world series.

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