Padre Little League: by Brother Dave Evins
● By Brian O
Bringing the team together.
It always seems that when there's a chore to be done and it's on a volunteer system, things either get forgotten, never done or the quality of work sometimes lacks. Since it's on a volunteer basis, completion of chores, are done whenever people can get away to do them. For instance, I was a deacon of a church for over six years. We had over 20 deacons. Each one of us had our different area of expertise but there was always something that needed to be done around the building, such as clean up or maintenance. We were all supposed to help when needed. Inevitably the same five or six deacons would show up and do all the work. That’s okay when there's no rush to get anything done.
The same principle applies for Little League boards. I had the great pleasure of coaching out at Padre Little League for over 12 years. I’ve done my share of volunteering on and off the field. Usually it was the same five or six guys that would be out there on a Saturday morning to pull weeds, pick up trash and in general pick up the complex and make it shine for the games. The Padre Little League board consists of anywhere from 15 to 25 board members and there is one or two that are appointed to maintaining the fields. By the end the season the fields were usually in shoddy shape with holes and divots, sometimes even too dangerous for kids to play on. It’s hard to keep up with a complex when it’s run on a volunteer basis.
While playing out at Padre Little League my son made numerous All-Star teams. This allowed us to travel around and see other little leagues. It proved one thing, we weren’t an isolated case. They all had the same problem, a lot of work and not enough volunteers to do it.
After many years of coaching out at Padre, we decided to put my son Cameron, in “select baseball.” These are teams that travel around Texas and play different tournaments. That afforded us the opportunity to see other complexes around the great state of Texas. Most of these places are run by the cities, for instance; last year we took a group of boys on a baseball team to Round Rock. The facility was made up of 20 fields on over 45 acres of land. After the tournament I complemented to the president of the complex how beautiful the fields were maintained and how neat and clean the complex was. He said it was because they weren’t on a volunteer system. The complex was run by the city and city crews maintained the fields and repaired all the facilities when needed. He also said that they had been open over year and usually ran 1 to 2 tournaments a month. This one tournament had over 100 teams from all over Texas. The entrance fee per team was $325. That’s $32,500 on entrance fees alone, and that’s not including concession stands!
That brings up the main point of the story. A few years ago the city of Corpus Christi decided to deed the property out at Oso Little League and National League, to the Texas A&M Corpus Christi University. In doing so they told the boards of the little leagues that they would provide them with a brand-new facility. They did, an $8 million complex with 13 ball fields, batting cages, storage buildings, concession stands, bleachers and bathrooms out off of Paul Jones Ave and S. Padre Island Dr.
The city completed the complex and opened it last March with all the hoopla and pageantry the city could muster up and then immediately handed they keys over to the respective Little League boards. I propose the city take back over the complex and run it like the Round Rock complex. It’s not like we don’t have precedence. Corpus Christi runs and maintains two golf courses!!! We not only have an opportunity to keep a taxpayer facility well-maintained but also get a return for our taxpayer dollars. How many places in government can you say that!