Lack of lights at Strawberry Park making it difficult for Pasadena Pee Wee League to practice

October 7, 2011 3:15:46 AM PDT
Baseball season for a Pasadena Pee-Wee League begins in just a matter of days, but it seems the teams won't be able to play ball anytime soon. That's because their field, in Pasadena's Strawberry Park, is no longer functional after a fire and a break-in, but that's just the beginning.

The league usually has four fields to play in, but this year, they have only two, which some parents say has led to a lack of resources.

Jose Ruiz is in a hurry. He only has so much time to coach the Cougars. Not all the fields at Strawberry Park have lights, and according to parents, that's a serious problem.

"We're down to maybe one or two fields and we got 19, 20 teams that we got to share between so not everybody gets a field with lights," Ruiz said.

The problem started in July when fire destroyed a concession stand and disrupted field lighting. Strawberry Field is operated by the city of Pasadena; however there have not been repairs.

"It's a great loss for us. We're going to try and do what we can do over there but it's not as much as here," Pasadena Pee Wee League President Ray Valenzuela said.

The concession stand used to be a place where the 19 teams that comprised the league stored their gear and a place where moms and dads make money selling treats.

Now, parents are struggling to raise money and juggle kids.

"We have over 225 kids playing and there's no way that we can fit all in one week," parent Nici Chapa said.

The city of Pasadena did not respond to our requests for an on-camera interview. The parks director told us by phone the 19 teams should be able to rotate through the field that does have lights. The city is also considering moving the league to a nearby park on Fairmont.

"We lost over $50,000 worth of equipment and fundraisers we have had, we've only managed to raise $3,500," parent Melody Valenzuela said.

They're troubles that worry this little one.

"It's fun for us, but we get so emotional sometimes," nine-year-old Andy Chapa said.

The kids have had a lot to deal with the past season.

The city says it expects to make a decision in two weeks, but parents say in two weeks, they'll be at Pasadena City Hall complaining.

Meanwhile, fall ball at Strawberry Park begins Monday.


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