Editorial Comment

No field of dreams


Hasn’t it been gorgeous outside lately? Temperatures are reaching into the 70s, skies are blue and fields are green. This is the time of year when one truth becomes very clear: it’s almost baseball season.

Unfortunately for the baseball players at Bronx High School of Science and the High School of American Studies at Lehman College, the perfect baseball weather is not a time to celebrate. The teams are scrambling with their schedules because for the fifth-straight year, Harris Field will not be open as planned.

This one stings more than previous years. The players and coaches thought all winter they would be able to play home games on brand new fields at the end of March. The fields even look ready for play and because there are holes in the fence, many neighborhood kids are on them already.

The problem?

The grass is not ready. It needs time to “knit.”

The bigger problem?

Because of a communication breakdown in our city government, the teams were not told until March 8.

The biggest problem?

Nine seniors on the Bronx Science Wolverines varsity team and six seniors on the American Studies Senators varsity team will graduate high school without ever having played a home baseball game. They’ve never had home field advantage, which in baseball, more than in other major team sports, is one of the greatest advantages. Not only do fields have quirks the home team understands better, the dimensions of every baseball field are never exactly the same. It’s part of what makes baseball beautiful.

The teams have been trucking down to Randall’s Island or Crotona Park for home games, where their schoolmates rarely make the trip to cheer them on.
The city is working out a schedule so they can play nearby at DeWitt Clinton High School, but coaches said because those fields are already booked solid, many games will be on weekends, when players have other plans and fans from school will be virtually nonexistent.

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There is something VERY shady about the whole situation. As an alumnus of Bx Science, I can tell you that one of "Clinton's" fields (of the 3 that they have) has bleachers along the Bx. Science side and the gates to the field open up to where the Bx. Science locker rooms open to the exterior. Also, why exactly would Clinton need TWO baseball fields (or a softball field and a baseball field?).

I firmly believe that years ago some big money alum or Bd of Ed employee or SOMEONE pulled some shenanigans, and it's stayed that way ever since. A high school that (at least for a short period) was one of the worst in the city continues to bully one of the best high schools in nation, in effect stealing what rightly belongs to them.

Friday, March 23, 2012

As a 1985 graduate of Bronx Science and a former Bronx All Star softball player, I am saddened at the tremendous obstacles being presented to the players. Some of my happiest memories occurred on Harris Field during my softball days. These players have perserved for 3 years without a space of green to practice upon or call their own for a home game. It is shameful that the Parks dept, the PSAL cannot come up for a viable solution for these 2 schools. Lehman College has a field on it's campus,rent space from them? Coordinate with a local Little League. An alternative solution can be readily found, it sounds as though the powers that be don't care enough to look for one. With the mild winter that we had, a notification date of March 8th that Harris Field would not be ready is pure and simple neglect and incompetence.

Monday, March 26, 2012