A number of advocates of Crescenta Valley baseball appeared at the Glendale Unified School District board meeting on Tuesday to voice their opinions on the future of Stengel Field. Although the issue was not scheduled to be on the board’s agenda until Sept. 17, five members of the community presented their case during the public communication portion of the meeting.
There have been ongoing negotiations with the City of Glendale, Glendale City College, and GUSD over Stengel Field, and an agenda item concerning a memorandum of understanding is scheduled for the school board’s next meeting.
Dave Klein, who looked to represent the Crescenta Valley baseball community’s interest in the field, described the importance of Stengel Field to the area’s youngest athletes. He explained the area’s baseball experience as part of a child’s dream as they grow up, with the field central to eventually overcoming challenges and realizing those dreams.
He described the field as more than a place to go play a game, and that it played a significant role in the entire experience of a student athlete and his or her family.
While the field could hold a capacity crowd of 1,800, it can currently accommodate fewer than 100 because of the condemned rows of bleachers and multiple seats that are hindered by obstructed views.
Currently only the first two rows of seating can be used.
Klein conceded that some of the options for the field would require a significant financial undertaking, but he looked to update Stengel with replacement seating that was “something simple, modern and efficient.”
Joe Torres, the son of CVHS baseball coach Phil Torres, also took the podium at the meeting. The high school senior called the field his “second home” and expressed regret at its current state. In particular, he pointed to memories of the Stengel clubhouse, which has been shut down in recent years.
“I really loved that clubhouse because it was the source of some of my fondest memories,” he explained. “It was the hub of CV baseball and a great place to spend time with teammates and some of the closest friends I have ever made.
“Now we have had to dress in the parking lot and in public restrooms as we rush before our game,” Torres continued.
He described a stripped-down experience without adequate room for parents to watch student athletes play and complained that, without a clubhouse, the team was no longer able to keep their uniform and gear secure at the field.
Another speaker who appeared on behalf of CV baseball in support of Stengel Field was former player Trevor Bell, who currently plays for the AAA team Louisville Bats in the Cincinnati Reds’ farm system. The pitcher credited Stengel Field for helping build a love for baseball.
“Stengel Field, to me, is a place that not only creates dreams but is a place that makes them come true,” he said. “I know for a fact that, if not for this ballpark, I would not be where I am today.”
Bell, who was drafted by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and spent part of two seasons on their major league squad, told the board that he would have given up his entire career to see Stengel restored to the way it was when he played there.
“There are places and things that keep people happy and keep people motivated,” said Bell. “Stengel Field, for me, is one of those places.”