Ahwatukee Foothills has long been a hotbed for youth baseball. Hundreds of young ball players hit the diamond every year for Ahwatukee Little League. Hundreds more play with the Ahwatukee Pony League during their seasons. And still, hundreds more play baseball year-round with what are called club or travel teams.
To a team, virtually all of these players must practice and play many or most of their games on fields, which at best are little more than four bases, thrown onto a dirt field. They all love the game, so basically, they tolerate the less-than-desirable playing conditions. Yet of course, for those who play club/travel ball, they actually get to play on decent fields, although in virtually every case, that is only because they do indeed “travel,” either to Peoria or Gilbert, which currently offer the only facilities capable of hosting a tournament in the entire Valley, and which have nice enough fields to actually be called baseball fields.
As it currently exist, and as unbelievable as this may sound, there is currently no facility within the city of Phoenix capable of hosting a youth baseball tournament. Very sad, but very true.
Almost every weekend, hundreds of players fly in from all over the country to participate in a youth baseball tournament here in the Valley. None of them, I repeat, none of them ever play a single game in the city of Phoenix. They fly into Sky Harbor Airport, their parents then rent a car, and they drive to either Peoria or Gilbert for their tournament. A city of more than 2 million people, and we cannot host a youth baseball tournament.
An effort is under way to change all that. The ABC Project (Ahwatukee Baseball Complex) is hoping to build a “state-of-the-art” youth baseball facility, right here in Ahwatukee. When completed, this facility will not only provide our local teams with a decent place to practice and play games, but then, for the first time ever, Phoenix will actually be able to host a youth baseball tournament, and again, right here in Ahwatukee.
For more information and to show your support for this very worthwhile project, you are invited to visit the ABC website at http://ahwatukeebaseballcomplex.webs.com/ or call me at (480) 528-8348.
Our young ball players deserve a better place to play “America’s Greatest Game,” and it’s time Phoenix added its name to list of cities that can host a youth baseball tournament.
• Ron Passmore is committee chairman of the ABC Project (Ahwatukee Baseball Complex). He has lived in Ahwatukee for nearly 20 years and has been active in youth baseball for the past 10 years. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or view the plan at http://www.myplanphx.com/shaping-phoenix-s-future/ahwatukee-baseball-complex-abc-project.