Salem Little League Softball and Baseball

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Sent via email to all Farm, Minor and Major Baseball parents on 5/31/19

Good afternoon,

We wanted to provide an update surrounding make up games, and O'Grady field, which will mainly effect our major baseball division but may affect other baseball divisions as well, so all divisions are copied.  It's a bit long, but wanted to make sure everyone understood the situations and variables and wanted to be transparent.

First- a back story- In the past 3 years, our recent baseball graduates (now 13 yrs old) made deep runs each year as 10s, 11s and 12s, representing Salem in the District tournament, and those deep runs representing Salem so well delayed the rest of our normal season.  At the same time, we heard your voices about getting the season and playoffs done in a faster and earlier manner, particularly in major baseball where the whole season has to pause for the District tournament.   We realize this is no longer the 80s and 90s where people didn't go far for the summer and loved youth baseball going through the summer up until Labor Day.  

With O'Grady field closed last year, this was impossible, but with the return of O'Grady field this year, we attempted and expected to achieve that goal.  We started major baseball a week earlier than our parade, and expected to get the regular season done by June 6, and most if not the entire playoff schedule done before the district tournament starts. At that point, any leagues whose seasons are not completed, are required to stop play until their entries in the tournament finish their run.    In turn, we had preliminary discussions on offering summer baseball for those who would want to play a “second season” if they were sticking around in Salem.  

Unfortunately, as you know, this Spring has been awful from a weather standpoint.  You all have lived it, but I saw a stat today that blew my mind a bit- between April and May 29, there were 59 days, and we had rain on 44 of them, that is 75% of the days.  In fact, the best stretch of weather we had was Memorial Day weekend when nobody had enough players around to field a team and do some makeups.   All we can promise at this point is that we will go as far as we can up until the tournament (about a week prior to the first tournament games), and give it a shot of getting done earlier again next year.

To complicate matters, there is an issue at O'Grady that needs to be addressed.  Before we go into that, we appreciate the kind words we have received about the look of the new O'Grady field.   We hope with proper maintenance and care; it will be a field of pride in our league for decades to come. 

With all the rain in mid-April, we weren’t sure if the field not drying quickly was just a matter of the amount of wet days and a high water table, or something else.     We did some digging and found the drainage system under the field does work; as long as the water gets to the drains.   There lies the problem- it was discovered a few weeks ago that the infield dirt is 100% clay- which turns into a play-dough like substance when wet, and just like play-dough, the clay turns hard as concrete when it dries out.   Clay also doesn't let the water pass through, so it remains in and on top of the clay.   Multiple meetings and calls were held with various folks since the discovery.

We appreciate the city stepping in and requesting the contractor come back, dig out the clay, and replace the clay with the proper material, and to be honest, the contractor was also more than receptive, and both the contractor and city have been good partners through all of this.   This work needs to be done, or anytime it rains even a little bit, the field will be soggy and unplayable for days.   We have been told the contractor will be back at some point next week, and it will take 3 or so days to complete.   Once we know the exact dates, the games will be moved to other appropriate size fields for the age groups involved, which may involve date changes as well.   It is not as simple as moving major baseball to another park, as we have agreements with the city that the older groups will only play at certain field, so they can't hit foul balls off houses across from Furlong Park or home runs into back yards in right field at Splaine, etc.  To get the season done as fast as we can, some games will be relocated to O'Leary Field at Witchcraft Elementary, and some at Mack Park under the lights with the portable mound.

We are determined to get this fixed, and to make sure our 12 year olds get to play their final little league games on the new field.   Last years' 12 year olds never got that chance, and we are making sure that doesn’t happen again this year. 

Coaches will be in touch with schedule changes as soon as we know of a timeline.  

We appreciate your patience as we deal with the terrible weather this spring, and the “bug” being worked out at O'Grady.

Have a good weekend-weather looks good again!

The Salem LL Board

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Salem Little League - Salem, MA

Salem Little League, PO Box 623
Salem, Massachusetts 01970

Phone: 978-743-6070

Email: [email protected]

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