BY TROY DERENGOWSKI

When I came to Richmond for the first time in May of 1990, the very first place I visited was McBride Stadium. McBride came before the Tiernan Center, downtown, Glen Miller Park or any other venue. In fact, the sectional tournament was going on at the time. I could tell the old stadium was a special place to watch and play the game of baseball. There was an energy that was hard for me to describe, but I knew if I were to move to Richmond this was a place I wanted to call games.

You know the story by now. I moved to Richmond and 28 years later, a lot has changed and the spirit of McBride Stadium is dying…if not close to being dead.

No, this is not some over dramatic statement…it’s a fact!!!

No matter how you want to look at McBride, that stadium is on the brink of death. And there is a reason why. The City of Richmond and more importantly, Parks Superintendent, Denise Retz, don’t really seem to care about its future. Sure, we get plenty of lip service, but the condition of the stadium speaks volumes. Ms. Retz tells the public and the parks board that improvements are being made, but she isn’t fooling the baseball community or those that have visited McBride again this season.

We in the baseball community have been battling with the City of Richmond for way too long on McBride Stadium. I attended the Richmond-Seymour game Friday night and the ultimate revelation came from a Seymour coach who took the time to pick up trash before the first game of the Haustetter Classic. He told me “I care too much for this stadium to let this go”.  I wish city officials felt the same way.

I posted photos of the ballpark again Saturday on my Facebook page. It’s clear to see nothing has really changed. Tearing down the press box mid-season was another example of their inability to manage the stadium. The claims of an unsafe roof and press box have been going on for years. My question is, why didn’t the city replace the press box before now? And why were the media, scorekeepers and others allowed access to the press box all this time if it was so unsafe? And why didn’t you build a new one after the Jazz were finished last season? There was plenty of time. As I understand it, the Parks Board wasn’t even aware the press box was being removed.

It appears everything the parks department does with McBride Stadium is ass-backward. In fact, I checked out the parks department web site and they don’t even have a link for McBride completed. But, I guess I would expect that from people who don’t know or care about baseball.

It’s time for this community and those that have enjoyed baseball at McBride Stadium to make some noise and do it until Mayor Snow and Ms. Retz decide to do something….like give up the baseball business. It’s time for the baseball community to bombard them with calls, e-mails, texts etc. until we get their attention. Their lip service and apparent lack of “real” action is getting extremely old. If there is a plan for the grand old park, please tell us what it is and give us some timelines, so we can quit bugging you and even help.

On the City of Richmond web site, the section about Mayor Snow has this quote…. “One of his most passionate, and ambitious, goals during his time as Mayor is to give the citizens of our city the tools and encouragement to unlock their civic pride and showcase Richmond as a gem on Indiana’s map”.

Well Mr. Snow, now is your chance to prove it.

Don’t let them kill off McBride Stadium. Take action before they destroy the “spirit” even more!!!

# for Snow…983-7208… mayor@richmondindiana.gov

# for Retz….983-7275 or 983-7279….. Parks@richmondindiana.gov.