East Selma won’t have baseball this summer

Published 10:39 pm Sunday, July 27, 2008

Construction is underway at the east Selma baseball fields, but the East Selma Baseball League has been scrapped for 2008.

According to Robert Crumb Jr., president of the Take Back Selma Coalition, the league’s projected start date was July 7. The original plan called for 10 teams, but enough people signed up for 12.

The field and facilities still have a long way to go before they are ready for children, though.

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“We did not want to have a fall league this year, unless it was going to be done right,” said Michael Johnson, vice president of the East Selma Baseball Association.

The fence is still dilapidated. The dirt is hard and filled with rocks. Restrooms are absent, and the worn wooden bleachers appear unsafe.

“I think because of safety reasons, the public will understand,” said Darryl Brantley, treasurer of the East Selma Baseball Association. “We don’t want to get the kids out here and have them get hurt.”

Several kids signed up for the league, but had to be turned away this year.

“Kids want to be here and they want to play,” said Brantley. “But from a parent’s standpoint, safety first.”

Progress is visible, but a long road lies ahead. A press box foundation and dugout skeletons are visible.

Dugouts are a luxury former east Selma players did not have. Teams sat on benches down each foul line, but nothing separated them from line drives and fouls.

“We didn’t have any protection at all,” said Johnson. “If a foul ball came our way, we’d have to duck.”

Although the league will not begin this year, east Selma will have its first taste of baseball in years. A reunion of east Selma baseball players will be held Aug. 9. Festivities include a baseball and softball game for veterans, and baseball games for kids.

“We want everybody that played ball to come back out here,” said Johnson. “This is for them.”