By John Bombatch
DAYTON — As dignitaries from Major League Baseball, the Cincinnati Reds and the City of Dayton spoke during Wednesday’s Howell All-Star Field dedication ceremony at Triangle Park, the Carroll middle school summer baseball team looked on from behind a throng of several hundred guests.
The team and their uniforms did catch the eye of at least one dignitary at the podium.
“I do have to mention that, as a Carroll grad, I’m especially happy to see the youth from Carroll wearing the same style ball caps that I used to wear too long ago,” Dayton City Commissioner Matt Joseph said.
Carroll was to play another area team in what would’ve been the first game on the renovated Howell Field baseball complex, but rain cancelled the game.
According to the Reds, Howell All-Star Field will host several local youth baseball programs, and it will also be the home field for Chaminade Julienne High School. Carroll is in the same Greater Catholic League as CJ.
Joseph said he played baseball at Carroll for a couple years, and even enjoyed a few games on Howell Field as a kid. So Wednesday’s dedication ceremony was extra special for him.
“It turns out that I had a better arm for politics than I did for baseball,” Joseph said. “Just the fact to know that I played here, and to know that more kids my age are going to have the chance to play on this field, that’s pretty nice. To know the history of this field — one of the best fields in Dayton — it’s really neat, and it’s terrific that Major League Baseball and the Cincinnati Reds were able to give these kids that opportunity.”
Tony Quatman, Carroll’s coach of the middle school program, said he and his players were very proud to be a part of the dedication ceremony. He recalled playing on the field when he was in high school and said it is vastly improved, thanks to the Reds and MLB.
“It’s a lot better than when it started. It looks great now. The Reds did a great job with this,” Quatman said. “It’s really an honor for us to be here and to be a part of the dedication ceremony.”
Outfield fencing was provided by Bellbrook Fence, a company that originated in Bellbrook that now makes its home in Kettering. The field was re-graded, a new scoreboard will be added, bleachers were restored with new benches, pressbox and concession areas were updated and an access path for fans with disabilities was also installed at Howell Field.
With Cincinnati Reds mascots Gapper and Mr. Red looking on, Reds CEO Phil Castellini, former All-Star Reds pitcher Tom Browning and MLB Vice President of Community Affairs Tom Brasuell were among the dignitaries who spoke at the event. Mike Hartsock emceed the event, which included a special pressbox dedication to longtime Dayton sportswriter Hal McCoy.
According to Brasuell, Major League Baseball has donated more than $70 million to local projects and national initiatives as part of the All-Star Game since 1997. He said the Howell All-Star Field dedication was the first of several projects MLB will be unveiling this week, as $5 Million has been dedicated to improving area facilities in the Greater Cincinnati area.
Grande out of MLB All-Star concert, Demi Lovato stepping in
NEW YORK (AP) — Ariana Grande has pulled out of the MLB All-Star Concert because of her wisdom teeth and Demi Lovato is stepping in.
Grande’s representative said Wednesday the singer would not perform Saturday at the Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati, because she had some of her wisdom teeth removed Monday.
A representative for Lovato confirmed that she would perform Saturday instead.
The free concert during the 2015 MLB All-Star Week will also include pop-rock band Rixton, best known for the hit “Me and My Broken Heart.” The 86th MLB All-Star Game will air July 14 on Fox from the Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati.
Lovato released a new single, “Cool for the Summer,” last week.
John Bombatch can be reached at 937-372-4444, Ext. 2123.