Shawn Harper and Chuck Bowen approached the Plymouth Park Board this week seeking approval to rent Nixon Field to run a semi-pro baseball team for high school seniors and college students during the summer.
Harper started the Mishawaka Brewers in 2004 and has run a program in the South Bend Park Department. He said the park system isn’t taking proper care of the fields and they are looking for a location to rebrand the team that would be part of the National Amateur Baseball Federation.
They told park board members they plan to play 30 games in a season that would begin on Memorial Day and run through the second week of August. They typically play one night during the week and a double hitter on Saturday and or Sunday.
The pair said they are willing to pay fees to use the Nixon field and have the players on the roster. They will carry liability insurance and are willing to assist with the care of the field. They called Nixon Field the Crown Jewel of Plymouth.
Park Board member Laura Mann said while Nixon Field is the park department’s, the equipment such as the striper, sound system and concession stand equipment are the schools.
Park superintendent Mike Hite said PHS Athletic Director Michael Delp, Principal Jim Condon and Baseball Coach Ryan Wolf are not interested in the league. Hite said Coach Wolf wants to start a U14 and U15 team this summer.
Harper said they are willing to work around the school’s schedule.
Park Board President Dave Morrow said, “I love baseball but Coach Wolf, the PHS baseball coach, plans to introduce a program next summer with his high school kids.” He continued, “If the school isn’t on board, I don’t believe I could be on board.”
Superintendent Hite said Michael Delp told him he doesn’t want to put his equipment at risk.”
Harper and Bowen asked the park board to give them a chance. They said they are willing to jump through hoops to be able to use the field and understand that Coach Wolf would have first option on dates. The pair said they are willing to pay the price they set with the conditions and rules they set.
Park board members did not take any action on the request. It seems the park board wanted to see if there was any interest and support for such a program.
Harper and Bowen said they will continue to seek support for the program and plan to attend another Plymouth Park Board meeting with more details.
Harper said, “This will happen, we hope it will be here in Plymouth but if it’s not, we will play somewhere.”