Which do you think has a better chance of succeeding, an indoor baseball facility at A.B. Sawyer Park in Lyndon,
An indoor football team at Freedom Hall, a team that will have to charge more for tickets than the outrageous $8 parking fee just to enter the Fairgrounds?
The Lyndon Recreation Association, of which I can proudly say that I was one of the founders, is dear to my heart. I coached there for 20 years, going back to the days when the only place kids had to play was the playground at the old Lyndon Elementary School. There was room for just one adult softball field.
But the one big field was used at one time for:
Four tee-ball games for ages 5,6 and 7.
Three softball games for boys and girls 8-10.
One or two fields for boys and girls 11-12.
One field for adult softball and teenagers.
The Lyndon area was exploding when my kids were ready to start playing. There was no other place where fields could be built except…
Ormsby Village, a public school for troubled teenagers, had been closed, which left several acres of county-owned land.
All of us knew that we would have to fight off politicians to keep all of our land for kids’ fields. Sure enough, we would lose a baseball field when a building was allowed to be built. But I am getting ahead of myself.
Vettiner and Ruby
Charlie Vettiner, head of Jefferson County parks, was a close friend of my boss at The Courier-Journal, sports editor Earl Ruby. Earl lived close (on Shelbyville Road) and he knew how the area was growing. He agreed to talk Vettiner into letting Lyndon Recreation build fields on the Ormsby Village acreage. Perk Bramlett was our leader, and what a worker he was! He saw that nine fields were built. Everything was done by volunteers. My friend Tony Craver and I painted the entire concession stand one weekend. Many others volunteered to do what was needed, including laying out fields. I think we had nine softball fields, three baseball diamonds and oodles of tee-ball fields.
Many years later, like a dummy I was talked into running for Jefferson County Commissioner with my sole desire to keep the land that we had. The only Lyndon employee told me that the program president couldn’t help me because he was supporting another candidate. I was told that the other candidate would build diamonds in an adjacent area. I told him that there were wet-weather springs on the property and it was not suitable for athletic fields.
Almost 6,000 voters supported me but a professional politician was elected.
Fine with me. But do you know that the land was deemed too wet for any use!
I learned my lesson. You can’t trust a politician.
As for an indoor baseball facility, where in this day and time will the money come from?
About Indoor Team…
If there is anything that this community does not need or want, it is an indoor football team. I will give it two chances, slim and none. The Fairgrounds should require paid-in-advance rent and that the team have insurance that will pay for injuries and destruction of Freedom Hall facilities.
I’ve been through two other indoor experiments. Neither worked. There are more NFL games on TV which can be viewed for free. UofL football will continue to increase its popularity. Louisville is and always will be a high school football town.
I noticed that Karl Schmitt of the Louisville Sports Commission was at the press conference where the indoor team was announced. Karl is smart, plenty smart enough to know that this is a pipe dream. Let’s pass this one by.
I do have one funny story when Dom Fucci was coaching an indoor team here, but I can’t tell it in a family newspaper. Dom didn’t do anything wrong; it was the way a prospect thought the coach’s name was pronounced.
Category: Earl Cox on Sports
About the Author (Author Profile)
Earl Cox, Sports Columnist
Earl doesn¹t just write about sports legends, he counts many of them as his
friends. A member of the Kentucky Athletic Hall of Fame, he has been writing
about sports for 60 years. Incidentally, that¹s about how long it’s been
since he¹s cleaned his desk but he knows where everything is.