Chicago Cubs help restore dilapidated baseball fields in West Englewood
CHICAGO - The Chicago Cubs are hitting the field in spring training in Arizona, but the team is also turning a park district field in Chicago into a new friendly confines for young baseball players
The baseball and softball diamonds at Lindblom Park in West Englewood were in sorry shape not that long ago.
"Conditions no kids should have to play on," said Lindblom Math and Science Academy baseball coach Matt Fidati.
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That's when Cubs Charities Diamond Project stepped in, completely refurbishing the fields and adding sorely needed amenities adding up to $300,000 in improvements.
Monday afternoon, that contribution will be recognized with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the fields, the first of 12 ribbon-cuttings planned for this spring and summer.
It's a big deal for the kids at Lindblom Math and Science Academy. Baseball and softball players from the school participate in the summer Cubs RBI league.
Coach Fidati said not having to worry about conditions on the field frees kids up "to play baseball and have fun."
"Yeah, just a few years ago, this was probably one of the worst fields in the whole city. We were consistently picking up glass and rocks and all different types of things. So what the Cubs have done for us is amazing. We are forever grateful," Fidati said.
Alderman Ray Lopez (15th Ward) said, "today the Chicago Cubs are making good on the effort to give West Englewood the best possible baseball diamonds that they can provide. And I know the community will reciprocate. The community will take care of it and treasure it. And I know most of all our children are gonna love it."
The ribbon-cutting ceremony takes place at 4 p.m. Monday. Directly afterward at 4:30 p.m., the kids get to play ball.
The first pitch will be thrown by 2016 LMSA graduate Tristan Hannah, a former Cubs RBI player who is now an Assistant Baseball Coach at LMSA and with the Cubs RBI All-Stars program.
Members of the Chicago Park District, Cubs Charities, neighborhood groups and city council members Ray Lopez and Stephanie Coleman, 16th Ward, will all take part in the celebration.