Butler Park will be without lights, but not without a baseball season this summer for Trail Youth Baseball. Photo: Jim Bailey.

Butler Park will be without lights, but not without a baseball season this summer for Trail Youth Baseball. Photo: Jim Bailey.

Play Ball! Butler Park opening for league play

City council gives approval and guidance for Trail Youth Baseball season

The lights may be out, but the Trail Youth Baseball League (TYB) will be back in action at Butler Park this summer.

After talks with TYB president Jim Maniago, Trail City Council announced its intent to open the park for the baseball league this spring at its Feb. 22 Governance and Operations Committee meeting.

“We’re really happy with how things have turned out,” said Maniago. “We’re able to play this year and the kids shouldn’t notice much difference aside from whatever COVID protocols we’re playing under.

“Council was incredibly supportive of our requests and we are all very thankful for that.”

The upcoming baseball season came into question after a windstorm ripped through Trail causing damage to the the park that took down large trees, one of the 80-foot light poles and netting on Jan. 13. The remaining poles were inspected and deemed unsafe, and an immediate removal was tasked.

“Although the poles were in rough shape, we didn’t realize how rough a shape they were in so obviously we had to take them down for public safety,” said Trail Coun. Sandy Santori. “We couldn’t get the nets up in time, but the city will go ahead with new lights in the fall.”

The city along with TYB worked together to establish guidelines moving forward to avoid liability issues from balls leaving the park. The city also approved a $5,000 grant for Trail Youth Baseball to purchase a batting tunnel to keep balls in the park. The expense is to be funded by surplus money from the 2021 Capital Budget for the removal of poles and lights that was previously approved.

“We’ve been working with the staff to come up with a plan for this year and beyond,” said Maniago. “If all goes well we’re hoping to have new lights up for next season but that’s all still in the planning stages.”

Until new netting is installed in the park, city staff will take precautionary measures to warn East Trail residents when baseball is in play.

“We’re going to put up signage on Thom St. and advise residents at the beginning of the year to let them know that ball season is starting and there are no nets, asking people to park in a different place, and before baseball will go out and post signs advising them that it is game day,” explained Santori. “So there may be balls leaving the park, but I think we can mitigate that with proper signage and the batting cage.”

Trail Youth Baseball historically runs a 13U and Junior league for players 13-19 years of age, as well as 13U, 16U, and 19U All-Star teams that have historically competed in the Washington State American Legion Baseball League.

In October, due to the U.S.-Canada border closure, TYB announced that the 19U All Star team will join the BC Minor Baseball Association’s College Prep League this season.

Maniago hopes to start up in April, weather permitting, and while TYB won’t be playing under the lights, just playing is good enough for this year.

”We are hopeful to get on the field in some way in April and I’ve been told that we can expect to have a baseball season for the kids. If we can even get to where we left off last fall that would be great and it sounds like that is expected.”

Read: Lights out at Butler Park but it’s not game over just yet