As Kids Inc. continues to conjure up funds to build out the Rockrose sports complex, the current fields of Amarillo still continue to host events and games.

Unfortunately, many of the city sports facilities are in MAJOR need of an upgrade.

Playing every week on the baseball fields around the city, I can rattle off several things that need improvement. There are potholes in the outfield of several fields that are causing injuries as kids go all out chasing down a ball. The fields are relatively uneven and almost have an uphill or downhill slope to them, causing the baseball to do some funny things.

The lights at the fields are outdated and create a lot of lost balls in the air. Just last week in one of my son's games, our center fielder had a perfect beat on the ball, moved right to it, then felt it bounce off the tip of his glove and smack him in the head. Reason? He lost it in the lights. Fluorescent lighting at a baseball will cause that almost every time.

Well, big kudos to the city as they have recently said they're going to invest over $7 million to install new lighting systems at the parks around town. There are several factors that went into their thinking when approving these funds.

It will help promote more night games as some of the lighting systems just don't produce enough light. It'll get rid of the wooden poles that are currently erected, which can be a safety hazard in a place with so much wind. Those poles can snap with a strong enough gust of wind.

They'll be replacing these lighting systems with new LED lighting systems which will not only make it safer but save on energy costs and maintenance.

Jerry Danforth, Director of Facilities and Capitol Projects for the city said the new lighting system will be almost identical to the system used at HODGETOWN, and that will be VERY welcoming news to the baseball and softball players out there.

Danforth said, “We’re going to have up lighting so that when somebody hits a high fly ball, it doesn’t disappear in the lights because the lights will light the baseballs from the bottom and from the top,” and I can tell you as a baseball player myself, there's nothing worse than losing a ball in the lights.

Kudos City of Amarillo, thank you for upgrading the facilities!

Josh Jung and the Frisco RoughRiders play in Amarillo at HODGETOWN

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