| Dennis Hackett
WESTFIELD – With the current scoreboard approaching 20 years of use, the Greater Westfield Babe Ruth League is teaming up with Westfield Gas and Electric to install a new scoreboard at Bullens Field and new dugouts at Yakim Field.
Dan Welch, the president of the Westfield Babe Ruth League, said the new scoreboard will be a big improvement over the current one.
“Because the old one is 20 years old, it needs constant repair on bulbs and it seems like you change them all and get them working, then a couple days later they’re out again so it’s getting tired. With the new LED lights, it would be much brighter and be able to be seen much better from the bleachers,” he said.
At the time of publication, Welch said the new scoreboard was set to arrive by Sept. 20 and installation would just take a few days.
“As soon as it is here, we’ll put the new one up. It should take three or four days, a day to take one down and a couple days to put the new one up,” he said.
Along with the new scoreboard at Bullens Field, Westfield Babe Ruth is also waiting on the final approval for new dugouts at Yakim Field as well.
“We’re just waiting for final plans to be approved at City Hall, which should be a formality based on our discussion with the building inspector. We’ve never had both our dugouts down there so it’s more protection for the players from the weather. So, it’s going to be an improvement for both sides of the field,” Welch said.
Once the project is approved, he said construction should only take a couple of weeks.
Welch said that the city has always been supportive of the league, including spending around $1 million on previous field renovations in 2016.
“Westfield is known as a baseball community, we have the regular season, the fall season, plus the high school sports and the Starfires, so it was a badly needed upgrade but it kept the character of the field, so they invested long-term in the field,” he said.
Welch added that all the improvements the city has approved are paid off every season.
“City council approved that request through the mayor for our world series in 2016 and now it’s just paying dividends every year for us and all the other teams that play there. And it helped get the Starfires to come to Westfield,” he said.
While no other major renovations are currently planned, Welch said he is already thinking of the future.
“We’re looking long range over the next five or ten years, but we’re doing our regular maintenance on the field as part of our commitment to use the fields,” he said.