SYLMAR (CBSLA.com) — Joe Kirk, President of Save Our Sylmar Independent Baseball League, has watched a once-thriving children’s baseball league deteriorate into despair — and he’s seen quite enough.
Kirk is filing a lawsuit against the Sylmar Independent Baseball League (SIBL), for letting their baseball fields in Sylmar deteriorate into such a state of decay that they are now widely considered unsafe for children to play on.
“Can you imagine a little seven-year-old boy out here in right field coming up, and trying to pick up the baseball, and tripping, and there goes an ankle,” Kirk asked CBS2/KCAL9’s Adrianna Weingold.
Kirk says the SIBL, which opened back in 1957, used to be a gem for valley-children to come and play ball. Over the past five years, however, Kirk says the fields have degraded into a state in which even the boys restroom is unusable.
“Up here in the North East San Fernando Valley, these kids have nothing,” Kirk explained. “But they always had baseball.”
Kirk is not the only one troubled by the decline of the league’s fields, and some residents are wondering just what is happening with the league’s funds from players, families and donations.
“There’s a lot of money needed to run this (league),” nearly 30-year resident Jack Kelly. “It doesn’t seem like they put it back into the game.”
An attorney representing the board of directors for SIBL did not give any comments about the pending lawsuit.
In the meantime, Kirk’s lawsuit alleges “that as a result of gross mismanagement, the SIBL baseball fields have befallen into disrepair.” His goal, he says, is for the board of directors to step down, in order for a new group to come in and restore SIBL to what it used to be.
“It’s not fair for all the kids that have played here, in the past, some of whom have gone on to the major leagues, and the kids who want to play here now.”