America’s Pastime got two new homes in Brooklyn’s Backyard.
Ball players gathered in Prospect Park on Friday for the grand reopening of two baseball fields following their year-long renovation, and the new diamonds and dugouts are hit, according to the green space’s very own “Mr. Baseball.”
“People are seeing these fields, and they’re loving them,” said Eddie Albert, the president of the Prospect Park Baseball Association, who received his nickname from meadow honchos.
Improvements included axing the infields’ grassy parts, which developed hazardous ruts over time, according to Albert.
“They were in very poor shape,” he said.
Workers laid down new all-clay diamonds, which are easier to care for and more versatile, allowing the pitcher’s mound and bases to be adjusted to accommodate softball and baseball. Previously, players of the latter could only use three fields, and now there are five to choose from, according to Albert.
“That’s the big thing,” he said. “They’re going to be playing more games.”
Landscapers also built a low, grassy hill behind the two fields in Long Meadow, where spectators can watch games, according to Prospect Park Alliance spokeswoman Lucy Gardner.
And they added underground drainage pipes connected to Dog Beach — which was also renovated as part of the project — beneath the diamonds in order to prevent ponding that often made the old fields unusable in the spring, Albert said.
New backstops, shaded dugouts, and water fountains were also installed.
The park’s baseball association, which draws some 2,000 kids ages 4–17 each year, will utilize the fields when league play resumes next April. And other patrons can use them in the spring and summer after applying for a permit with the alliance, a private group that works with the city to maintain the meadow.
The advocacy group oversaw the $2.4-million project, which required the fields to close in April 2016, according to a Gardner. The work is part of a larger initiative to spruce up all seven of the green space’s ball fields, three of which are now complete. Repairs on two more fields should begin sometime next year, she said.