Build it and they will come
The Enterprise –– Jordan J. Michael
Louis Armand Amedore is memorialized in the name of a new baseball field in Princetown, built by Rob Jasenski, right, who hangs the sign on the backstop with his son, Kyle, last Friday. The field is located just over the Guilderland town line off of Route 20, and started being built last April. The field is for the Belmont Elite, a travel team that Jasenski coaches. He hopes to build another field on the land that will be called Carver’s Park.
PRINCETOWN — Coaching youth baseball for more than 20 years, Rob Jasenski is a community-first type of guy. He wanted more kids to have an opportunity at playing competitive baseball, so he decided to build a field.
Jasenski, his family, and some helpful fathers have turned a hayfield into a ball field.
However, there’s much more work to be done on the land that is called Carver Park. The property, leased to Jasenski through a contract between Carver Sand and Gravel and Amedore Homes, is next to Route 20 in Princetown, which is just over the Guilderland town line.
Louis Amedore Memorial Field, named after Mark Amedore’s brother, who died from a four-wheeler accident 30 years ago, is a work in progress.
“We’ve put in a lot of back-breaking hours,” said Jasenski, who was weed-whacking the field last Friday. One of his three sons, Kyle, was mowing the outfield grass. “I can’t put a price on time,” he said, “but we’ve spent $18,000 on materials.”
The privately funded project has sponsors like Amedore Homes, Planet Fitness, AAC Family Wellness Center, and Polar Beverages. Jasenski, a property manager who owns 24 Subway sandwich shops, laid out the field in six different spots last April, trying to find the most level portion of the land.
“We brought in 30 truckloads of gravel, dirt, and stone,” said Jasenski, 46, of Rotterdam. “It cost $4,200 for the backstop fence, but we got a used fence for the outfield. Carver gave us a great deal on most of the stuff that we needed.”
Jasenski’s Belmont Elite team, made up of 11 players from ages 9 to 12, was able to play its first Eastern New York Travel Baseball League game on May 12. The team made it to the regional tournament.
The Belmont Elite players are from Princetown, Rotterdam, Schoharie, Middleburgh, and Duanesburg. In travel baseball, anyone in the surrounding area can play. There’s no jurisdiction as in Little League.
“Some of these towns only have Little League,” said Jasenski, who held tryouts this week for his fall team. “This is another place for competitive baseball.”
The team is named the Belmont Elite (www.belmontelite.com) because Jasenski originally wanted to build his field at Grout Park in Schenectady, the old home of Belmont Babe Ruth. Grout Park was rundown and vandalized, said Jasenski, so he wanted to bring it back to life.
The city of Schenectady told Jasenski that he could rent Grout Park for 30 years at a rate of one dollar per year. So, he staked out the park, made some drawings, and laid out a plan. After not hearing from the city for a while, Jasenski found out that the park was sold to a Guyanese cricket club.
“They refused to call me back,” said Jasenski. “Finally, I called the mayor, but it didn’t lead anywhere.”
Jasenski seemed a little bitter about the Grout Park ordeal, but he’s certain that Carver Park is the better option. “Carver made the offer,” he said. “These towns don’t have travel baseball, so now they do.”
The baseball field ended up in Princetown because Jasenski knew the Whiteleys, who live near Carver Sand and Gravel. The Whiteleys suggested that Jasenski talk to Carver about his land across Route 20.
“He said, ‘It’s cool; use what you want,’” Jasenski said of Carver. “This never would have happened without him or the other families that are involved.”
Jasenski can purchase Carver’s land in the future, he said.
“I want to build another field, and add a basketball court,” said Jasenski. “But, first, we need more dirt, some batting cages, two bullpens, a concession stand, and more fencing.”
Louis Amedore Memorial Field has a drainage system underneath and a gray gravel infield, which is unusual. Jasenski said that the gravel is easier to slide on, and there are no bad hops for the fielders.
Some would argue that bad hops are part of baseball.
“We did our own thing,” Jasenski said. “We’re so fortunate to be able to play on this field. The kids don’t realize how lucky they are.”
It may take a while for Carver Park to reach its full potential, but Jasenski has time.
“I’ve always loved baseball, and life should be just like it,” he said. “Slow and easy.”