San Jose’s South Bay Sports Training Gets Help From Its Landlord To Build Temporary Outdoor Diamond That Got Its Baseball, Softball Athletes Through The Shutdowns •
For more than 14 years, the South Bay Sports Training center in San Jose has been a vibrant hub for baseball and softball players of all skill levels attempting to improve their games.
That was not the case in 2020.
As an indoor facility located in one of the Bay Area’s strictest counties, the COVID-forced shutdowns during both the spring and late fall were especially difficult for SBST. By November, the management team that included co-owners Tony Sanguinetti and Adam Varteressian along with general manager Ben Sanguinetti knew something had to be done to help their kids.
“Our junior high levels had been on a field just once between February and November,” Ben Sanguinetti said. “They had no field work and were just getting more and more behind. I don’t know how many people understand how difficult it is for anyone playing sports — especially kids — to not be able to play or work out.”
So a brainstorming session commenced.
“Instead of sitting back and making excuses on what is going wrong and what we can’t do, we made a specific effort to figure out what we CAN do,” Ben Sanguinetti said.
Whatever that solution was, it needed to be outdoors. Public fields were still not an option due to various city and county guidelines. But what if they could find their own outdoor space? What if that space was right behind their current building? As a matter of fact…
An empty lot behind their building just happened to be owned by the same company that owned the same building that houses South Bay Sports Training. The SBST management attacked the idea like a fastball right down the middle.
First Community Housing intends to erect apartments there before the end of 2021, but it gave a thumbs up to South Bay Sports to build a temporary field for use through September.
The entire SBST community mobilized to build its own Field of Dreams.
“It started with just our core group,” Ben Sanguinetti said. “ We called in some favors from some people we knew who were landscapers, but the biggest factor was that our players and their families all helped out. … That was the biggest thing that really helped us execute it quicker.”
The field which is close to the size of a high school diamond, took the group about 60 days to complete. The group began the process in late November and had kids practicing on it by January. The field isn’t quite big enough to host live games, but South Bay Sports’ teams and players can use it for just about anything else.
As California’s coronavirus outlook continues to improve, Santa Clara County has moved into the Orange Tier. South Bay Sports Training has been able to use more of its indoor facilty, but Sanguinetti said they are keeping capacity at minimal levels to use extreme caution. Having the temporary outdoor space will help them in that endeavor.
“We knew the field would be temporary, but so would COVID,” the general manager said.
SBST built the field at most its own cost, but turned to its community for help as well. It showed up for that too. A GoFundMe page dedicated to helping finance the field has achieved nearly all of its initial $25,000 goal. However, the group is still attempting to raise money as costs have exceeded original projections. Those interested can still help, by clicking the link.
“I’m not sure it’s said enough that one of the saddest things during this pandemic is the damage it’s done to our youth,” Ben Sanguinetti said. “It felt good to see so many people come together to help find a solution for some of those kids.”