The needler in the haystack.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Mapp squeeze play breaks baseball deadlock

Hmmm... How about Plan B?

Plainfield Mayor Adrian O. Mapp's announcement (see here) that the city would make its ballfields available to private organizations that put together youth baseball leagues -- but would not kick in city cash -- evidently came as a surprise to Faye Clark and the Rev. Jason Greer, organizers of the Negro League.

Both were given time by Council President Bridget Rivers on Monday evening to -- once again -- ask the taxpayers to bankroll their league.

While in previous appearances Greer brought a crowd and thundered menacingly, last night there was no claque and Greer confessed their group was not prepared to venture forth on its own at this time. Evidently having no "Plan B", Greer asked for another year in which to get ready instead.

Acting Director of Public Works & Urban Development Eric Watson reported to the Council that though he and Recreation Superintendent Veronica Taylor had met with Greer's supporters over that past several months, they were implacable and no agreement could be reached.

Some evidence of that could be seen in the presentation made by Faye Clark in support of the Negro League.

Evidently not grasping that Mayor Mapp had changed the dynamics of the situation completely, she rehashed her previous performance at the Council, accusing the Queen City Baseball League of misappropriating funds, insisting that the 'joint' 2014 season had been imposed on them unfairly, and pleading for city funding for another year.

Greer initially said that a season would require "$30,000 for uniforms, equipment and umpires" and another $7,000 for the concession stand. After one of his own supporters got up and gave figures that TOTALLED less than $7,000 for a season, Greer later amended his plea to a lowered figure of $15,000.

City Administrator Rick Smiley flatly said that there was no money available, nor would there be going forward.

Saying she didn't want to see the matter coming before the Council again, Council President Rivers nevertheless urged everyone to sit down again and try to thrash things out.

Meanwhile, the Queen City Baseball League is ready to proceed with the 2015 season -- without any financial assistance from the city -- and began enrolling participants online (see here) yesterday. The QCBL Facebook page is also active and frequently updated (see here).

Looks to me like the 2015 season is getting under way, with or without Rev. Greer's Negro League.

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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