Trail’s Lou DeRosa is asking residents to support the Jason Bay Field at Butler Park project. Photo: Jim Bailey

Trail’s Lou DeRosa is asking residents to support the Jason Bay Field at Butler Park project. Photo: Jim Bailey

Fundraising resumes for Jason Bay Field

Trail’s Lou DeRosa would like to see new signage up with the reopening of the park in spring

With the World Series underway, there’s no better time to get Greater Trail baseball enthusiasts back on board the Jason Bay Field at Butler Park project.

Due to the pandemic, many city events, projects, and proposals, like Jason Bay Field, have been suspended or cancelled, so longtime Trail resident Lou DeRosa is looking to resume fundraising.

“It is a well deserved honour for Jason, and hopefully it will perhaps encourage younger players to achieve their dream,” said DeRosa.

The delay for the re-naming of the ballpark to Jason Field at Butler Park was further impacted by a major storm on Jan. 13, which took down trees and light standards at the park, requiring significant investment from the city for repairs.

“There’s construction going on soon for the new poles, new nettting, new lighting, so the city has asked us to hold off a little bit,” said DeRosa. “We were hoping to get the sign on the grandstand but we were told to hold off until the construction is done.”

Trail council approved the $1.64 M Butler Park lighting and netting replacement project and recently tendered the contract and approved the plan that construction will start this fall and be completed by opening season in the spring of 2022.

The project is estimated to cost $50,000 for the signage and anticipated work needed to add Jason Bay Field to the scoreboard and the grandstand. The city committed 60 per cent or $30,000, and asked that the committee raise the remaining 40 per cent or $20,000.

“Right now, today, we have just over 60 per cent raised,” said DeRosa. “So we’re pretty happy considering the circumstance and we are looking for more donations.”

DeRosa originally brought forth the proposal for the name change to council back in November 2019, when it received tentative approval. He would like to see the name change with the reopening of the park in spring.

The historic Butler Park was named after former Trail Mayor Sydney Butler in the 1920s, and also incorporates the aquatic centre and tennis and pickleball courts. As DeRosa points out, the grandstand is also called C.H. Wright Grandstand, which was dedicated by the City of Trail on May, 23, 1956.

“Butler Park is not just the baseball field,” DeRosa clarified. “We’re adding the name of Jason Bay to the baseball field, which is part of Butler Park.”

As a teacher at Crowe, DeRosa was heavily involved in sports and assisted coach Andy Bilesky in leading the 1982 Trail Little League team to the BC and Canadian Championship, and ultimately to the Little League World Series.

Bay played on Trail’s 1990 Canadian Little League championship team, attended Gonzaga State and was drafted by the Montreal Expos in the 22nd round in 2000. He went on to play 11 years in the majors with San Diego, Pittsburgh, Boston, New York Mets and Seattle with over 5,000 at bats, 1,200 hits and 222 home runs.

He was the National League Rookie of the Year in 2004, a three-time Tip O’Neil Award winner for top Canadian player, a 2009 Silver Slugger Award recipient and three All Star appearances. Bay was voted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in 2019.

“I’m just happy that we can add the name, to me, of the best baseball player to come out of Trail,” said DeRosa. “There’s no question about that. He’s in the Canadian Hall of Fame, so he’s one of the best Canadian Baseball players – Fergie Jenkins, Larry Walker, they are players that were very, very good and Jason is in that category.”

For more information or to donate contact DeRosa at luianddol@icloud.com or JasonBayFieldProject@gmail.com.

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