By Joyce Erekson
Greater Lynn Babe Ruth is no stranger to playing host to big tournaments. Last summer the New England regionals for 15-year-olds were held in Lynn and over the years, the league has been home to numerous district and state tournaments, both in baseball and softball.
So why not kick it up a notch, or two, and shoot for the World Series? Although no decision has been made yet, league officials are seriously looking into submitting a bid to hold the World Series in Lynn.
“It’s still in the beginning stages,” Babe Ruth president Jim Beliveau said. “We’re talking two or three years from now. It takes that long to get things going.”
Beliveau said (national) Babe Ruth had sent out an email saying they were looking for hosts and when Lynn expressed interest, the positive response, which was based on the job Lynn did with the regionals, was encouraging.
Beliveau said the biggest challenge will come in the fundraising. He said it costs more than $100,00 to host and that means bringing some big sponsors onboard.
“You have to find some big boys,” Beliveau said. “We know we’ll need corporate sponsorships.”
Greater Lynn Babe Ruth is no stranger to the World Series. Last summer the Lynn 15s played in the World Series in Williston, North Dakota.
“I didn’t go to North Dakota, but I know they (the teams) were treated very well,” Beliveau said.
If Lynn landed the World Series, the games would be played at Fraser Field, rather than at Bowzer Complex. That was the case this summer with the regionals and it worked out great, Beliveau said.
Beliveau said the fields at Bowzer would be used for practice space for the visiting teams. Other fields in the area, like World Series Park in Saugus, could also be included. Beliveau said the benefits of bringing the World Series to Lynn would be felt outside the city. There are hotels on Route 1 where teams could stay and there are plenty of places in Lynn and the surrounding communities where visitors could eat.
Beliveau said Lynn is also in a good location to do something like this because of its proximity to Boston, beaches, the mountains, and tourist attractions like Salem.
“We have everything here,” Beliveau said, adding that it’s’ necessary to have things for the players and their families to do when they’re not playing.
Right now it’s a small group of regulars, like Beliveau, Jeff Earp, Jim Hennessey, Leon Elwell, Dave Galeazzi and a few others who are laying the groundwork. Lynn will have to submit a welcome packet and if it does decide to bid and it gets accepted, the legion of volunteers will have to grow substantially.
“This is not a four or five-man crew job,” Beliveau said. “It’s a 50-60 man job.”
If Lynn does decide to go for it, the host league will get an automatic bid to the tournament. Beliveau said if the league pursues a bid, one of the first things it will have to do it put together a welcome packet to present. The discussions will continue when the board meets after the holidays.