Updated: August 31, 2020 06:37 AM
Created: August 30, 2020 09:09 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The Gilbert P. Sanchez Baseball Complex in northeast Albuquerque has slowly become overwhelmed with litter and homelessness since the pandemic started back in March.
Josh Price, president of the Lobo Little League, said the pandemic forced them to cancel the season.
"It's the saddest thing ever,” he said.
"I've already put out a notice to my entire league that we've canceled for the season— or for the year,” he added.
State-mandated bans on gatherings meant no baseball for around 300 kids that would’ve played at Lobo Little League this summer. Since the nonprofit league was not collecting league dues, that left no money to pay a groundskeeper.
"We understand times are tight for everybody,” Price said.
It’s been up to Price, a small group of volunteers, and a handful of APD officers to chase off trespassers and prevent damage.
"Yea, somebody broke in and yeah, they're planning on walking away with my water heater, probably,” he said.
Price has dealt with troublemakers in the past, but he said it comes with the territory of having a lot tucked away by the interstate. In his mind, it’s not the homelessness that’s the issue.
"The idea that we can't get those drugs away from people—that's what really scares me about what is happening,” he said.
Price said it’s the people he chases out of his dugouts, who he said he’s sure are suffering from addictions, that remind him of why he’s out there in the first place.
"You get your kid in here with me for five or six years, they're not going to be doing these drugs. We're not going to be finding these needles, you know, ten, twenty years from now. We're going to combat this problem with our kids right now,” he said.
If the governor gives the green light, Price said he’s determined to bring back baseball next year.
"It's beautiful, man. I mean, this is like my favorite place on Earth. You know, when it's happening, there's nowhere better to be is just sitting here on the stands eating a hot dog watching kids play baseball,” he said.
Price said he's in the process of organizing a community effort to clean up the little league fields, a place that means so much to so many.
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