We're getting ready to celebrate the San Francisco Giants' World Series victory with a confetti-drenched parade Wednesday, and we're still on a residual high from the Petaluma National Little Leaguers' run to "third in the world" status this summer at the Little League World Series. But now Novato has another reason to rejoice for the national pastime.
The Little League diamond at Olive Elementary School will receive a $20,000 makeover, starting as soon as Tuesday, as the result of a Novato man's victory in a national contest.
Don Stahl-Ricco, a U.S. Postal Service letter carrier in town, applied to the Chevrolet’s Diamonds & Dreams contest, a collaboration with Major League Baseball, and won a baseball diamond makeover for the field of his choice. He picked the Hamann Field on the city's east side.
"I believe it will be one of only 12 fields remade in the U.S. this year (through the contest), so I'm very happy that my town, Novato, is one of the recipients," Stahl-Ricco said. "... Baseball fever is high in this area and this can only help add to that."
Local coach Kevin Metcalf is to work with Steve Peeler, project manager for Sports Fields Inc., to coordinate the project. Peeler has led the construction of most Diamonds & Dreams' 25 renovations since the program was launched in 2010. Chevrolet, which has more than 1,800 dealers involved in the Chevrolet Youth Baseball program, has raised more than $13 million to support the game and youth players nationwide.
Stahl-Ricco, who played Little League and Babe Ruth ball while growing up in Novato, said he entered the contest as a way to contribute to his hometown. He'd like the field to be one of the premier fields in Marin County by the time a ribbon-cutting event is held next spring.
"I was given so much by coaches, team mothers and teammates, and I am glad I can give something back — even if I am a little past my playing prime," he said. "I am so honored to have won such a cool contest and that the prize can be used by so many. And I hope that in a few years, my daughter Georgia can run on Hamann Field, stretching a single into a double, a double into a triple, and a strong slide into home."
Would you like to thank Don Stahl-Ricco for applying to the contest and congratulate him for winning? Add a comment below.