(Scotiabank Field at Nat Bailey Stadium - Vancouver, B.C.) - They say that these are the reasons that you get into a career in baseball. To have a platform where you can make a difference in someone's life.
Back when the Vancouver Canadians Baseball Foundation was still in its infancy, team president Andy Dunn stepped forward to a number of his staff and showed a field that catered specifically to the needs of children with physical and cognitive challenges. The playing surface was synthetic to help with the wheels of a wheelchair or walker, the dugout had no steps but had doorways that were wider and for the families -- well, now they had a field to call their own.
When Andy first sold the idea to the Canadians, no team in Canada had a dedicated field specifically allocated to Challenger Baseball which could have played a factor in the decision to put the pedal to the metal and make this dream a reality.
To build something of this ilk, you couldn't have been able to finance it alone. Not in Vancouver, not in the heart of Hillcrest's vibrant community -- or at least you would have thought. But it's amazing to see how a community can come together when the vision is clear and the benefactor are a group of children who simply needed someone to step up.
Donations began coming into the Vancouver Canadians Baseball Foundation from all across the Lower Mainland. Some from longtime fans, others chose to keep their significant donations private. Our partners from across the country also came together as suddenly the likes of Variety - The Children's Carity, Jays Care, Challenger Baseball and the Vancouver Board of Parks & Recreation all stepped forward and said we will help.
Not only did they help, the funded a majority of the project with Variety - The Children's Charity offering up an amount that put our fundraising efforts over the top. The Vancouver Park Board delivered on the space which was significant as these bright, young and inspiring children now get to play their summer baseball just steps away from historic Scotiabank Field at Nat Bailey Stadium. Now fans from both parks can trade roars when a big hit takes place a special moment is highlighted under the warm glow from the afternoon sun.
This was the vision all along. To bring give something to our community to say not only 'thank you', but that we 'believe in you'.
Andy's vision became our vision and our vision became yours.
We hope this summer before you enter the gates to our hallowed ballpark located at the base of majestic Queen Elizabeth Park that you take a few moments and go sit in the bleachers of what is now known as the Variety Challenger Baseball Field of Dreams. Watch these players play without challenge and understand in the blink of an eye why we made this promise to you.
They say that these are the reasons that you get into a career in baseball.
Yeah, this is definitely one of them.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.