Squeezed into only two rows of seats, many baseball fans brought their own chairs to Stengel Field or stood in the grandstand behind home plate under umbrellas on an unusually warm and sunny February day.
Banners along the outfield fences hung in rows of two for few to see with the lack of available seating. Crescenta Valley High School is responsible for the new advertisements and shares the field with the GCC baseball.
The bleachers and clubhouse were condemned by the city due to water damage in 2011. In September of last year, an agreement between the school district and the city sealed the fate of the clubhouse and bleachers.
Now the Glendale Unified School District has set up a new row of shiny aluminum bleachers along the third baseline on Stengel Field.
This is a temporary solution to support the crowds at games until the new bleachers are built.
The city granted permission to the school district to set up the bleachers, which will be moved during the demolition of the existing grandstands and new construction in the summer to be used at another facility.
An official agreement was written in September between the city of Glendale and the school district to construct temporary seats until the demolition.
A section of the old bleachers still approved for use in the interim, consists of two rows of seats located behind home plate and the dugouts. Those few seats could not support the number of fans expected at the games.
Richard Perez, a maintenance worker for the school district, has done building repair for 20 years.
“I think their main issue was the overflow of people and kids showing up and there was really no place to seat them,” Perez said.
Ed Kellogg, a Glendale resident, regularly attends games at the ballpark to watch his son, Vaqueros’ catcher Mitch Kellogg.
“They [the exisiting bleachers] take some of the fans out of the game,” Kellogg said.
Head coach Chris Cicuto had some of his players help out with the placement of the bleachers around the field.
“It’s our responsibility to make sure that place looks as good as possible,” Cicuto said.
The baseball team travels to many other fields that have the same conditions. Cicuto said that there wouldn’t be much of a difference with the new bleachers and it won’t affect the players safety. A 4-foot fence is the only barrier separating the fans and players on the grass.
Now that fans will sit along the third base line, there may be safety concerns. The fence, at exactly 4-feet-high. Blazing fast foul balls are common among baseball games. Two foul balls had already struck the bleachers during the game against East LA College on Feb. 25.
A new bullpen is under construction just behind the temporary bleachers and may present another safety issue. The school district has provided proper fencing for pitchers to get loose.
Glendale’s Community Parks and Services Director Jess Duran helped to oversee the project at Stengel Field.
“There is seating in the first two rows [of the existing seats],” said Duran. “People would prefer to sit there than in left field.”
Richard Carroll, another maintenance worker, works with Perez on the project to erect the new seating arrangement at the field.
“It’s probably a compromise between the city and school district. Is it perfect? Maybe not,” said Carroll. “This is the best solution at the time. It’s only temporary.”
Carroll said if the fence was any higher, fans would have a tough time watching any of the action.
Carroll said that he doesn’t think the new bleachers will solve the seating problem with only 90 new seats. Some games will draw more fans, especially when playing against neighboring schools such as PCC.