Springfield’s Deep Baseball Partnership Leaves Softball With Crumbs To Work With

Springfield — Last year, Springfield Public Schools (SPP) partnered with Bushnell University on a $3 million investment to provide a renovated, upgraded facility for both of their baseball programs. The Millers baseball team plays primarily on the complex’s non-turf field, while Bushnell gets priority on the adjacent 2,000 seat stadium located next to it, a reasonable arrangement for such a colossal project and partnership. However, back at the high school, the girls are left with crumbs and bare bone basics to sit in the shadows with as their male counterparts receive the royal treatment over at Hamlin Middle School.

Inside the newly renovated baseball facility, you will find splendid professional style dugouts, a massive seating area, shiny new bullpens, and just about everything you can ask for with a baseball program: Hitting cage, field tarp, quality maintenance equipment, not to mention the beautiful outfield scenery that is complete with landscaping, personalizes scoreboard, and stadium lights. Outside of being a full turf field, it is just about perfect for any baseball program to want to play in. As an added bonus, the field is less than a mile from the high school, making it an easy trip for practice and games.

View of Springfield’s renovated baseball field

Take a trip down Centennial Blvd and turn onto 10th street, and you will find the home of Springfield softball located across from their football stadium. When you walk up to the field, it not only pales in comparison to baseball, but it looks like a complete slap in the face to their softball program. You will find a field that looks like maintenance hasn’t touched since the end of the season, an outfield grass that is slowly dying even with our plentiful spring of rain, wood dugouts that provide the bare basics of gameday storage, and a rusty trio of seating arrangements around the backstop. To top it off, their “concessions” consists of what resembles a lemonade stand in my neighbor’s front yard. Unlike baseball, there are no bullpens, tarp, professionally designed dugouts, no hint of any level of investment or care from a district that helped sink millions into their peer’s baseball program.

It is worth noting that softball and baseball both have turf facilities as backups in rainy conditions, but they don’t serve as their primary facilities, thus they aren’t the primary factors to be brought up in a Title IX consideration. There aren’t any major differences in the success of the programs: Both of them struggle and have faced uphill battles to finding success. Even a remote argument that SPP could try and pull of rewarding a successful program doesn’t hold merit, and it makes a neutral observer wonder if the district ever considered Title IX ramifications. This situation is one of the more blatant examples of discrimination, a surely slam dunk Title IX complaint to succeed with. However, the fact that SPP managed to get to this point doesn’t lessen the sting of the situation any less, even in equity is managed to be achieved in the end game.

8 Comments

  1. As a parent of a student who played varsity at SHS for almost for years, thank you for this article. The team, parent and coaches were the ones to maintain that varsity field and the beginning of every season. That lemonade stand of a concession has been used for field equipment for more years than it was a concession. Their “batting cages” were a netted area upstairs in the gym that was shared by wrestling for practices while the boys baseball team had a building at Hamlin and wouldn’t share with softball when the softball lost the area to wrestling. The team fundraiser for 3 years just to enough money to have an actual fence put in the outfield by my daughters senior year. Another parent had to fight the district to get them to put it in. Somehow our AD managed to get a scoreboard as well. The district fights against any upgrades we tried to get. The parking lot which is minimal at best was riddled with pot holes and was used by softball, and willamalane parks. Street parking was usually the best option. I appreciate you bringing light to the discrimination between baseball and softball in SSD.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. In this article i hear you when you are upset about the conditions for your softball players. I agree they need something nice to play on! As a SHS parent of a student athlete i would request that we all get together and help eachother out. For example. I hear bashing of baseball program. Granted on the surface it looks as though baseball is set up with a nice new 6 million plus complex at Hamlin. But dig a little and you will find that SHS players are not aloud amywhere near the complex when the drifters are scheduled and it is quite aggravating to be told this is our home field but we have no right to be there…this deal between spfd. Schools the bushnell team and the drifters has put our kids without a field to practice on no access to cages or restrooms or concessions for that matter. Everything you see at hamlin complex is for bushnel and the drifters. Nice complex but no good if we cant use it. We are not only without a field to play on but it has now cost us our coach who put his heart and soul into these kids having a successful program. He stood up for our baseball program and wanted to know why we cant play in our home field And why the field is locked and now he is being replaced by a person who wants for the drifters and bushnell not for what our kids need. So please look into some facts and get involved if you care about our kids come to schoolboard meetings and ask questions of the schools Chief of Operations. Lets work together to get our kids first not the few higher ups who are getting paid to squander our kids’s dreams. Signed:
    Concerned Parent of
    SHS Baseball

    Like

    1. That sounds like an issue that the baseball program needs to work out with the District, as they were blessed with a major million-dollar investment from SPS. The softball program has been left with no level of investment from the District, which is resulted in violations of federal laws on gender discrimination, which is something I intend on holding them accountable for. I don’t live in Eugene or Lane County, I’m just an advocate for girls in Oregon and I can make things happen for them, which is what I’m intending on doing in this situation. Were there any objections from baseball when they got their upgraded facility about softball still playing on their bare bone field? Likely not.

      Like

      1. Eric, I am impressed by the level of intrest you hold for our women in Oregon..
        With regaurd to your reply, I can agree with you when you say it is with the district whom we need to bring up concerns resulting in Springfield Millers Baseball not having a home field. Along with the baseball issue comes track, football, and softball, soccer all programs are afected so negativly by the ones who are the decision makers… This is why i am getting involved. So better decisions can be made, up until a few weeks ago i was un involved. Then i learned about a privet party who has corupt the decision makers making bad choices for our kids. And to answer your last question/attack to tear down this baseball program: I would have to say we knew nothing about any of the upgrades happening as covid left us in the dark. But to directly address you advocating for this group of softball student players/athletes i commend you and wish you well for your efforts. Please continue to advocate but please do it without the negativity toward the baseball program unless that is the only thing you have to go on. (which i believe is not the case). Again I think we are after a common goal – better conditions for our KIDS. Lets work together to get there.

        Like

      2. I respect your POV, but I disagree with working together or asking the softball program to work with baseball. As for the other sports, it sounds like they have a mess to deal with in their corner as well, but that isn’t of concern for me at the moment. This particular situation hits home and is personal for me, and I will exercise everything in my influence and power to make sure the softball program receives equity and justice. It isn’t anything personal to the baseball team, I don’t know any athletes or parents from the team, but there will be uncomfortable moments for the baseball program during this process that might rub some of them the wrong way. Even there isn’t “permanent” access to the complex, there are plenty of areas to practice on in Eugene/Springfield, while having the reliability of having your multimillion-dollar complex for game days. I don’t have empathy for the baseball program and any issues involving their complex, as they are extremely privileged and have been treated with royalty to this point, even if there isn’t 24/7 access of it for them.

        Like

  3. Eric at this point i can only say good luck to you and I feel sorry for you that what ever personal reason(s) your driven are low enough to have to defamate another group who is being jiped by the same board as the group you defend.
    Baseball has done nothing to hurt or to help the Softball program. I can tell you are not living in this damaged system as your attack is directed blindly. You say treated with royalty. Sadly it shows you cannot see through your cateracts well enough to know who is friend and who is foe.
    Our players are taught to care for their field and pull weeds drag the infield cover the mound and plate areas and do this on a daily basis. Hard work pays off but not when the board makes deals with the devil without input from the workers. Both Softball and Baseball are victoms of the board and their decisions. In short: Get after the problem and in the process dont be a problem or make more.

    Like

  4. Thank you so much for bringing attention to this seemingly unknown situation. As a softball girl from Springfield high who has played all three years I’ve been there, being 1 of the 2 upcoming senior on the team this spring. The program has been promised many things that were never given and never talked about after, and neither ever brought to life. We were told this year we would walk into the season with our own batting cage to only come back and have nothing again. Our program has many girls fighting for what we want yet nobody is seeing our frustration! Our team was so big this year because we couldn’t “afforded” a Jv coach so we had a 20+ varsity team. We have the kids! We have the drive, but no stability to push our needs forward! Every girl worked extremely hard this season with no extra support and though we improved we didn’t have the equipment and support from the district to continue to grow and further our abilities! I’m so exhausted of the constant inability for any support, I appreciate your knowledge and understanding trying to help our unfair situation. I’ve posted this to every social media I have to further help you with this process, because this issue I feel very emotionally connected too. For I’ve seen first hand the glaring inequity that feels like discrimination.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are so welcome! This situation is so blatant and heartbreaking that it feels personal, and I’ll do everything in my power to bring changes to the situation. The work begins immediately and accountability will be brought to the table.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.