PLAY AT THE PLATE – WINTER NEWSLETTER
- Denise Stillman
- Last Call for Holland
- Thanks Bernie Ellison
This newsletter unfortunately will be quite somber as I report to our clients and friends of the passing of Denise Stillman who was the CEO of Go the Distance Baseball LLC and the owner of The Field of Dreams. Denise was just 46, a mother of 2 and died from a very rare form of liver cancer. Tomorrow at Field of Dreams there will be a 4 hour celebration of her life, her love of baseball, her commitment to getting youth involved in sports and the project she never had the chance to see come to fruition, The Field of Dreams Baseball Complex which is moving forward as her vision lives on. I hope to be there to pay my respects.
I never met Denise. We were supposed to meet at a lecture she was going to give 2 years ago at Berginos Baseball Clubhouse in the NYC, but a snowstorm ruined both of our plans and the event was called off. I had spoken to her on 2 occasions discussing our upcoming events in Dyersville at the Field of Dreams. I tried whole hardheartedly to convince her to allow us to play a little earlier in the day, but she stayed true her convictions and I couldn’t get her to sway as she never wanted to alienate that traveller who came the long distance to enjoy those few moments on that magical site. She was very happy that we were coming there with a group for 2 weekends and staying in Dyersville.
As most of you know, this event has become one of my favorites. To be in middle America and play ball with fathers and sons is quite a thrill. I plan on going there every year. But Denise had a vision of the future of the town and the site. She had in place a plan to build a large complex of fields on another part of the farm that would include, youth fields, softball fields and a few big league size fields. It met with some hard resistance as some town members were happy with the way things are and didn’t want to change. Certainly if the plan goes through, it would mean a change in the town. More people would be staying there, more facilities would have to be built and the quaint quiet village would certainly transform similar to what has happened in Cooperstown with the building of Dreams Park a huge youth baseball complex from a sleepy town to a summer time destination.
Tough call either way. It has actually divided the town to some small degree as exhibited by the senseless attempt to harm the field this past winter by a local doing donuts with his pickup truck all over the field. I personally hope the project gets completed. It will change the town for sure, but there are far too many vacant store fronts in the downtown area that could be used to accommodate the influx of players and families. I also would like to see every car that comes into the site pay a nominal fee. Denise was against that, and wanted to keep it free so all could enjoy the Field. She was very happy to rely on the tours, the sale of merchandise and the donation box and groups like ours to provide the revenue. Baseball has lost a great friend, visionary and community leader.
To her family and the Team at Field of Dreams Site, I offer on behalf of our baseball family here at PATP our sincerest and heartfelt condolences. Holland: A few weeks ago I put out a sniff for a possible trip to Holland in late summer early fall of 2019. The response was good not great. So here is your last chance to respond. If you did already no need to again. If you were on the fence pick a side. The Royal Dutch Baseball Federation is looking to take me on a tour of sites and get the ball rolling….I wouldn’t mind a trip to the Netherlands but I’m not going unless I am setting up the trip. So send me an email….firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to go. Bernie Ellison: I just returned from South Florida and played in 2 events for 55 and 60 year old teams that were managed by good friend Bernie Ellison. To say he does a great job organizing, recruiting and field managing would be an understatement. It takes a lot of patience to deal with middle aged little boys who all think they should bat 3rd or 4th. But Bernie does it and with the forceful, friendly authority needed to get the job done. Add the great team dinners he and his wife Annemarie provide and it makes for a great time. Thanks Bernie for all your hard work. (Btw I should bat 3rd not 4th) I’ll say hello one more time before Christmas, hope your Thanksgiving was enjoyable and surrounded by friends and family.