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In Support of Loyola Park Baseball Improvements

Posted by Mike G on June 10, 2016

May 31, 2016

Mary Hopkins
Chicago Park District
Loyola Park

Re: Cubs Charities Diamond Grant proposal


Dear Mary;

As you know, I have lived in Rogers Park several different times during my adult years, and throughout this time, I have always been impressed with the Loyola Park facility and, specifically, with the great potential of the baseball diamonds gracing the field north of the field house.

When my son was a budding ball player (now, as a 26 year old, playing professional for the Joplin (Missouri) Blasters of the American Association of Independent Professional league), he was active in the youth program, articulating his vision (expressed by many wide eyed optimistic youth) of spraying an opposite field shot “into Lake Michigan.”

In later years, I am drawn to the park whenever I see games being played, grateful to see the tradition of youth baseball continue – youth leagues, and also adult softball, and special program I have seen played there in previous summers targeting special needs population, who, I learned, were practicing for competitions.

More recently, last summer, I worked with you, Sullivan High School, and BASH Baseball Academy, to run a special one-week youth baseball camp, targeting young (pre High School aged) teens, teaching them baseball fundamentals. Serving as instructors: members from Sullivan’s high school team.

My passion was (and remains) exposing some of our community’s newest residents how to play baseball. Specifically, I have found that many young people in our community’s refugee community have an interest in learning America’s game – and through organized programming and the generosity of a few of us willing to purchase for them basic equipment (mitts; balls, bats) – there is a groundswell of interest in baseball, especially among kids from east and west Africa. (Burundi, Tanzania; Mali; Nigeria.)

As you know, Rogers Park is a highly diverse community – Sullivan High School and Chicago Math and Science Academy both sport populations where over 20 languages are spoken. One young man, who I have mentored and with whom I have spent time teaching baseball at Loyola Park, was CMSA’s starting right fielder this year. (How fun it was hearing the public address announcer at Kerry Wood’s Park two weeks ago struggle, as he tried to announce: “Now batting … Ntihebuwaya Leones.”). Both of Rogers Park’s high schools are committed to developing excellent baseball programs – and the key to doing this is to have exceptional playing fields where kids spend spring, summer and fall months learning the sport playing in youth leagues, and, in time, doing what so many of us did as young boys: organize and play pick up games.

With improved fields that can drain water, the majestic backdrop of Lake Michigan, and volunteer participation by people in our community, the youth in Rogers Park and surrounding communities can learn and develop skills as baseball players, and achieve all of the benefits of being accomplished athletes.

The community will benefit immensely with proposed improvements in one of Chicago’s most special parks.

Best regards,

Michael Glasser

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About the Author

Mike G's photoMike Glasser

Mike has a long term relationship with Rogers Park, having lived here at various times in his life, most recently returning to the neighborhood in August, 2009. While living here as a third year law student, he remembers drunken nights at Biddy Mulligan’s and hosting a couple of memorable parties that he, hypocritically, now forbids his own tenants from having. Years later, after completing his stint as a lawyer, Mike started investing in apartment buildings in Rogers Park (and elsewhere), and soon after, did what many newly divorced real estate investors do: he moved into one of his buildings. In 1992 Mike was one of the founding members of the Rogers Park Builders Group, an organization that he eventually headed for six years, until yielding those reigns three years ago. Around a decade ago, on a whim, he reserved the web site “Rogerspark.com,” which he has been developing ever since, and which co-hosts RP BizArts networking events. Mike is the proud father of three wonderful children, Amy, Mitch and Ella.

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