Nostalgia in full bloom continues with a story in this week's Arkansas Business about Ray Winder Field and the Travelers. In the story, Travs GM Bill Valentine again repeats the refrain about Ray Winder Field never getting a penny from Little Rock city government. There seems to be a pattern here of Valentine indicating that he really resents the lack of funding assistance and recognition from Little Rock City Hall all these years, and I think this explains why he is so pro North Little Rock and wants to do things like put NLR on the jerseys and hold NLR Travs hat night at the end of this month. I wonder if Valentine would even show up if Little Rock's City Board invited him to a meeting at the end of the season to present him with a certificate of thanks for all these years.
Some excerpts of Valentine's comments on funding and the future of Ray Winder:
"I’ve been here 31 years and have never received a nickel from city, county or state government, not even five cents. As far as the facility of Ray Winder Field, they’ve never contributed a penny. I bet we’re one of the only ballparks in the minor leagues that wasn’t built by the city or get some funds to help."
"The first thing you have to ask is, 'Who will maintain it?' That’s a grand gesture to say 'Save it,' but answer the maintaining question first and then ask, 'How well are you going to maintain it?' If you don’t maintain it, it will rot right in front of your eyes."
Something funny to consider -- Remember the days of two hockey teams in town? What if some enterprising owner put an independent league team in Ray Winder Field? I wonder how it would draw.
Also, in the Arkansas Business story, it mentions Jim Bailey's book, "90 Years of Travelers Baseball." I wish the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette would put it and Todd Traub's "The Last At-Bat" on Amazon.com. It would probably be a huge boost to sales... and it would allow me to link those two books in the "From Local Authors" box I running have in the left column on this site.