Big-League Collaboration Expands Programs At Kansas’ “The J”

When something changes for the better, there’s good reason to celebrate. Kansas’s Jewish Community Center recently had plenty of reason to celebrate, though some might find it a bit odd that they’re celebrating because they finished laying turf with a ceremonial ribbon-cutting held on the third week of April, 2018. The ceremony was held in honor of the recently laid synthetic turf in the popular local baseball field.

The new field, reportedly, is designed to stop rainouts, muddy fields and bad hops thanks to a rough infield. The Sports Recreation Coordinator, Bob Hennecke, said, laughing, that should rain hit Kansas, the people at The Big J can now wait it out and get back to the game when the rain stops.

The new turf comes with three baseball diamonds, and, thanks to it, the community center can now expand its youth baseball program for boys, and, for the first time in the center’s history, it can now host softball games for girls’ teams. The brand new field, Hennecke says, allows for three games to be play simultaneously, increasing the number of boy playing to about 1,700, divided across 125 teams, plus an additional 400 girls playing softball. He adds that players in the Big J’s youth program are preschool at the youngest, eight grade at the oldest. They can now play games seven days a week, all day, rain or shine.

He explains that the programs aren’t exclusive to Jewish Community Center members, saying that the public can join in; all they really need is to register and bring their own glove.

The recent laying turf is also good news for Kansas City Christian’s High School baseball team, as it’ll serve as their new home field. Athletic Director Josh Poteet says that this is wonderful for the baseball team, who, he says, had to play their games on the road, thanks to not having a home field.

The new turf was made possible thanks to donations made by the Jewish Community Center and Kansas City Christian School, with additional financial assistance from a $235,000 grant from the Major League Baseball and the MLB’s Players Association’s Baseball Tomorrow Fund.