Paul Eames wants city to repair sports complex - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Paul Eames wants city to repair sports complex

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Albany sports hall of famer Paul Eames told city leaders this week if they didn't fix up the Baseball Complex that bears his name, he wanted his name removed from the dilapidated fields.

City leaders say they had already started work on the park and pledge to get it back in shape.

Paul Eames is a true sports legend who built a proud baseball legacy in Albany. But he and his family say the Sports Complex is in such disrepair, it has become a personal embarrassment.

83 year old Paul Eames says he does not go to the Sports Complex that bears his name.

Eames said "Well I hate that my names on it, and it's in that kind of shape. I feel that way."

Eames played semi-pro and pro baseball for 13 years, and then for 25 years he worked with the Albany Recreation Department coaching hundreds of young athletes. In 1992 when the city started building the Sports Complex, everyone knew it had to be named for the man who dedicated his life to Albany baseball.

 Eames said "It's probably the biggest honor I ever had, when they named it in my name."

But today as Paul's son Glenn Eames, the long time Darton College baseball coach toured the four ball fields, he can't believe it's come to this.

 Glenn Eames said "It's just been allowed to deteriorate to what you see, and there is really nobody taking responsibility for it."

Part of the outfield fence and a sun shade collapsed in recent winds. There are boards missing, holes, and the paint is flaking off. The net behind home plate protecting the fans is rotted and full of holes. One field's chain link fence is bent, and the foul pole leaning. This is what fans see in one of the entrances to the complex. The annual Paul Eames American Legion Baseball tournament will be played here in two weeks.

Eames said "It's almost an embarrassment to ask those teams to come in here, and play in this."

Eames and other members of the community complained to city leaders, and they say they are going to have the complex ready.

 Albany Recreation Department Director Suzanne Davis said "We had a storm come through about a week and a half ago. We've just had the wall repaired. We've got volunteers coming next week to paint it."

A city crew was working at the stadium today, but Paul Eames worries.

Eames said "Yeah I would just as soon have the name taken off as have it look like that. I don't want to get blamed for it."

The Eames family says the infrastructure is still there for a great baseball facility, but it has just not been cared for.

Davis said the yearly city budget for upkeep of all the sports complex's and ball fields in Dougherty County is $35,000. Eames says if the community doesn't have the will or the money to keep up the sports complex, just tear it down.

City leaders say renovations will be finished by the time the complex hosts the Paul Eames American Legion Baseball Tournament July 8th through 10th.

Albany will also host the state American Legion Tournament later this summer,  but organizers moved the championship games to Darton College.

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