When Major League Baseball manager Davey Johnson retired from the Washington Nationals last season, one of his goals was to focus on baseball in Orlando, specifically at historic Tinker Field. And Johnson is the latest – and biggest – name to jump into the controversy caused by Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer’s plan to demolish one of America’s oldest baseball fields and Orlando’s “most historic venue.” Posted on the Nationals’ MLB site, Johnson had a message to send local Orlando and Orange County elected officials:
“I want to put my two cents out there to save Tinker Field,” said Johnson, who served as a batboy at Tinker Field in the 1950s.
Davey Johnson has hopes to rebuild the historic field in downtown Orlando as well as develop a Major League Baseball urban youth program, one of the main goals of the Orlando Monarchs team as well. Before his retirement from the MLB, Johnson said:
“The inner-city baseball kids don’t have the opportunity to play baseball. It’s not like basketball or football, where you can always find a field somewhere or a hoop. That’s what I want more than anything, and that’s why this will be my last year so I can have enough time to get that going.”
This is the kind of community partner Orlando and Orange County leaders should be working with to preserve history and build an urban youth program that could help the Parramore area. Let’s hope local leaders will listen to the public and cancel plans for a VIP parking lot for the Citrus Bowl so that we can preserve Tinker Field.