If there was a good time to have a rogue lightning-strike wipe out the Goffstown Babe Ruth League's equipment and infrastructure, this weekend may have been it, although the losses are still substantial.
“We're kind of between seasons right now,” league president Kevin Baines said in a telephone interview Sunday afternoon. “If there was ever a good time to happen, this is it. We just hosted the 14-year-old divisional a few weeks ago, so that's not impacted. And we run a very limited fall program. So it's not a huge impact in that regard.”
The impact otherwise of Saturday's is monumental, even though it still can't be quantified. If it could, it doesn't matter. Neither the building that stored the player's equipment nor the league itself carried insurance, Baines said.
“From what I'm told, they didn't have any insurance on it. It was old and mostly for storage,” Baines said. “There was a lot of space in there. Based upon the age, it all comes down to financial reasons for a building that old if it's worth insuring it or not. We did not have any insurance on any of our stuff inside.”
Baines, who is in his sixth year with the league, guessed the equipment loss at $10,000 to $20,000 considering 10 equipment bags to outfit the team with extras for all-stars, a couple cases of baseballs, catching gear, more than 30 bats and helmets, a pitching machine and assorted pieces of gear and the irrigation infrastructure for the field.
“Our equipment director will be trying to get an estimate to try to get outfitted to start next season. We lost everything we owned,” he said. “Even if we looked at putting up a metal building I'd guess it's in the $100,000 to $150,000 range,” Baines added. “Add in the infrastructure that we lost and I would venture a guess that it's close to $200,000 to take down the rubble and make the new place suitable and bring up the utilities to where it needs to be.
“That's just a huge capital improvement for bigger organizations. And we're not a big group.” Baines said. “On the surface, it looks like it's not an option to rebuild.”
The league was hoping to use a fund-raising drive to improve the field, Baines said, but that project will have to “take a back burner now.”
Baines has talked with the Allard family, which owned the building, and said the family has to decide what direction they want to take.
“Our board of directors will meet Wednesday night and hope to have some direction by then and plan where we're going. We want to go in the same direction as them and we hope to learn their intent for the project,” he said.
Support from the Goffstown community, other baseball leagues and umpire organizations have buoyed Baines' spirits for the unknown future going forward.
A Facebook page for the Goffstown Babe Ruth League has been set up to keep people informed. Today, the league's treasurer will set up an account at Citizens Bank for anyone wanting to make donations to the league.
“Goffstown is a very highly energetic baseball community,” Baines said. “I'm very optimistic that the community will rally around us. Reactions are very positive in a short amount of time. I'm very optimistic that we're going to successfully raise the funds to get back on the field next year.”