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Updated Jan 16, 2014 - 11:08 am

Phoenix Little League asks for help after vandalism

PHOENIX -- Kids have been playing ball in the South Mountain Little League in Phoenix since 1953, and now the league needs some help.

Two years after parents replaced bats, balls and other equipment that were stolen, vandals have struck the league again.

Board member Michael Martinez, Sr. said the vandals stole items from several fields.

"Fencing from the tee-balls and the minor fields, backstops, dugouts and outfields [was stolen]," said Martinez. "They also stole three or four complete sets of aluminum bleachers."

The thefts were discovered in November.

Martinez said the first time that he and his son went to check out the damage was tough.

"My son actually saw the field, and the look in his eyes just broke my heart," Martinez said. "He almost welled up with tears because he remembers the field when he played on it."

The league is asking for donations to raise over $40,000 for much-needed repairs, in order to get the field ready in time for the start of baseball season in March. A few businesses have already stepped up to help.

"Domino's [Pizza] on Seventh Street and Baseline and Home Depot at 51st Avenue and Baseline have pledged to help us," Martinez said.

The Big 5 Sporting Goods store at 35th Avenue and Baseline is also helping by allowing a group from the Little League organization to come to the store this Saturday to sign kids up for this summer's season.

A Little League in Anthem is also pledging help.

"One of the biggest supporters and the first call I got was from Ron Weber at High Desert Little League," said Martinez. "He said ‘We're a baseball community. Let's help each other.' He's pledged to help us reorganize, help us with equipment and help us with whatever we need."

An account has been set up for tax-deductible donations at Wells Fargo Bank. The account number is 5495534942. You can also contact Martinez to donate at (480) 228-5784 or by e-mail at

About the Author

Years with the company: I started on January 2, 2006.

Education: I was born in San Antonio, Texas, but we moved to Phoenix when I was one-year-old in 1957. I grew up here and graduated from Alhambra High School and attended Phoenix College.

Family: I live in north Phoenix with my wife Rene' and my son Devin.

Favorite food: Lots of favorite food, but our favorite restaurant is Fajitas.

Favorite spot in Arizona: The Little America Hotel in Flagstaff.

Favorite news memory: We have to go back to October 15, 1979. I was a country music air personality at KROP Radio in Brawley, California, when we had a 6.7 earthquake. Thankfully, there were no deaths and only minor injuries, but the entire community was pretty freaked out and listening to the station on their transistor radios. I would not want to go through an earthquake again, but it sure was a great night to work in radio and see how it can make a difference in people's lives.

First job: Working as a stringer for 'The Arizona Republic' at high school football games. My first real job was flipping burgers at the old Sandy's Hamburgers at 51st Avenue and Indian School Road. My first radio job was as announcer at KALJ radio in Yuma in 1977.

First concert: My Dad took me to see Jimmy Dean at the Arizona State Fairgrounds in the 1960's. It was before the Coliseum was built. The only thing I remember is Jimmy Dean singing his big hit "Big Bad John."

Favorite sports team: Phoenix Roadrunners minor league hockey. My dad took me to a game when I was in grade school, and I was hooked. I wanted to be a radio hockey play-by-play man. I used to take my cassette recorder and sit up in the rafters of the Coliseum and do play-by-play. It was great later in life to also take my son to Roadrunners games. Too bad the team just folded, I'll miss them. (Going to the Coyotes is fun, but they're not "my" team.)

Outside interests: My family and I are active in our church - Shiloh Community Church in Phoenix. Devin is a high school student at Scottsdale Christian Academy. He plays on the baseball, football, and basketball teams and sings in the choir. Obviously, we keep busy trying to go to all his events! We enjoy going to movies, sporting events, and long road trips. We like to vacation at the Beach Cottages in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego. And I love to play catch, basketball, football with my son.


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