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Big League Dreams Sports Parks

The House That Giambuilt

The House That Giambuilt

2007-01-14 08:00


May 14, 2007


Bronx Bomber Jason Giambi is helping to build a sports complex that a kid could only dream of - a scaled-down version of Yankee Stadium in the California town where he and late pitcher Corey Lidle played high-school baseball together.

Last year, Giambi, his brother and their father became 40-percent partners in Big League Dreams Sports Parks, a California-based recreational-sports-facility builder and operator that specializes in creating replicas of historic ballparks, said company founding partner Rick Odekirk.

Several years before the Giambi family signed on with Big League Dreams, Mike Touhey, the mayor of West Covina, a Los Angeles suburb, approached the company to build the complex of mini major-league replica ballfields, adjacent to what was once a municipal-waste landfill.

"We're building a sports 'Disneyland' here," Touhey said. "Build it and they will come."

The 27-acre recreational park has been under construction for a year and is scheduled to open by mid-October, when the city hopes to also unveil a statue of Corey Lidle at the entrance of the new complex, said City Manager Andrew Pasmant.

"The whole project is about baseball, and exposing our children to the sport in a quality setting," said Pasmant. "And Corey was an important part of our community."

In all, the park will feature six replica ballfields: Dodger Stadium, the Angels' old Edison Field, Fenway Park, Tiger Stadium, Wrigley Field, and a Yankee Stadium with a 1970s-1980s look, Odekirk said. Dumps Shop Forum

All of the stadium sizes are reduced for the little leaguers and adult softball players - while still retaining the feel and characteristics of the ballparks they mimic, said Odekirk.

"These dimensions have proven just right for our customers," he said. "You don't have to be a big monster to hit a home run."

About 400 people could watch a regular game if needed, and 4,000 to 5,000 people will be able to cheer from temporary grandstands during special events, said Don Webber, the company's vice president of development.

As with the six operating parks, and nine others in development around the country, each city will own the property and the improvements - while Big League Dreams runs the complexes.

The 10-year-old company makes its money by charging playing and gate fees to anyone 13 and over, and by selling stadium signage and concessions.

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