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  • Baseball Notes

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  • BEAR CREEK CORP.
    has a five-year naming rights agreement with the Miles Field group that is renewed every July. This month marks the fourth year of the current agreement, and Medford Youth Baseball Society Chairman Gary Miller says he doesn't anticipate the relationship between the groups to change.
    They've been wonderful to us, Miller says. They've been very supportive and loyal to us every step of the way. I don't know where we'd be if they hadn't been there for us all these years.
    ALTHOUGH HARRY and David Baseball Park will be a professional-size ballpark in terms of field dimensions and potential seating capacity, Miller says the city has mandated in the agreement that the stadium only be used for amateur baseball and other community events.
    Miles Field was the home of minor league baseball for 21 summers before the Southern Oregon Timberjacks, the Class A short-season affiliate of the Oakland Athletics' franchise, moved to Vancouver, Wash., following the 1999 season.
    — The Timberjacks led the Northwest League's Southern Division for all but two days of the 1999 season but finished last in attendance in the eight-team league.
    WAL-MART HAS allowed use of Miles Field through Sept. 30, assuring uninterrupted completion of the summer baseball programs that call Miles home.
    Miller says Wal-Mart has also granted approval for a memorial honoring the history of Miles Field on the site.
    THE NEW Harry and David Baseball Park won't be without a few holdovers from Miles Field.
    The Triple-A rated eight-pole lighting system will be transported from Miles by helicopter and set in place at the site between Highway 99 and Interstate 5 across from Bear Creek Corp. Other recycled features will be the scoreboard and foul poles at Miles and the lights in the parking lot.
    Miller says the MYBS board has approved the donation of a section of Miles Field bleachers to North Medford High and one to St. Mary's High. The group also hopes to give North a deal on clubhouse lockers and lighting from Miles.
    A COMMON misconception involving the sale of Miles Field is that the baseball organizations in the Rogue Valley were a driving force behind the transaction.
    As far as he remembers, Miller says, proposals to sell Miles and the surrounding property have been floating around since at least 1989.
    We've known for a while that the property was going to be sold, says Miller. If it wasn't Wal-Mart, it was going to be whomever was next. The county's always been very clear that they were going to sell that property.
    Even though Wal-Mart now owns the 18.9-acre property, the sale does not change the status of the Medford City Council's decision in May to reject a 207,000-square-foot Supercenter proposed for the site. The council decided that the design was incompatible with the area, voting 5-1 to reverse the Site Plan and Architectural Commission's April decision to approve the Wal-Mart application.
    MILLER FIRST became heavily involved at Miles Field when he moved back to Medford from Aloha in 1989 and was informed of a proposal to tear down Miles Field as a byproduct of the South Gateway project.
    He went to the City Council and successfully lobbied to make the contractor build a memorial on the site to honor Miles Field, only to have the construction deal fall through.
    Realizing Miller's emotional attachment to Miles, officials with the Oakland Athletics franchise asked him to spearhead improvements at the ballpark after being told they were in jeopardy of losing the franchise if alterations weren't made.
    Miller's first board meeting for that purpose was in 1991, with a goal to effectively rebuild a new Miles Field.

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