From Wheat Field to League Field

The Little League Baseball European Training Center in Kutno, Poland, is putting the finishing touches to a five-year project that germinated back in 1996 and will live on for years to come.

It seems like only yesterday that I made my first visit to Kutno, Poland. In fact it was in January 1996. During my stay town officials drove me to a large wheat field on the outskirts of town. That day, snow blanketed the field that was to be the future site of the Little League Baseball European Training Center.

Only a small sign stated the intentions of the town and Little League Baseball, Inc., Williamsport, Pennsylvania. Close to $6 million would need to be raised to make this entire center a reality. Im sure some Kutno residents believed that the center would never be built, that it was just another American dream.

However, Im pleased to report that five years later there stands the 2,000 seat Edward J. Piszek Little League Stadium (named after my father) along with an extra Little League Field, as well as the Stan Musial Senior/Big League Field. With these three state-of-the-art baseball fields in place, the Little League European Championships have found a home in Kutno, Poland. Hundreds of young people, along with their family members, come to Kutno each year to participate in these exciting baseball tournaments. But a key part of the center has been missing until now!

Two dormitories needed for housing 300 players and coaches during tournaments are currently under construction in Kutno. During my recent visit to Poland in February, I had a chance to check out the progress of these impressive dorms. On the day we visited, the workers were just beginning to put up the roofing. Due to the relatively mild winter in Poland, construction plans are ahead of schedule. This should allow the use of the dorms for this years tournaments in the summer.

The completion of the dormitories will enable teams to stay together on the grounds of the center and encourage more camaraderie among the players, as well as more use of the baseball fields. It represents a major step towards the completion of the center. Im looking forward to the official dedication of the dorms this summer. Stay tuned! And until then: Play ball!

by Bill Piszek