Coach ‘Encouraged’ By Actions, But Still Avoiding Swasey

Entrance to Swasey Field.

Leaders of a Haverhill youth baseball league may be taking a “wait and see” approach to the mayor’s latest safety assurances before any decision to resume playing at Swasey Field on Blaisdell Street, where a nearby shooting incident Saturday disrupted a game in progress.

Haverhill Senior Baseball League President Larry O’Brien told WHAV Tuesday he “feels personally, a little better” in reaction to Mayor James J. Fiorentini’s call for an increased police presence in the Swasey Field area, as well as at ball games. But he noted seven teams involved will “still not go there” until he talks with the mayor personally.

“As president of the organization it’s my decision to make a—if you want to call it a ‘knee-jerk’—reaction right away, but with the seriousness of it I didn’t want to put any kid in jeopardy of any kind. Now, hearing what the mayor said, I’m encouraged but I want to get it down. Is this going to be a temporary fix, is this going to be permanent fix? But the presence of the police will change my decision a little bit, but who knows how far it will change it,” O’Brien said.

However, O’Brien said the ultimate decision whether or not their teams return to Swasey Field will come from the players’ parents.

“I’ve just sent an e-mail to the coaches to poll their parents. I’d like to meet with the teams but that would be almost impossible to do. That’s why I’m filtering everything through the head coaches of these seven teams,” O’Brien said.

Meanwhile, O’Brien said he is discussing the possibility of playing out their spring season at either Northern Essex Community College or Haverhill Stadium with college officials and Haverhill High Athletic Director Thomas E. O’Brien.

“For the rest of the spring season we need between five and 10 dates from either venue or both venues to shift the games. These other towns in this league have offered us to play there for our home games, which is fine. But I would prefer to have the kids in Haverhill play their home games in Haverhill,” O’Brien said.

O’Brien, also coach of Haverhill High School freshman baseball, expects to meet with Fiorentini about the Swasey Field situation as early as today.

3 thoughts on “Coach ‘Encouraged’ By Actions, But Still Avoiding Swasey

  1. There’s no countermeasure for a completely random event, Mayor Jimmy is just reacting & grandstanding. The police simply cannot be everywhere all the time, nor should they be in a would-be free state.

    Of course, we live in a city whose policies have been focused on catering to low income and government dependent demographics, but that comes with consequences. While at the same time, Mayor Jimmy (and Beacon Hill) goes after the fruits of other peoples labor in a relentless fashion, but that too comes with consequences. Combine this with the lawlessness of our local and state political realms, then maybe at some point this goes from a completely random event to being completely normal. Like many municipalities across the nation, that will be day when the productive people of the city/state call it a day and simply move away – leaving the city/state leadership to choke on its own hubris.

  2. Mr. O’Brien…Don’t even bother meeting with the mayor. Given his track record of failure as a city councilor and mayor of Haverhill what can he possibly say that will 100% guarantee player’s safety? Sure, he’ll assign numerous cops to be there while games are being played, but is that really the environment you want kids to be playing in? It will be like a police occupied war zone…that’s not the kind of memory you want kids to be looking back on 20 years from now.

    Mayor Taxman is going to want the games to resume at this field. It’s political to him….this shooting makes HIM look bad….as it should! This shooting is confirmation that the city is failing at reducing the gangs in the city…something the mayor has been bragging about with the yearly crime statistics. And now look what happened. Mr. O’Brien, you are going to be pressured by the mayor to play the games there. Don’t do it. But if you do, remember, you are only a volunteer, so get the promises in writing from mayor taxman to protect yourself of any personal liability.