The city of Chula Vista was the focus of American youth baseball last year when in August the Park View Little League baseball team won the Little League World Series.
To mark the event, Chula Vista artist Mark Martensen wants to create a 20-foot by 5-foot commemorative wall in Memorial Park.
“It will be a badge of honor,” Martensen said, adding that the fleeting moments the boys experienced shouldn’t end. “They should be remembered forever.”
He is proposing that bronze images of the team’s coach, manager and players adorn the wall.
“Winning the World Series brought great memories for the time, to distract the community from the economy and other negative things,” Park View Little League coach Rick Ramirez said. “The monument can serve as a place were the team can come back and have some laughs and talk about the game, as a kind of reunion.”
The project comes with a $150,000 price tag, with sponsorships ranging from $300 to $30,000.
Sponsors can have their names or a message engraved on a bronze plaque that is affixed to the back of the wall.
A group of city officials and Park View boosters is already working to generate support for the project.
“We think it is truly a great honor for the members of the 2009 Little League World Series champions,” said Jack Blakely, who is spearheading the push to have the wall built.
Blakely said he and Martensen are working on a proposal that would make the tribute a gift to the city.
A spokesman for Mayor Cheryl Cox said she was supportive of artwork that commemorates the championship.
“One of the hardest things is to get it (the support letter) in front of the right people,” Blakely said.
Stephanie Loney, who works for the Cultural Arts Commission in the Chula Vista Library, which oversees the museum, said the board is in support of the memorial because they consider it to be history in the making.
“Fifteen to 20 years from now, some of the players might be the next Major League stars,” she said.
Former Sweetwater Union High School District president and current board member Jim Cartmill was unaware of plans to commemorate the boys through a memorial, but expressed his support.
“As someone who was born and raised in Chula Vista, and as a former Park View player, it’s exciting to see the opportunity for our World Series champs to be memorialized forever in Memorial Park,” he said.
It’s fitting that someone from the Sweetwater Hall of Fame has agreed to make sure their achievements are never forgotten, he added.
“I want this to be the exclamation point to the accomplishment,” Martensen said.