"We're nothing," Dan Ainsworth scoffed, regarding the SLO City Parks and Recreation Department's recent reclassification of his Men's Senior Baseball League. "We're just a recreational league."
He was reacting to changes that have given his league the lowest priority for use of the Sinsheimer stadium, where they've been playing for seven years.
If Ainsworth sounds bitter, its because last season he was touted as a schedule hero for giving up several game dates at the Sinsheimer stadium to accommodate San Luis Obispo's two semi-pro teams. This year however, Parks and Recreation decided to move forward and try to provide for the Blues and Rattlers by taking the men's senior league out of the equation. During June and July the season's peak Ainsworth will be allowed to fill in his team's games after all youth games, city sponsored events, and the two semi-pro teams choose, effectively taking him out of the line-up.
Throughout last season's negotiations, Ainsworth was arguably the most vocal about what he considered to be failings of Parks and Recreation to communicate with park users. He's a fiery character with impressive muttonchops. In casual conversation, he's frank and cuts to his point.
"We've been shut out," Ainsworth said Parks and Recreation Director Betsy Kiser defended the change: "The priority for use recommends them as second to the two semi-pro teams. I think it's an appropriate assessment."
Even with one team out of the mix, the scheduling problem is far from over. Two semi-pro teams will still need around 35 home games during the months of June and July to be competitive in a league, and dates will be hard to come by. One option on the table calls for the Blues and the Rattlers to bid for the stadium use, giving exclusive rights to one, and leaving the other to find a new home.