For the Love of the Game Hires Former Professional Baseball Player to Manage Day-to-Day Operations at KLL Park

After Keizer City Council handed over the management of Keizer Little Park to For the Love of the Game, the association officially hired Corey Paul to manage the day-to-day operations of the facility.

Corey Paul will oversee the grounds planning and maintenance of Keizer Little League Park (KEIZERTIMES / Matt Rawlings).

After Keizer City Council handed over the management of Keizer Little Park to For the Love of the Game, the association officially hired Corey Paul to manage the day-to-day operations of the facility.

The resident of Vancouver, Wash. will be the only full-time employee of For the Love of the Game. He will oversee field planning and park maintenance.

“We’ve interviewed a few people, but Corey has always been the first choice in our minds, just because of his background and all of his baseball experience,” said Mickey Walker, CEO of the Mavericks League and Founder of For the Love of the Game. “He’s kind of been at all levels of baseball so having that kind of experience, especially when it comes to a resort like this, is going to be invaluable.”

Prior to his facilities management background, Paul was drafted by the Seattle Mariners in the 16th round of the 1987 MLB Draft. He spent four years in the Mariners’ system where he shared an outfield with Ken Griffey Jr. while playing for Bellingham – the organization that would later become the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes when Mavericks League owner Jerry Walker moved to the franchise in 1997.

Paul says the relationship he formed with Jerry Walker over 30 years ago was the catalyst for which he was chosen to lead the resort.

“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity and I really appreciate Jerry for choosing me. For me, it’s about being visible. What makes me a good fit for this opportunity is because we have a legacy together. Its reputation, heritage and experience through baseball are community driven, ”said Paul. “I’m glad I can still be a part of a baseball community. It doesn’t matter if it’s half a block away or halfway around the world. I want to represent the community as best I can.”

Paul left baseball for four seasons before returning in 1995 to play in the Independent Western League until 1998. He then played professionally in Mexico, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan until 2005. He is then returned to independent ball before retiring as a player in 2005 – which was the same year Paul started Northwestern Baseball Academy, a high school and college preparation program for baseball and softball players.

Paul also spent time coaching and scouting in Taiwan and Japan.

His first experience in organizing tournaments and field management began at Sherman Park in Canada, working with the Parks and Recreation Department to help with lawn maintenance and field manicures. Paul had a similar job in Vancouver, Washington, where he coordinated the camps and maintained the facilities.

Paul believes his past experience will be of benefit as he begins his new gig.

“The routine is not much different. We had to manage eight fields and make sure they were well taken care of and maintained, ”said Paul.

Currently, Paul is wintering at Keizer Little League Park, setting the stage for the baseball players’ return in March.

“There’s a lot to do here, it’s just a matter of putting the ducks in the pond,” Paul said.

One of the aspects of the job that Paul looks forward to the most is watching young players learn and grow. But he also hopes to receive feedback from parents and community members on what he could do to help the park run better.

“I just want to be on the pitch every day and see the players transform and improve. I want to be in the facility often because I will kind of be the face of this place, ”said Paul. “I want to be visible, available and responsive to the needs of the city”,

With the Town of Keizer agreeing to a 10-year contract with For the Love of the Game, Mickey Walker has high hopes of bringing sod to the resort one day. Paul, on the other hand, has even bigger aspirations, including exploring the possibility of bringing a dome to the resort one day – yes, you read that right.

“Aiming for the moon. I don’t know if that’s the feasibility or the timing. But if you have a community that’s so engaged, there’s no reason it couldn’t happen. I think it would definitely add of value to Keizer and Salem, “said Paul.” I want to have facilities that people will enjoy.

“I have been to a number of places around the world where the facilities had a domed stadium. It doesn’t get any better. You can do all kinds of things, from RV shows, to concerts, even soccer. “

Paul says there would have to be big donors to make the dream of a dome a reality, but the benefits of a world-class facility would be immense.

“If we could get that kind of status in this neighborhood, I think we should definitely take care of it,” Paul said.

No matter if he can achieve lofty dreams, Paul’s main goal is to make Keizer Little League Park a positive place for children, regardless of their age or skill level.

“We want to create an atmosphere and an experience for these players,” said Paul. “I think it’s right that we release something that will appeal to people. We are going to be optimistic and put all we can into it. “

Matt Rawlings: [email protected]

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