A father's dream of providing his son's youth baseball team with its own field came true Saturday.
After two years of work, Sun Devil Field opened in Costa Mesa with a Labor Day tournament. The privately funded, four-acre youth sports complex, at 3370 Harbor Blvd., features a two-story announcer's booth, batting cages and a basketball court, among other amenities.
Bob Klein founded the Orange County Sun Devils, a travel baseball team, in 2008 with the help of his wife Bita, and son, Trevor, 11, who plays on the team.
After creating the Sun Devils, Bob Klein recruited Mark Cresse, a former member of the Los Angeles Dodgers coaching staff for 25 seasons, to be the manager. But because organized leagues had priority on local fields, the Sun Devils had trouble finding places to practice.
Bob Klein decided to create a stadium for the team in 2010 with Bill Cope, a Newport Beach resident and Sun Devil dad, as the designer of the field. Several other Sun Devil parents contributed to the creation of Sun Devil Field, including Phil Rudy, who provided assistance with the initial planning.
The City of Costa Mesa unanimously approved Sun Devil Field — previously a vacant property in Costa Mesa's commercial district — on Jan. 12, and granted a Conditional Use Permit for eight years.
"We wanted to create an environment where kids could have fun playing the game they love," Bob Klein said at Saturday's opening ceremony. "Experiences that the kids will have on this field, I think, will change lives. I can't wait to hear their stories about this place in 10 to 20 years."
Costa Mesa Councilman Steve Mensinger, who said he played baseball as a child, also spoke during the ceremony.
"We do a lot of ribbon-cutting events around the city, but this is probably the highlight of all the events I've done," Mensinger said. "This represents something done, not by the government, but by an individual who has a dream and wants to make something happen."
For more information about the Orange County Sun Devils baseball team, visit http://www.OCSunDevils.com.