Community notebook: Little League gets gift, plans capital campaign

Palo Alto family donates three benches in honor of grandmother

It's usually not a good thing in baseball to be on the bench, but at the Palo Alto Little League (PALL) ballpark on Middlefield Road, the installation of three new benches for spectators has turned that around.

A gift of the Boyd Arnold family, the 2,000-pound concrete benches next to the left field bullpen have gotten good use since their installation in January, according to League President Kristin Foss.

On Saturday, March 21 -- the league's opening day -- the gift will be officially recognized.

Though initially donated as a way to memorialize an Arnold family member, the benches will also play a role in the league's upcoming capital campaign, Foss said the PALL board decided this week. A few major donors to the campaign, which is still in the planning stages but could have a goal of $500,000 to $750,000, would be honored with plaques affixed to two of the benches.

The last renovation of the ballpark was more than 20 years ago, Foss said.

One bench is already dedicated in honor of the late Jo Ann Dixon, the Arnold family matriarch and a 50-plus year resident of Palo Alto, and her husband of 41 years, Stan. Jo Ann Dixon died in October 2013 and was active in Palo Alto life, according to her grandson Boyd Arnold III.

"My parents, who both worked full time, relied heavily on my grandmother to get my brother and me to PALL games and practices. She drove us, and sometimes some of our teammates as well, to the PALL field so often that we coined her car the 'Cadillac Express,'" Arnold told the Weekly. "It was a recognizable fixture at the park."

The ballpark "symbolizes for all her descendants (one son, one daughter, four stepchildren, five grandchildren, four great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild) how supportive she was of everyone in her life, how she showed up for others, was always so positive, and always liked to have fun. We all agreed that the PALL baseball field was an ideal place to honor the memory of our beloved Jo," he said.

Among the renovations being considered for the 3672 Middlefield Road facility, Foss said, are upgrades to the outfield with a T-ball field for younger players, a snack shack and new batting cages.

The prior renovation funded improvements to the stands, scoreboard and clubhouse, Foss said. It was made possible by a $100,000 anonymous gift, later found to be from developer and philanthropist John Arrillaga.

This Saturday's opening day starts at about 8:45 a.m., Foss said.

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3 people like this
Posted by Rick
a resident of Community Center
on Mar 21, 2015 at 9:38 am

This is a very nice way to honor a loved one . The planned capital improvements seem ideal. Would love to see PALL look from outside in and get their act together. In my experience over the past 12 years it is more about the parents on board, running the teams etc and them rigging the system for their own self esteem or their own Childs "advancement".
"Coaches" putting their name down as part of a major team years in advance of their kid being eligible to get them a spot on team regardless of tryout results.
Lack of communication and transparency from board to public, inconsistent try out and eval process. I could go on and on - this is a non profit that needs to be overhauled.
Sad part is it's ruining the joy of baseball for many as its over engineered to benefit a few.

4 people like this
Posted by John
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 21, 2015 at 12:10 pm

Hey Rick, did you volunteers to be on the board or coach a team? Your complaint is typical of the whiners whose kids didn't get the playing they deserved (according to their mothers and fathers).

I wish to thank the Boyd Arnold family for its generous gift. And it is now covered with a handsome and tasteful wooden structure. I love that park!

2 people like this
Posted by Rick
a resident of Community Center
on Mar 22, 2015 at 1:19 pm

Thank you - you confirmed my point

Like this comment
Posted by a Player
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Mar 23, 2015 at 9:36 am


After 5 years in the 'system' moving on to Babe Ruth and High School were such a breath of fresh air. Not just getting away from the 'coaches' (I use that term very loosely) whose sons were automatically the 'STAR' of the team, but the fact that they had not even the most basic background on how and what to coach and because they had seen a YouTube video or read a book that they were suddenly experts! It's no wonder that PALL does so poorly at the District Tournaments.

I guess there's a reason it's called "Little" League!


Like this comment
Posted by John
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 23, 2015 at 11:44 am

@ a player: You appear to be bitter. You are, of courses, entitled to be bitter. It happens to many youth participants in competitive endeavors, whether it be sports or science fairs or youth theatre (and many more.

However, facts do matter. The Palo Alto Little League has had a few good runs in district and regional tournaments.

@ Rick: Uh, what point did I confirm in your own mind?

Once again, a big 'thank you' to Boyd Arnold for his contribution.

Like this comment
Posted by Jimmy
a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 23, 2015 at 1:51 pm

Rick is spot on. PALL is so messed up. I see kids playing well below their skill level all the time now and their parents tell us they are just as confused as I am. Unless the parents are actively involved and make their child a "known" player, they'll default to the lowest possible league. There's kids playing AAA who should be in the majors much less PCL. It's silly and sad.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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