A local field of dreams
VAN BUREN COUNTY, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - If you build it, they will come, and that's exactly what happened at a baseball field in Van Buren County.
A family, who can't get enough of the sport, cut down the cornfield in their backyard and replaced it with a baseball diamond modeled after Comerica Park.
Now dozens of young ballplayers, dreaming of making the big leagues get to come out to practice for free.
It all started with a boy's dream and a father's ambition. It led to a family building the practice field in their backyard, a field now used by more than two dozens of West Michigan teams.
Baseball, it's a sure sign of summer and as travel leagues get in some practice before a big game, dozens flock to this field where there's an open invitation to play, anytime.
"We end up just coming out and having fun," said Cameron Walker.
At least 25 teams have discovered the diamond hidden in a Paw Paw backyard, carved from a cornfield and visible from space.
Luke Miller thought it up three years previously, then built it by hand with his brother and dad.
"I don't know who wouldn't like to have their own baseball field," said Drew Miller.
It's called St. Ann's field, named after the boys' mom, and maintained like a regulation field.
"We are all Tigers fans, so we designed it like Comerica Park," said father Matt Miller.
Now the Miller's field of dreams saves teams hundreds in seasonal rental costs.
"Sometimes other fields are booked and it's good to have a field to just know we can come and practice," said Cameron Walker.
For the Miller boys, it's really just about the love of the game.
"You get to meet new teams and play with them," said Luke Miller.
"It's five days a week and I get to come out here every practice," said Drew Miller.
"We never charge anything as long as my boys can practice," said Matt Miller.
The field gives the Millers a chance to play day or night, take to the field with other teams or on their own, and learn valuable lessons in teamwork.
"I like to look out and see all the teams playing and scrimmaging," said mother Ann Miller, "and kids having a place to go and play ball."
If a travel team wants to use the field, all it takes is a phone call to reserve the space. In 2014, 11 teams used the diamond for the summer season, and for the first time this year, the Millers will be opening their backyard to fall ball as well.