Town of Union, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Baseball Hall of Fame member Joe Morgan spoke to an auditorium full of baseball players prior to the opening of Maine-Endwell's new baseball stadium on Wednesday. He said every time he goes to Cooperstown, he looks to make sure his plaque is still there, to make sure he wasn't dreaming.
For the M-E community, Wednesday afternoon might have seemed like a fantasy, but Gary Crooks field will serve a reminder that it's reality.
M-E grad Thomas Tull, who is the chairman and chief executive of Legendary entertainment, brought a few friends along for the festivities of opening up the stadium.
Tull and Morgan were joined by fellow hall of famers Goose Gossage and Johnny Bench.
But as Bench was on the receiving end of Alba Tull's first pitch, the focus shifted to the man that helped develop the foundation of Thomas Tull's successful career.
That would be his former baseball coach, and now the namesake for the field, Gary Crooks.
"It just seems surreal almost. I mean he is a movie maker, so it almost seems like he produced this," said Crooks. "He kind of flew some people in, built and set and here we are. It's just ridiculous."
It's one of the ways Tull can say thank you to his former coach. When asked what it means to name the field after Coach Crooks, Thomas said it took about a second to make the decision.
"This is an incredible day for me. To stand here and look at the field and what Coach Crooks has grown in this program," said Tull. "I can say the field was a little rougher when I played on it, and if it rained a little bit we were in trouble. Hopefully this allows all the kids to be able to play, because it's tough here in March to be able to start playing baseball. This is a day we're really, really proud of."
M-E and Vestal squared off for the first game on the field following the ceremony.