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In recent weeks, softball games at Walter Pierce Park have been on the outs.
First, residents were concerned that errant fly balls would end up hitting passersby or kids playing basketball at the adjacent court. After the softball players altered the field, balls started flying into the parking lot behind right field.
On a recent Wednesday evening, Edan Lichtenstein, 30, got a phone call from a neighbor telling him that his Jetta’s hood had been struck by a ball. None of the players bothered to leave a note, he says. “It’s a pain in the ass more than anything,” he explains. “They should not be hitting [balls] toward buildings.”
ANC Commissioner Mindy Moretti says she’s received two other complaints from citizens whose cars have been dinged by softballs. “I know for sure three cars have been hit,” she says. “I’ve seen people back in the alley looking for softballs as well. I just think it’s a safety issue.”
This week, Moretti e-mailed the director of the Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) writing that softball in the park should be reviewed. “It’s something that you wouldn’t normally expect,” she says. There’s no backstop there. It’s just not suitable for adult softball.”
DPR agreed. John Stokes, the department’s spokesperson, says that no permits are currently issued for softball there. “We’re putting up signs on the field that will say that baseball and softball are strictly prohibited and violators will be asked to leave. In addition, the DC Park Rangers will be monitoring the field to ensure that the baseball and the softball are not being played.” Stokes adds, however, that “playing catch is permitted.”