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CdM baseball field vandalized, beloved groundskeeper passes

CdM baseball field vandalized, beloved groundskeeper passes
Corona del Mar High's baseball field, shown here on June 26, 2012, was vandalized in early August. (Kevin Chang / Staff Photographer)

The Corona del Mar High baseball field was recently the target of vandalism.

Sea Kings baseball coach Kevin McCaffrey said the incident occurred the first week of August. He explained that the intruders utilized a cart to do doughnuts on the infield, the infield dirt and the outfield.

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They burnt the clutch and left the cart out in left field. The windscreen for the outfield fence was cut, and the door to the team’s storage shed was kicked in.

“Obviously, we’re pretty disappointed with the actions of what we think are three kids,” McCaffrey said. “It happened three weeks ago … and we were just presented with a picture that’s been posted on Twitter.”

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McCaffrey said that a neighbor had witnessed the vandalism taking place and took the picture, which then made its way to McCaffrey via a custodian a couple of days ago.

“Pretty frustrating,” McCaffrey added. “It’s just kids being kids, making stupid decisions, but it’s at the expense of the baseball program, unfortunately.”

An initial estimate of the damage has not been determined, but McCaffrey said that the baseball program is working in cooperation with administration to try to fence in the field and prevent people unaffiliated with CdM baseball from entering the facility.

Former CdM baseball coach John Emme said he had not heard about the incident.

The CdM baseball community took another hit the following week, when Walt Harper, the groundskeeper of the CdM baseball field, died of a heart attack. He was 66.

McCaffrey said that a funeral was held for Harper on the CdM baseball field on Saturday.

“The really sad thing is that cart was his baby,” McCaffrey said of Harper. “He won it in an auction from Angel Stadium.

“When I talked to him a couple of weeks ago, he said, ‘You know, it’s kids making a stupid decision, but I just love that cart, and they destroyed it.’”

The cart had sentimental value to the Harpers, and McCaffrey said he would try to do right by the family by making it operational again. McCaffrey said Walt’s son, Ty, will take over his father’s labor of love in tending to the CdM baseball diamond.

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