In the middle of a fielding lesson with his grandpa, 4-year-old Joaquin is learning the benefits of keeping an eye on the ball.
In the West Sacramento’s case, it's the minor league baseball of the River Cats, the National Premier League's soccer ball of the Sacramento Golds, and the promised UFL football of the returning Sacramento Mountain Lions.
They’ll all be using Raley Field.
“Ever since Raley Field and the River Cats pioneered the growth on the West Sacramento water front, they really put down a marker and said this is a place where sporting fans will come and families will come – and so you can make it here,” said West Sacramento’s mayor Chris Cabaldon.
That idea of making it here sounds good to Andrew Lopez, but he wants more.
“I think that’s fabulous to get more development here for people and to get more employment, but honestly I think they need to open up more things for children and for the youth,” Lopez said.
Lopez could be getting some of what he wants starting next spring with new development coming to town.
But, the mayor won't yet hint at what's in store. He'll only credit Raley Field as a magnet that may completely change his city's waterfront soon.
“We've seen so many folks, investors, residents, businesses who want to start building here. And in fact we're going to start building here on a bunch of new projects right around Raley Field over the next 12 months from folks who've been to a game and said ‘oh wow, look at what is here right on the water,’” said Cabaldon.
New streets and bike paths have already been cut to accommodate the new development. Work on underground water and sewer lines is underway.
Construction permits should be issued next spring.