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Ravens on Hold--Again : Baseball: Lighting delay postpones Antelope Valley team’s opener another day.

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TIMES STAFF WRITER

No bleachers. No beer. No lights.

And for at least one more day, no baseball.

A delay in light installation caused the postponement of the Antelope Valley Ravens’ home opener Friday night at Rosamond High in what was to mark the return of minor league baseball to the area.

The Ravens and the Imperial Valley Brahmas, members of the fledgling independent Golden State Baseball League, will give it another go tonight at 7 o’clock, provided that all six sets of lights are installed this afternoon.

The postponement was yet another setback for the GSBL, a project of Chatsworth investment banker Robert Weinstein, who has invested “six figures” of his own money to bring minor league baseball to the region for the first time in nine years.

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Among the problems:

* A six-team league has become four.

* A proposed 140-game schedule has shrunk to 78.

* Plans for $5-million multipurpose stadiums in each participating city are on hold until the league can square away its current sites.

The Ravens were initially supposed to play at Antelope Valley College, but talks broke down between the league and that school’s administration. Consequently, the team’s long-awaited home opener was pushed back to Friday night at Rosamond High’s Graves Field, in Kern County, where beer may not be served and where lights and bleachers had to be installed.

Now the opener has been pushed back again.

“We had so many people call the office today, saying they would bring blankets and sit on the grass if we’d just played baseball,” Weinstein said. “But the lights just weren’t ready.”

At 7 p.m., the scheduled start time, a smattering of fans--around 500 at the high point--heard not the crack of wood, but Weinstein’s cracking voice.

“Forgive us for not being ready,” Weinstein said over the public address system. “We’re doing the best we can. We want to bring you baseball.”

Players filled an hour signing autographs and partaking in a home-run hitting contest, at which even Weinstein took a few swings. Then the fans, disappointed but not necessarily angry, went home.

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“We’ve got some of the best fans in the country,” Weinstein said later. “If I were them, I would have hung me.”

Most, however, were more interested in when they would see hanging curveballs. Some wondered how to get their money refunded, a proposition Weinstein said he is not ready to consider yet.

“We want to get our money back,” said Suzanne Edrozo of Rosamond. “Maybe when they get everything together, we’ll come out here again. But right now, we’re just wasting our time.”

Fate Young hardly saw how a league of teams such as this could be a waste of time. The former Minnesota Twin coach was promoted to manager Friday when former major leaguer and Antelope Valley native Ellis Valentine moved up to the league front office to help Weinstein.

Young said that whenever this league starts, it will greatly enhance the lives of residents in the Antelope Valley and surrounding area.

“The people are ready for baseball,” Young said. “Most of all, we want to do everything we can to keep kids off the streets. This will help. Then there’s the jobs for the kids which the league will provide. And third, some of these kids playing might go on to play at a higher level.”

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Weinstein cited the Northern League, which he said has sold 30-40% of its players to major league affiliated contracts, as an independent league success story he expects to duplicate.

Jim Carson, not one of the 30% of Golden State League players with previous professional experience, hopes to be one of Weinstein’s success stories.

“This is a dream just to get a pro team out here,” said Carson, who recently pitched for San Francisco State.

“And it’s an opportunity for me. I thank Bob Weinstein for doing the best he can.”

Said Weinstein: “This isn’t our field of dreams yet. Maybe tomorrow.”

Friday, the people came, but, unlike the movie, the field wasn’t built.

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