Backyard ball


Growing up in Fairmont, John Schuh lived by the middle school baseball field and was able to play the sport as often as he could.

“And I want the same for my boys,” Schuh said. Schuh has two sons, Alex and David, who are also both into baseball.

So with the help of a few family friends, Schuh built a baseball field in his own backyard.

“To have something out here where we can just step out the door and play is what we’re shooting for,” Schuh said. “We love baseball. It’s something for the neighborhood kids to play in.”

Schuh played ball through college in Mankato and was on the Milroy Yankees amateur baseball team for years. He was also an assistant coach for the Yankees.

Schuh was coaching his boys’ team in Tracy when he had an idea.

“With the coach-pitch (team), I wanted to develop a field, so my kids can play every day,” Schuh said.

Last year, Schuh worked on the infield.

“It’s a two-year project,” Schuh said. “I had a vision for it, it’s shaping up.”

Schuh’s wife Stacy said she could hardly believe it when the work started on the field.

“The first day, I had come home from work, and he dug up the grass,” Stacy Schuh said.

Schuh said several people have assisted him with his vision.

“I had a lot of help from neighbors and friends,” Schuh said. Tim Zwach assisted with the dirt work, Schuh said, and Eric Squires helped with the fencing. Kenny Lanoue used a skidloader to help create the infield. Pat Dolan helped with the layout of the field. John Lanoue, Dean Zwach and Jeff Knott also lent a hand, Schuh said.

The field is 95 feet down the lines, Schuh said. The power alleys are 105 feet, and center field is 120 feet.

Schuh and Squires put up an American flag stands right behind center field.

“We thought it would be a nice touch for the ballfield,” Schuh said.

Schuh said center field needed to be re-seeded once the bumps in the lawn were taken care of.

Schuh’s sons said they were appreciative of what their father had done for them and their friends.

“It’s awesome,” David Schuh said.

“I get batting practice,” Alex Schuh said.

“They love playing ball with each other and other kids,” Schuh said.

On a recent Thursday afternoon, Schuh’s sons played some ball with Ashley and Alec Zwach and Ashton and Taylor Squires. Schuh even hit a few so the kids could do some fielding.

“Here Dad, hit to me or Taylor,” Alex Schuh said.

Then Eric Squires was encouraged to take a turn at bat.

“Guys, another homer I bet,” said David Schuh to those in the outfield.

Schuh said there are plans to build a utility building so the kids could practice hitting during the winter. He also has other ideas in store.

“I plan to do baseball instruction for kids out here,” Schuh said. He said he would videotape the kids’ swings and fielding and help them become better ball players.

“It’ll be fun to have 20 kids out here,” Schuh said.

Besides the backstop, Schuh said he still needs to put in the baselines.

“It’s coming, little by little,” Schuh said.

He also mentioned making a warning track for the fence and a spectator fence.

“There’s a lot of improvements over time,” he said.