When Joe Sutherland woke up the morning of Sunday, June 15, he got in his car, drove over to Cook Park and prepared to check the baseball fields, as he does every weekend. But when Sutherland arrived at Rogowicz field, what he saw was hardly the sight he views every Saturday and Sunday morning.
Some signs were down and I thought maybe there was a storm that knocked them down. That happens sometimes, said Sutherland, "But then I noticed the sprinkler heads were kicked off and I knew something wasn't right."
Sutherland said that the vandals entered the field by cutting through the fence with a type of fence cutter in what appeared to be only the beginning of several acts of vandalism at Cook Park. Then, Sutherland speculated the vandal or vandals dismantled several of the sprinkler heads and tore up the tarp that covers the home plate area. The tarp itself, according to Sutherland, cost between $400 and $600.
When Sutherland drove to the second field, Kuhn field, on Sunday, the sight was not much better.
"They dismantled about 14 to 15 sprinkler heads over there," said Sutherland, who said the vandalism also included the de-hinging of the sprinklers and a pipe connected to the concession stand being busted open, allowing water to pour all over the ground through the night, as well as painting the building walls with profanity.
As a result, several baseball games Sunday had to be cancelled, including a championship game for a league made up of 13-year-old players. "Sunday morning was supposed to be our championship games so those were obviously postponed and we have to reschedule them for next Saturday," said Ed Walsh, manager of the team.
"We don't have the insurance to cover vandalism like this," said Sutherland, who also said that he estimates the cost to restore the fields to their original state would be about $3,000. Sutherland said, luckily, the Village has agreed to help by paying for the restoration of the fence and John Deere Landscapes has offered to donate 20 brand new sprinkler heads to the association.
According to Colonie Detective Lt. John VanAlstyne, who is conducting an investigation on this case, there are not yet any suspects. "We just started it," said Lt. VanAlstyne, "We're looking for help from the community." If you have any information regarding the vandalism at Cook Park, contact Colonie Police at 783-2811.