Field of Dreams

SC baseball team gives back to Detroit community, finds home at The Corner Ballpark


Photo courtesy of Schoolcraft College

Schoolcraft’s Men’s Baseball team, shown here during the 2021 season, calls The Corner Ballpark home. Off the field, the Ocelots assist in community outreach by helping the Detroit Police Athletic League.

Ben Bolstrum, Editor-in-Chief

Good players inspire themselves. Great players inspire others. At the corner of Michigan and Trumbull in Detroit, at The Corner Ballpark, the Schoolcraft Men’s Baseball team is doing just that. The Ocelots have partnered with the Detroit Police Athletic League (PAL) who operates The Corner Ballpark to give back to the community through various outreach programs and also have claimed this location as its new den.

A Schoolcraft Men’s Baseball player works with a Tiny Tiger participant. The Tiny Tigers is a T-Ball/Coach pitch program under the Detroit PAL umbrella. (Photo courtesy of Schoolcraft College)

Before PAL, the ballpark was the site of Tiger Stadium, home of the Detroit Tigers, a staple of Detroit. In 2015, PAL launched the Kids at the Corner Campaign and ended up raising $20 million to redevelop the site which eventually came to be known as the Corner Ballpark.

This wasn’t the only part of the facility that got a new coat of paint, because the field would come to be known as the Willie Horton Field of Dreams, and the rest is history. Now, this is the place where the magic happens for Detroit PAL, and also home away from home for Schoolcraft.

“We signed a formal contract with Detroit PAL and the Corner Ballpark for 10 years,” explains Schoolcraft head coach Rob Fay. “That allows us to practice and play games there during the spring. Now we’ve gone above and beyond as far as the baseball team goes, we spend a lot of hours down there doing community service and volunteering to run their Tiny Tigers Foundation baseball camps.”

The Tiny Tigers is a T-Ball/Coach pitch program under the Detroit PAL umbrella. This program was made for both boys and girls between the ages of four and eight. Players are required to bring their own mitts and masks, but cleats are not required and uniforms will be provided when the initial registration fee is paid.

Detroit PAL and the Corner Ballpark have an ongoing relationship with the Tiny Tiger’s Foundations which has led to a collaboration between all three groups. As a result, members of the Schoolcraft baseball team pass out stamps to youth in the area every year for the Tiny Tiger Foundation. The camps began last year, but will continue on for the foreseeable future. It is an agreement that everyone looks at fondly and can be proud of. Something to really look forward to and be a part of every year.

In addition to the Tiny Tigers program the baseball team have assisted with handing out food to people in the community.

A Tiny Tiger participant takes a swing at the ball during one of the Tiny Tiger baseball clinics at The Corner Ballpark in Detroit, Michigan. The Schoolcraft Mens Baseball team assists with teaching the kids various baseball skills during the program. (Photo courtesy of Schoolcraft College)

“We’ve done different events for them (PAL),” explains Fay. “We helped them out at turkey giveaways, MLB has an organization that passes out food to the needy so our guys have volunteered at those events, so it really gives us an opportunity to get involved with different communities and volunteer and get our guys out to provide help to those who need it.”

In March 2021, hundreds of families received free turkeys as part of an initiative by Meijer to donate to food banks in the Midwest to ease food insecurity during the pandemic. The Ocelots made it a priority to lend a hand to the cause.

Fay sees these activities as character building and hopes his team takes it to heart. The value of teamwork is too strong to let go and pulling others up when they’re down is just another day for them.

“I just think all in all, it gives our players an opportunity to appreciate what they have,” states Fay. “They need to appreciate the opportunities they have and to be a mentor to the youth and give those children, someone to look up to. They get the chance to give back and pay it forward.”

Top notch facilities

The Corner Ballpark partnership has been an all-around win for the Ocelots.

“From a baseball standpoint, it puts us in the best ballpark in the conference, and maybe in all of junior college baseball, potentially. A plush facility, it makes sense the fact that it’s an all-turf facility. In the winter and with our sports dome practice on turf so its kind of lends to that home field advantage because we are the only turf field in the conference.” This advantage allows practicing Schoolcraft players to familiarize themselves with the conditions they will face on game day without having to adapt.

The National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) allows this facility usage which inspires confidence for the players who get to practice on the Field of Dreams. The only stipulation is that Schoolcraft’s baseball team may utilize the facility from Aug. 10 until Nov. 15 before breaking for the winter. A quarter of the year to hone their skills and camaraderie before game day. This luxury allows them to branch out from the Schoolcraft campus and benefit from PAL’s services as well as those at Schoolcraft itself.

Two things are clear from this partnership. Dreams will continue to be made on and off the field, and Schoolcraft baseball and the Detroit Police Athletic League will always be the best of pals.

Find out more about the Corner Ballpark on the Detroit PAL website. More information about the Tiny Tigers Foundation can be found at