Not all fields closed after bomb scare

John Browne
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League games went ahead at leased facilities, while softball at Lions Park was cancelled

Mount Pearl Knights’ pitcher Terry Duffett throws a pitch to Raiders’ batter Steve Brien (unseen) during their St. John's Molson intermediate baseball game at St. Pat’s Ball Park Monday night. Waiting to make the call on the pitch coming into Knights’ catcher Mark French (15) is home plate umpire Graham MacEachern. The Raiders won 4-3. — Photo by Joe Gibbons/The Telegram

It’s all a bit confusing to Bill Barron of the Molson St. John’s Senior Softball League, and he may have a point.

Barron, the league’s secretary-treasurer, was informed early Monday evening that the league would have to cancel its games set for Monday night at Lions Park

Early reports had The City of St. John’s closing all outdoor recreation facilities at the recommendation of the RNC while safety checks were made after a suspicious package — later determined to be a homemade explosive device — was found at the Wedgewood Park Recreation Centre tennis courts.

According to Barron, at around 5:40 p.m., he was told of the need to cancel the games by a municipal parks and recreation official who deals with all of the facility bookings.

“I haven’t got a clue on this one,” said Barron. “It seems rather strange, but I don’t know.

“I mean, if there was a bomb scare at City Hall, would they shut down all city property? I don’t understand. It puzzles me. I’m lost.”

Adding to the confusion: intermediate baseball games at St. Pat’s Ball Park and soccer at King George V Park went ahead as scheduled.

Newfoundland and Labrador Soccer Association president Doug Redmond confirmed games — including Jubilee Trophy women’s matches,  were played at KGV Monday night.

“Staff at KGV thoroughly checked the facility before games were played,” noted Redmond.

Redmond said St. John’s Soccer League president Brian Murphy coordinated and oversaw the sweep of the facility.

“We made the decision to check it ourselves and we did,” said Murphy.

Murphy said after he was contacted by the city,  he proceeded to KGV and, along with five staff members, and searched the facility   “top to bottom.”

“We run the facility and we looked after it,” said Murphy, who noted the city-run Wishingwell field, where soccer games are also played, was closed for the evening.

Murphy said if they had found anything that was suspicious, they wouldn’t have played the games.

“If I had any qualms at all,” said Murphy, “I never would have put anyone in danger.”

St. John’s Molson Baseball League president Mark Healy said he was contacted around 2 p.m. and advised of the issue regarding sports fields.

He said two members of the staff at St Pat’s Ball Park and a couple of league executive members checked out the facility and that they didn’t find anything.

“We’re leaseholders,” explained Healy, “and, as such, we had the ability to make the decision to proceed with our games.”

Organizations: Senior Softball League, Wedgewood Park Recreation Centre, Newfoundland and Labrador Soccer Association Soccer League Molson Baseball League

Geographic location: Ball Park, King George V Park

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Recent comments

  • Joe it all
    August 07, 2012 - 14:15

    Unless Mr. Murphy and Mr. Healy had some kind of inside information and training on what exactly to look for this does not sound like a sensible move to me. Did they sift through any loose dirt and long grass and such? If they did without training and metal detectors and such they were very lucky that something didn't happen.

  • rtc
    August 07, 2012 - 09:01

    Just wondering if Mr. Murphy would be as quick to accept libility responsibility if something had happened during the game.