PITTSFIELD -- Operators of the Berkshire Softball Center and city police will take steps to prevent further trouble at the recreational facility next season.
Center manager Molly Montemagni plans to hold at least three meetings with team managers, umpires and staff, reminding them to report any incidents on the field and in the parking lots, especially physical altercations. The pledge comes in response to an incident two months ago involving an intoxicated man who was eventually arrested.
"I've been struggling to change the culture of the place," Montemagni told the Pittsfield Licensing Board on Monday. "I don't have any tolerance for violent behavior."
Pittsfield police Lt. Michael Grady expects to be part of those pre-season conversations.
"I will personally go out there this spring and make sure we're all on the same page," he added. "What we're looking for from all the establishments is they be good neighbors."
The comments came during the board's show-cause hearing that began in September to review the Sept. 3 incident involving a player who was intoxicated and causing a disturbance on the field. The city-owned softball complex is currently closed for the season, scheduled to reopen next spring.
Montemagni was appearing before the board for the first time, after the five member panel in October criticized her for being a no-show last month and continued the hearing until the November meeting. She said working a retail job prevented her from attending the previous two meetings, which is why she sent her attorney, Jeffrey Lynch, to represent her at the hearing
According to a police report, investigators in plain clothes who responded around 8 p.m. on Sept. 3 saw the intoxicated man "kicked off the field by his own team," walk to a vehicle in the parking lot and return with an alcoholic drink in a can.
Montemagni, who is the holder of the softball complex liquor license, noted the man wasn't served alcohol by her staff and the incident was never reported to her by players, spectators or the police.
After observing the situation, officers confronted the man, displayed their badges, tried to calm him and get him to leave the field. The man "squared off with officers" and was subdued before being arrested.
Lynch had said the bar area does not allow a view of the fields, and although the operators do check the parking lot for "tailgate" drinking -- which is prohibited -- no one checked the fields during the 15- to 20 minute disturbance. On Monday, Lynch indicated his client also will consider installing cameras on the field and parking lots to better monitor the facility.
The operators already prohibit alcohol being brought in coolers and drinking in the dugouts.
To reach Dick Lindsay:
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