05 October 17 The Straits Times by ALVIN CHIA
The new year will bring a new home - albeit a temporary one - for the baseball and softball fraternity.
They will move to Farrer Park after vacating their premises at the Kallang Diamonds following the expiry of the lease at the end of December.
The lease for Kallang - home for the past two decades - had been extended for the second time in the past year. The two sports were originally supposed to move out of Kallang when the lease expired on Dec 31 last year, but they were granted an extension until Sept 30.
This was further extended two weeks ago till the end of the year.
Sport Singapore (SportSG) has earmarked the Kallang site, which hosted the 2015 SEA Games softball competition, to be developed for community sport activities such as football.
While the Singapore Baseball and Softball Association (SBSA) waits for a new permanent home - believed to be in Jurong East - to be built, Farrer Park field will be a holding ground for them to conduct national team training.
SBSA and SportSG are also in talks about the possibility of continuing the use of one diamond at Kallang next year. Kallang houses a softball diamond, a baseball diamond and an infield diamond.
Home till end-2017, with the original lease having ended last year before two extensions.
Home from 2018 till permanent home is ready. But the ground, heavily used by frisbee players, cricketers and footballers, is not flat and the surface is grass.
Possible site of permanent home to be built.
The additional time granted for the SBSA to use the Kallang field ensures that there will be minimal disruption to the national women's softball team as they prepare for the Nov 29-Dec 4 Asian Women's Softball Championship in Taiwan.
Team captain Magdelyn Chow, 28, said: "In the lead-up to the competition, the team have increased their training intensity.
"This has been an eventful year with major player and coaching changes, so having a familiar ground helps the new players and coach adjust more easily.
"This also allows us to train at ease, as we have a proper ground to practise team tactics and situational plays, other than only basic movements."
Relocating to Farrer Park clears some uncertainty surrounding their future training ground, at least for now.
Chow said: "Looking at the big picture, it is good to have a clear indication of a training place."
But SBSA president Foo Pei also had some concerns, noting: "We have taken a look at the new ground. It's heavily used by frisbee, cricket and football players. We've asked for a fence to be set up.
"The ground is not flat and it's grass. But at Kallang and at competitions, we play on even ground. So these concerns might affect the national teams when they train there."
Chow added: "We would have to adapt and balance between having effective training within our assigned area while not affecting the surrounding public users.
"With three active national teams training - the men's baseball and the men's and women's softball teams, we might have to source for alternative fields to accommodate all the teams."
The Straits Times understands that negotiations about the SBSA's permanent home are still ongoing. The SBSA hopes it can be finalised soon so that the fraternity can move to their new home next year.
SBSA secretary-general Sheng Thong Yin said: "The most important thing now is that we continue to have a place to train."