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Semi-pro baseball team could build base in Atwater

ATWATER — It could be déjà vu all over again. San Jose resident Richard Ruiz is trying to revive America’s pastime in Atwater by forming a semi-professional baseball team to play during the summer. If the 28-year-old’s plans are a hit, the first pitch will be thrown in 2009 at Firemen’s Memorial Ball Park.

“(The field) perfect for what we need,” Ruiz explained. “I love the backdrop of the water tower in center field and the ivy.”

Longtime residents will remember that the Atwater Packers played during the 1940s and 1950s, and Ruiz plans to use that name if the team takes the field.

Ruiz, who estimates the cost of electrical work during the day, started the San Jose Braves a few years back when he still wanted to play baseball but couldn’t compete at the college level. The team has slowly become more talented, and he’s since handed responsibilities off to a friend.

He pitched his admittedly conservative business plan Thursday to the city’s Parks and Recreation Commission, which decided to form a subcommittee to work with him to figure out if the plan will fly.