Johnson City

Johnson City to re-name Little League field for long-time volunteers

Johnson City to re-name Little League field for long-time volunteers

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. - Two long-time Johnson City Little League volunteers are being honored for decades of service to the program. The city has decided to re-name Neighborhood Field at Kiwanis Park, the Arrowood-Mashburn Field.

Kenny Arrowood spent about 37 years as a coach, teaching kids about sportsmanship and commitment. He passed away a few years ago.

John Mashburn has been making the tough calls as an umpire for 43 years and told us he doesn't plan to retire any time soon.

"They know me and I try to know them and it's just part of it," said Mashburn.

Mashburn started volunteering at the field in 1973, after he served two years in the U.S. Army and graduated from ETSU. He also spent 37 years as a state parole officer.

During his free time, he taught young baseball players what it takes to be great.

"Got to hustle, your mannerism on the field, and sportsmanship is a big thing," said Mashburn.

League President Stephen Pugh told us Mashburn has been the cornerstone of the organization.

"To this day he's the first man here, probably the last to leave," said Pugh. "He's always here making sure things are ready for games and everybody has their stuff ready."

Mashburn's dedication took him all the way to the Little League World Series. He told us umpires spend years training for the opportunity and each ump only gets once chance to call a game at the tournament.

"I dreamed of it and I got to call an International League game, Japan," he said. "I've always dreamed of calling a game behind the plate and I did get that up there."

He said his greatest accomplishment however, has been helping players go on to college and even pro-ball. Mashburn called Little League games for Toronto Blue Jays player Daniel Norris and Major League umpire Will Little.
 
Other players he worked with, like Malcolm Foreman, followed in his footsteps.

"When I got out of high school, I started umpiring and he sort of took me under his wing and we've been together since then," said Foreman.

They've volunteered together for about 30 years now. Foreman told us Mashburn has done more than call games, he's build a community around the sport.

"Over the years we've had people who went through some bad times, who've been through the league as a player, as parents, and he's the first to step up and try to help them," said Foreman.

The community is now saying thank-you by naming the field after Mashburn and his long-time friend and coach Kenny Arrowood.

"It humbles you and, emotionally, I get upset because it's a big honor," said Mashburn.

The naming ceremony will take place on Saturday on opening day. The events start at 9:00 a.m.


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