By Kristin Bednarski
After more than a year of preparation, Brian Wilson Field, a field funded by the Cincinnati Reds Community Fund, came to life April 16 when it was dedicated to its namesake.
An opening day field dedication ceremony was held at the field, which is located at the Batavia Township Community Center and will be used by the University of Cincinnati Clermont Cougar baseball team.
The field was a project completed by the Cincinnati Reds Community Fund, UC Clermont, and Batavia Township.
Cincinnati Reds player Jay Bruce, who donated part of his salary to the community fund, attended the ceremony as well as Cincinnati Reds CEO Bob Castellini, Cincinnati Reds announcer Marty Brennaman, several members of Brian Wilson’s family, and township and college officials.
“On behalf of the Cincinnati Reds, it is my privilege to join you today to dedicate this field,” Castellini said during the ceremony.
Castellini thanked UC Clermont Dean Gregory Sojka and Batavia Township trustees for their work on helping the project come together.
Castellini said Bruce wanted to name the field after Brian Wilson, a recruiter who influenced him decide to play for the Cincinnati Reds. Wilson died from a heart attack in 2006. He was 33 years old.
“He used his donation to fund a project worthy of honoring Brian,” Castellini said. “To the Wilson family, we are proud to join Jay in recognizing Brian’s contributions to the Reds organization.”
Bruce said the finished field looks great, and he wished UC Clermont players good luck playing their games on the field.
He said donating funds for the field to honor Wilson is the least he could do.
“It’s not even close to the gratitude I have for him,” Bruce said.
Bruce said Wilson was one of the most genuine and nice people he has met. Bruce said he wanted to show his appreciation for the impact Wilson had on his life.
Bruce also presented Wilson’s family, including his wife Prairie and daughters Carson, Conor and Curry, with a memento of the field.
Carson, Conor and Curry took a moment to talk about their father, and thanked everyone involve for dedicating the field to him.
Brian’s wife, Prairie, said the gesture means a lot to her and her daughters.
“This is such an honor and privilege, and it will carry on Brian’s legacy,” Prairie Wilson said. “It is a place where the girls will be able to bring their children and remember him.”
Following the ceremony, UC Clermont Cougars played a double header against Alice Lloyd College.
UC Clermont Cougars player Lawson Wishard, a freshman, said being able to play on Brian Wilson Field is amazing.
“It’s somewhere we can call home,” Wishard said.
UC Clermont Athletic Director Brian Sullivan thanked everyone at the ceremony for making it possible for the baseball team to have a home field.
“The best way we can continue to thank people is to put on a professional program here and make sure this field is a legacy in Cincinnati for years to come,” Sullivan said.