At long last, Elden "Butch" Alexander has a proper vantage point to kick back and survey the Lumberyard metamorphosis he's been instrumental in fueling over the last decade.
Approximately 120 of the 170 seats Alexander helped salvage from Dodger Stadium in 2008 have finally been installed at the Lumberyard, home of the R.A. Long baseball team. Materials for the project cost almost $20,000, a hefty pile of cash that Alexander has been raising for years through donations and auction events — the fourth annual version of which is slated for March 24.
The bulk of the labor was donated by RAL alum Josh Wright's construction firm, with some finishing work supplied by volunteers like Dave Foslien, who retired from J.H. Kelley and was tinkering with the brackets for the final row of seats with Alexander on Wednesday morning.
The March 24 auction, which Alexander promises will be the best yet, will begin nourishing the nest egg for his next Lumberyard ambition: stadium lights.
The Dodger-blue seats were obtained while Alexander's youngest son, John, was a baseball player at Chapman University in Southern California. Chapman played Cal Lutheran, and Alexander had a friend whose son played for Cal Lutheran, which had seats from Dodger Stadium made available by renovations at the venerable ballyard nestled in Los Angeles' Chavez Ravine.
Cal Lutheran "had plenty left over," Alexander told The Daily News in 2008. "They were ours if we came down and picked them up."
R.A. Long assistant athletic director and wrestling coach Darin Dollemore drove a truck to Southern California and hauled the seats back to Longview, overnight.
The seats languished while other, less-expensive projects around the Lumberyard were completed: new seating, a concessions and press building, batting cages, new dugouts, sprinkler system, drainage, protective netting behind home plate...
Alexander, who received the Larry Linville "Special Service to Baseball Award" at the 23rd Annual Washington State Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame Induction Luncheon on Nov. 20, 2010 at Safeco Field in Seattle, helped install the seats along with Foslien and Rick Loewen. Foslien, Loewen, Rob Dahl, Ken Ruffe and Lloyd Solon helped assemble them.