Baseball crusader Steven “Iko” Brewer

A 25-year-old aspiring rapper and former West Sac Little League all-star wants to find the kids a field

PHOTO by liz lopez

To register your child for the 2018 season, go to Opening day is March 17.

Just a week before scheduled tryouts, the fields at Memorial Park that the West Sacramento Little League calls home hardly look ready for any sort of baseball. The thick, uncut infield grass would swallow any ground ball, and the basepaths are lined with clumps of dirt and divots that would trip up even the most attentive base runner. The poor field conditions are mostly fixable, and the least of the worries for West Sac’s only youth baseball league, because as of now they have no idea where they’ll be playing next year. Memorial Park is set to undergo renovations to make the park—which lacks sidewalks and indented curbs—more ADA-friendly, and those renovations will effectively end the league’s nearly 70-year-long residency. West Sacramento native Steven “Iko” Brewer is stepping forward, looking for help from the city’s most famous residents to ensure that the kids will have somewhere to play next season. Recently, the 25-year-old aspiring rapper and former West Sac Little League all-star pleaded with the Sacramento River Cats on social media, asking the team to help “keep kids’ dreams alive with a new park.” Now, after a strong response online, Brewer is increasing his efforts.

What was your reaction to the news of the park being shut down?

How can you do that to kids? To know that you’re not giving kids that opportunity—youth sports is so important, because who knows where kids could have ended up without it. This kept kids like me focused. All I had to worry about was my next game, my next practice, my next at-bat, my next pitch, my next catch. My buddy Albert [Manriquez] was like, “We can’t allow that.” Just looking at the field, [the city] just clearly don’t care. Baseball season is in a few days, this grass should be ready, it should be all leveled out. But they’ll get a new IKEA. They’ll get a Target, a Walmart. They just got approved for a movie theater. But you won’t do something for the kids?

Tell me about using social media to help the league.

Success, to me, is being able to assist with the situations that created me, and this was majorly impactful to my life. Baseball was everything to me. When I saw the news, it just didn’t make sense to me. We’ve got plans to get people together and do something to try to raise money to go to City Hall to say, “Hey, this is what we want to do, and this is what we want to bring to you.”

Social media can bring attention to anything. I understand the city is more focused on the economy part, but you’re not focusing on the future that’s going to keep the economy going. That’s more important. These kids are going to be what keeps our environment and economy thriving. When you break them down and take things they love away, what do they have to look forward to?

So, Albert said, “Let’s reach out to the River Cats; they’re residents.” What better way to give back then get the attention of the people the kids come and support so much? That alone keeps kids’ dreams alive, seeing the River Cats.

Has there been any response from the River Cats?

Not yet. But it doesn’t stop there. We’re reaching out to news stations, we’re not having a lot of responses from it but we’ve just got to push. Consistency is major in my opinion, and you just have to show them you’re serious.

Do you have kids or family in the league?

I do. I have a cousin who is in the league, and it’s crazy because he played basketball his whole life. Last year, he moved back to Sacramento from Reno and he told his dad, “I want to play baseball,” and he loves it. He plays on the small field. He’s a year away from this field and it’s like, right before he gets to the big field, that [thing] you wait for, that goes away. I called my cousin the other day and asked, “How does Pop feel about this?” And he’s torn. He loves this.

What’s the next step for you guys?

We’re going to work toward a fundraiser and I want to put something together here at the park, locally funded, everybody puts in for it. Maybe a barbeque, because that’s what they do for opening day, and just have people come out. I like to barbeque so I’d be the person on the grill, throwing down, making burgers and hotdogs, the usual ballpark stuff. Just see if we can get as many people in the community together as possible, and honestly, I think it can happen.

What’s your end goal?

You can’t just take that outlet away, because now the kids have nothing. I want to come to the point where the city, as a community—and that’s why I want the Giants’ and the River Cats’ help—gets a new park. You can only polish something for so long. After a while, everything has its time.