BAJA Sporting Club serves the greater Green Valley-Sahuarita area through sports, organized social activities and by assisting local civic programs. Our club currently has approximately 350 active members who regularly participate in club sponsored senior sports activities (including softball, golf, and bowling) as well as engage in fundraising and volunteer efforts to assist local charities and civic activities.
To be recognized as the "Best Senior Sports Club" in southern Pima County by providing quality opportunities for its members to participate in senior sports and social-civic activities.
To assist active seniors in the greater Green Valley, Arizona region to maximize their retirement years by providing members the best in sports programs, recreational, and social activities. To assist the greater community of southern Pima County's Green Valley area by assisting with charitable events and local civic programs. To advance the development of plans for local public recreation facilities that serve our members and the community.
- Dedicated to providing organized recreational and social-civic activities for active senior members based upon core values of diversity, dignity and respect.
- Maintain a focused commitment to developing new social and recreational programs to further improve the diverse life styles of its members.
- All members are empowered to develop and promote good sportsmanship and demonstrate exemplary citizenship in all of BAJA's activities.
- Welcome all senior families in the greater Green Valley-Sahuarita area wishing to join and actively support BAJA's Vision, Mission, and Values.
- Help interested seniors achieve a diverse and satisfying life style through sports, social activities and civic projects.
- Obtain the year-round use of sports complexes from public recreational departments to help meet growing needs of BAJA members.
- Continue to advance development of public recreation facilities that meet the community’s needs.
- Maintain BAJA as an incorporated 501(c)(3) non-profit organization managed by a Board of Directors to ensure BAJA's plans are skillfully and thoughtfully executed.
- Continue to select and train a team of members who are interested and capable in long-range planning, managing, and promoting the BAJA Sporting Club.
In 1996 a committee of interested softball players from the Green Valley, Arizona area started meeting to review and discuss the viability of forming a team sports group. Many members of the committee had played and/or coached competitive sports in high school, college, or the military. They foresaw the growing need for an organized sports club that would give continuing recreational direction for the rapidly growing senior community in the greater Green Valley, Arizona region. Initially, the club sports focused on softball and golf. Bowling was added later.
In 1998 the BAJA Sporting Club formally organized as an Arizona non-profit organization. Original committee members were Jim Kelly (the first President), Ivan Allison, Chuck Catino, Ray Fleener, Mickey Green, Jim Carr, and John Fawcett. BAJA now respectfully refers to this group of visionaries as the club's "Founding Fathers."
Playing softball late in life is often an act of rebirth for former athletes, many who haven’t played in years. When formative member, Jimmy Pickard, mentioned he played back east in a senior softball league called Born Again Jocks (B.A.J.), the Founders referenced our location, Baja, Arizona ("Lower Arizona" in Spanish, pronounced Baha) and chose the name “Born Again Jocks Association” or B.A.JA. There is no religious affiliation, but lots of physical and social fun!
From Anamax to Sahuarita Park
BAJA softball started as one league playing softball at Anamax Park and later at the Sahuarita Park fields. The club helped maintain the fields by buying a tractor (Ivan Allison, Ron Klopf)-- much to Pima County’s appreciation, putting BAJA in good standing with the County.
Walden Grove High School opened for the 2011-12 school year next to Sahuarita Park. The school expected to use the fields during the times that BAJA softball had pre-arranged with Pima County. BAJA had been developing and maintaining the ball fields for years. The County ruled the school could not deny BAJA’s use of these public fields. After much negotiation, creativity and a school auditorium full of BAJA softball players, the school agreed to contribute $160,000 to help BAJA build their own fields in exchange for exclusive use of the Sahuarita Park fields.
Development of Canoa Preserve Park and The Chuck Catino Softball Complex
About the Catino Softball Complex
Canoa Preserve Park
Green Valley’s First County Park
Chuck Catino and other BAJA members worked with Pima County to build the first county park in Green Valley, Canoa Preserve Park. Chuck Catino said the idea for a park was hatched in 2003, and really got off the ground when the Canoa Preserve LLC said it would donate the land. The 53-acre Canoa Preserve Park, is built on a former sand-and-gravel site donated by Canoa Preserve Development Partners. Caterpillar, Sierra Mining and Crushing, and Farmers Investment Co. donated $1.2 million in services to build the park. BAJA raised $135,000; the Sahuarita Unified School District raised $160,000, and Pima County donated $250,000. Build-out will cost about $6.5 million. The Canoa Preserve Park was dedicated on Tuesday, March 26th, 2013. Activities included a home-run derby and a softball game featuring athletes from the Born Again Jocks Association, or BAJA, and the Special Olympics.
Canoa Preserve Park wins an award
The American Public Works Association (APWA) awarded Pima County their 2013 best practices and projects award for the unique partnership between the county, a community organization and a company (Fico). The Pima County “Natural Resources, Parks and Recreation received Project of the Year award for Canoa Preserve Park, in Green Valley, in the Small Cities and Rural Communities category. It is the first county park in the Green Valley retirement community.
Dedication of the Catino Softball Complex
Chuck Catino was integral in developing BAJA’s award-winning partnership with Pima County to create the softball complex in Canoa Preserve Park. The Pima County Board of Supervisors, Supervisor Ray Carroll, District 4; and Pima County Natural Resources, Parks and Recreation invited the public to the dedication of the Chuck Catino Softball Complex on March 1, 2014. Chuck “led the charge for Green Valley’s first public park. He secured more than 1.8 million of in-kind and financial contributions for Canoa Preserve Park…and was fondly referred to by Carroll as “the Energizer Bunny for the softball park.”
→ Webcms.pima.gov - Catino Softball Complex Dedication
As of August 2021, Canoa Preserve Park currently has:
- three adult softball fields
- covered bleachers at each field
- drinking fountains
- ramada with two picnic tables and a grill
- trail linking the park with the Anza Trail via the Abrego Trail head is under construction
Existing plans for the park include a fourth adult softball field, off-leash dog park facility, pickleball courts, youth soccer field, playground, pedestrian path, concession building, a bandshell, additional ramadas, picnic areas, restrooms, and parking.