Read Part Two: Howard baseball's future ain't what it used to be
Last summer, Jon Johnson, a 31-year old Spanish teacher and baseball coach from north Alabama, accepted a job at The Howard School. As a sort of celebration, he drove two friends over to the school to see the baseball field.
Or what was left of it.
They drove around back, near the decaying track and crumbling football stadium, next to the building where they pass out food boxes for the weekend, across from the dead-end road where police sit watching from patrol cars, just beyond the interstate exhaust and rumble.
Johnson parked. The three looked out at what may have been the most neglected field in the county.