The ceremony was short, sweet and brought tears to the eyes of many in attendance.

Last Saturday — on Opening Day of the Sheridan Recreation Program’s baseball season — several hundred people gathered around Diamond 1 at Biddle Memorial Park for the revealing of “The Joe Grinstead Jr. Memorial Field.”

Joe Grinstead Jr. died on April 7, after he lost a battle with a rare, fast-acting tumor. Those who knew him knew he was always ready to pitch in and help without hesitation, Sheridan Town Council Vice President Steve Fisher said to the mixed crowd of Grinsteads and their friends.

Fisher turned his gaze upon Joe Grinstead Jr.’s wife, Kristy, and his sons, Evan, 13, Hayden, 10, and Owen, 6.

“We want to thank (you) for allowing us to share so much time with your husband and dad,” Fisher said. “He loved coaching his boys and the kids in the community … If he wasn’t on the field coaching, he was making sure the field was ready for the next team. He was so giving of his time to the Sheridan Recreation Program.”

Joe Grinstead Jr. didn’t play many sports growing up in Sheridan. His father, Joe Grinstead Sr., drove a truck and worked as a hay farmer. “We really didn’t have time for a lot of sports,” Joe Grinstead Sr. said.

The time for sports in Joe Grinstead Jr.’s life arrived with his sons. And he embraced it with all of his heart.

In 2009, he started out as part of the crew for field improvements, Kristy Grinstead said. Then, he was asked to take over the baseball program. In addition to his role as baseball commissioner, Joe Grinstead Jr. coached basketball, football and, of course, baseball.

During games, he’d often sit in his favorite spot — on a bucket outside of the dugout — observing the action from his upturned perch.

Michelle Junkins, a lifelong friend of the Grinsteads, marveled at the way Joe Grinstead Jr. stayed positive, even when his tumor caused him to lose sight in his right eye.

“He never let his illness get him down, even though his eye was swollen shut,” Junkins said. “A week before he had emergency surgery, he took the basketball team to get some ice cream.”

Joe Grinstead Jr. was diagnosed with a tumor in February that doctors initially thought was benign. After surgery, however, they discovered the cancer was malignant.

Sheridan and surrounding communities united and showered the Grinsteads with love and support. #TeamJoe was created as a rallying call for all those who Joe Grinstead Jr. had touched throughout his life.

More than 1,000 people attended his funeral. Kristy Grinstead said the love and support helped her find solace in tragedy.

“I just cried,” she said. “This has been a tough, tough, tough time. To see all the lives he’s touched … it’s nice to know there’s other people to help you get through it.”

Kristy Grinstead found out in April that the town board was dedicating Diamond 1 to her husband. It was overwhelming, she said, that they thought enough of him to name the field in his honor.

“It’s very touching — what the community and the rec board has done for our family and how much they appreciate all that (Joe’s) done for this park,” she said. “He enjoyed it. He enjoyed the kids — he enjoyed teaching them. Not just how to play sports, but the fundamentals of life.”

Joe Grinstead Jr.’s son, Hayden, played the first game of the 2018 season on Diamond 1. His dad would have coached him.

After the final out, Hayden jumped on the tractor and prepped the field for the next game. Just like Dad.