Baseball’s Opening Day in Brooklyn



“Baseball has stood the test of time in our neighborhoods and cities,” said Park Slope resident Javier Rosario, the Director of Fundraising for St. Francis Xavier Youth Sports and long-time Brooklyn baseball parent, coach, and advocate. “There’s no better way to start the new season than with a parade to celebrate our “old friend” (baseball) coming back home!!!”

This enthusiasm, shared by hundreds of baseball and softball players, will march up 7th Avenue from Garfield to 9th Street tomorrow morning starting at 10am.

Ditmas Park resident and SFX Huskies 11u 2nd baseman Henry, remembers his first time marching as a Pee-Wee. “I was nervous because I was walking with a team and coach I didn’t know,” Henry said. He added, “Now I’m on the travel team and we are the leaders. It’s exciting.”

Baseball and softball players learn valuable lessons competing at any level.  Hitting a baseball is among the most difficult skills in sport as even successful MLBers succeed only 30% of the time.  This teaches children perseverance.

Steve Reiser, Kensington resident and Director of SFX Huskies Travel Baseball added, “Learning to handle competitive baseball at an early age against other top teams prepares kids for high school baseball. Most Huskies players go on to succeed on their high school teams.”

Rosario’s wife, Ivonne Rosario, was the Parade Organizer from 2004 to 2011 and hopes for, “lots of fun and smiles and hopefully bright weather.” As a matter of fact, Saturday’s weather is predicted to be in the low 50s, perfect for Opening Day. Still, we’ve pulled together tips for a successful parade:

  1. Dress Warm—April weather is unpredictable. As soon as the sun goes behind a cloud it’s chilly.  Under Armor-style long underwear is perfect for under baseball uniforms!
  2. Baseball hat, glove, and uniform—yes, kids need to march in their uniforms. Don’t forget their gloves!
  3. Sunscreen—You’ll be outside from 9:30am when teams gather until the end of your child’s 2-hour game.
  4. Camera—Nothing is more adorable than your child in a parade!
  5. Coach’s cell number—Rain is predicted for Friday and not all the fields drain well. Check in with your coach for last minute changes.

Although teams play their first game this weekend, the baseball season will run through the end of June. The question is, then, how to make the season a success.

Mike Bautz, Ditmas Park father of 4 and a 9-year veteran at coaching Pee Wees, offers some helpful tips:

  • Parents are needed as 1st and 3rd base coaches, even at the Pee Wee level.
  • One parent needs to be in charge of bats. 5-year olds love swinging bats and can do damage.
  • It’s tough to see your kid strike out but give them to opportunity to overcome disappointment.
  • No juice boxes in the dugout! Snacks are for before and after the game.

~The last one is likely the most difficult~

  • No parents in the dugout! Let your ball player experience being coached. They’ll learn a lot and so will you.

Ladies and Gentlemen, play ball!


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