The Kings Bay Youth Organization’s little league held its first baseball game of the season on Sunday, April 6. To kick off the beginning of the season, children from the the teams, along with parents and members of the community, walked in a parade down Nostrand Avenue that filled the otherwise lazy Sunday air with cheers and drums.
More than 80 people took part in the parade, which started on Nostrand Avenue and Avenue V and ended in the youth organization’s baseball fields on Coyle Street and Voorhies Avenue. The baseball league has been around since 1956 and the current head of the league is Larry Umland. While the organization has always held a parade to start the playing season, this year the celebration seemed especially appropriate.
“You see this whole area?” Umland said as he toured the baseball grounds with a sponsor Catherine Bradley. “This whole area was under water. That winter [after Superstorm Sandy], we turned this field into an ice skating ring.”
Bradley’s organization, the Baseball Tomorrow Fund, had donated $15,000 to the youth organization to help rebuild after Sandy. Among the many things the money paid for were new scoreboards, a pitching machine, many storage lockers and a smart little golf car that gleamed in the Sunday light.
“Here we are now, ready to go for the season,” Umland said while children in baseball uniforms hung around and waited for the game to start.
Umland and other organizers explained that the one reason for holding a parade is to get the community involved and hopefully get more children to join the league. Marching south on Nostrand Avenue, with crashing symbols and banging drums, is definitely one way of getting attention.
Anthony Georgopoulos, a parent and organizer for the organization, boasted of the high number of people who came out to walk in the parade.
“We definitely have more people this year than we did last year,” he said. “And we want to keep moving in that direction, getting as many kids to play as possible.”
State Senator Marty Golden and Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein met the parade in the baseball field, where they took to the mound for ceremonial first pitches to officially kcik off the season.
“This was all done by people like yourselves,” Umland told a crowd of children and parents on the field. “Please get involved and keep this going. Okay, play ball.”