Play Ball Again! Little League Opens 2013 Registration
Rockaway Little League (RLL), whose fields and clubhouse miraculously survived Sandy largely intact, has opened online registration for its landmark 60th season. Parents can sign up their boys and girls at www.rockawaylittleleagueny.com.
In hopes of easing the burden of families affected by the superstorm, RLL is cutting registration fees by $50 across the board. No child will be turned away due to financial challenges. The Board of Directors is determined to get as many children as possible back out among their friends, enjoying the normalcy of sports. The League is also reducing ticket prices to below cost for the postponed Awards Breakfast and for Opening Day.
The annual Awards Breakfast has been rescheduled to Sunday, February 24 at 9:30 a.m. Reduced price tickets ($20 per person) are on sale now. The annual Opening Day extravaganza is slated for Saturday, April 20th. Given all that families and children have been through, it should be a truly grand opening to Rockaway Little League’s 60th season.
In 2013, RLL is transitioning to wood bats only for the older divisions. Since many families lost all of their equipment to flood or fire, the League is pursuing donations and discounts from Little League International, Modell’s, Hillerich & Bradsby, and other sources.
This season will also be the first year of a seven-year lease between Little League and Gateway National Recreation Area (GNRA). The negotiations, which took more than two years to complete, place a very small financial burden on RLL. The League will continue to maintain the five ball fields in Fort Tilden and share them with other organizations. The participation of Senator Charles Schumer’s office was once again essential to a good outcome.
“Chuck Schumer hit a home run when he got us into Fort Tilden in 1994. He hit a grand slam for Rockaway Little League in 2012. It was looking gloomy until the Senator got involved,” said Marty Andresen, President of Rockaway Little League.
The outlook was also gloomy after Sandy swept over parts of Fort Tilden and nearby Roxbury. No preparations were made to protect the fields or stored equipment from such a tidal surge. A loss of all equipment and significant damage to the grass seemed likely. Instead, providence somehow protected the facility for Rockaway’s children.
The clubhouse did not take on any water. The fields were left messy but were not smothered in sand like so much of the peninsula. They will be ready for action on Opening Day. The clubhouse needs a few roof shingles and a water pump for the sprinklers. The Rockaway Little League-Gateway NRA sign will also have to be replaced.
Diamond Dust: The Awards Breakfast will again be held at El Caribe. Robby Schwach will emcee...RLL must also recognize the support over the last two years of Congressman Gregory Meeks, Congressman Bob Turner, State Senator Joe Addabbo and Councilman Eric Ulrich. Their guidance and encouragement helped our Board throughout the lease negotiations...RLL joins the community in mourning the loss of our hero Dylan Smith. Dylan was a pitcher for Rockaway Little League’s all-star travel team in 2000.