MLB, Mets Help Reopen O’Donohue Field
On July 11th, Gooden joined representatives from Major League Baseball, The Mets front office, NYC Parks and Recreation, and local politicians to reopen the newly renovated ball field on Beach 17th Street and Seagirt Boulevard, that was impacted by superstorm Sandy in October. Gooden, who now lives in New Jersey, reflected on the storm. “It was a very difficult situation to watch. Obviously being from Tampa, you get a lot of threats about hurricanes and tornadoes. I’ve always felt that even though I was born in Tampa, I was raised here in New York. I came here at a very young age, at 19.”
He went on to say, “It hit home. A lot of friends, fans lost homes and a lot of stuff you can’t replace. So I’m honored to be here.”
“The ability for us to see you [youngsters] here …who are going to play on this field and other kids from the community, it’s a tremendous honor and privilege that we hold dear to our hearts,” said Newman.
Having used the field while growing up, Assemblyman Phillip Goldfeder said he hopes his children will one day play there as well. He also thanked MLB and The Mets for their commitment to “not just this community, but for their commitment across the city.”
Councilman Donovan Richards told the youngsters at the ceremony “use this field. Become the next shining stars and then come back and give back like the New York Mets and Major League Baseball.”
Representing some of the youth who will be using the field was the Far Rockaway team for the Orthodox Youth Baseball League. To them Gooden said, “A lot of those guys playing in the All- Star game started on a field like this at your age... Take advantage of this. Enjoy. Work hard and go teach yourself.”
The renovation of the field is part of the efforts of MLB to leave a lasting legacy behind in New York beyond the 84th All-Star Game, which took place at Citifield on July 16th. Major League Baseball and the Mets donated more than $5 million, through MLB Charities and the New York Mets Foundation, toward local All-Star projects in the New York Metropolitan area and also to support national charitable initiatives.
The O’Donohue Field renovation included new infield mix, regrading of skinned infield and grass outfield to facilitate drainage, amending of existing soil, new sod, and a new irrigation system. The field also will feature new dugout fencing, backstop and refurbished outfield fencing and bleachers. The project was supported by the Scotts Company, the official lawn care company of MLB.
Also taking part in the ceremony was Queens Parks Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski, MLB Executive Vice President of Business Tim Brosnan and MLB broadcaster Matt Yallof.