Today was opening day ceremonies for Little Leagues around the area. There were parades and opening day ceremonies all around! Elmsford does something special--they frequently invite celebrity baseball greats to kick off their opening day ceremonies. Today, baseball great Dwight Gooden, one of Major League Baseball's greatest players, kicked off the season. Dwight Gooden helped the Met's and Yankees win championships and was inducted in the NY Mets Hall Fame.
Previous celebrity baseball champs who helped kick off the Elmsford Little League parades include Mariano Rivera of the Yankees, Dodger's Manager Tommy Lasorda and Darryl Strawberry. It's great for the Little League players to have the chance to chat, take photos with some of the baseball greats. It's very inspiring. Who knows, some of the Little League players might be back in Elmsford signing autographs in twenty years or so after they become World Series champs.
The Elmsford Little League is celebrating its 65th season. Over 575 players from 47 different Elmsford Little League teams, will play over 400 games. As President Robert Gramaglia of the Elmsford Little League said "the values and virtues that are taught between the chalked lines often outweigh the ball playing skills learned. Sportmanship, teamwork and effort are what shape these players and provide life lessons for years to come."
The volunteer coaches also deserve our thanks. Without the commitment and hours of time that these volunteers dedicate to the players the Leagues would not be successful There are volunteer boards made up of individuals that spend thousands of hours volunteering their time. The Elmsford Little League has worked hard to enhance the Little League experience. Indoor winter practices pitching and catching clinics and winter sessions for clinic players are among some of the initiatives Workshops for both coaches and parents have also been scheduled. New bleachers at the fields have been built. New sheds throughout the facility that contain state of the art equipment for players and coaches has been placed. Batting cages are now equipped with new Iron Mike professional pitching machines for both softball and baseball.
At the Elmsford Little League opening day ceremony State Senator Andrea Stewart Cousins, Assemblyman Tom Abinanti, Councilmembers Ken Jones and Francis Sheehan, League officials and I praised Kevin Morgan who passed away earlier this week. Kevin was very involved in the Little League from an early age and made significant positive contributions to the team for many years. He will be missed.