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Play Ball! Again!

Today was a glorious day on the Garden Isle of Alameda and not just because of the weather! The sun was shining and the cry of “Play Ball!” was once again heard on city baseball diamonds as the new ARPD Youth Baseball League hit the field. Opening Day saw a new generation of kids playing ball in the park just as thousands of kids before them during the Golden Age of park league baseball.

A full compliment of young boys and girls decked out in brand new park league t-shirts were all smiles as the games got under way across Alameda. The crack of the bat brought grins not only to the players but also to those on hand. Cheers went up from the stands as the kids made one great play after another.

Members of the Park League Advisory Committee were on hand at Lincoln Park for the ceremonial start of the 2014 season. Along with the Dean of Alameda baseball, A.J. Lil Arnerich, were committee members Kevin Kennedy, Eric Cross, Adrienne Chaix, Cyndi LaCroix, and Kin Robles. ARPD chief, Amy Wooldridge was all smiles (and sighs of relief) as play got underway for the inaugural season. Rich Bullock Sr., former Lincoln Park Director, called the game as a volunteer umpire. Former park rats Mike Taylor (Lincoln) and Brett Pedersen (Krusi) came down to watch the action.

A young Lincoln Lion prepares to get his first hit of what will be a long t-shirt league career.

A young Lincoln Lion prepares to get his first hit of what will be a long t-shirt league career.

Thanks to everyone who had a hand in bringing back this Alameda institution. Your generosity and belief in the youth program, that to this day still defines a community, made the return of the t-shirt league possible.

You have to ask the question, “If Kim Jong-un had the opportunity to play t-shirt league baseball would he have turned out this way?” Of course not! He’d have enjoyed a great childhood playing with his friends at the park and learning how to turn a double play and resolve conflict instead of being a world class turd. Oops.

Kim Jong-on could have been a curveball artist instead of a nuclear knucklehead!

Kim Jong-un could have been a curveball artist instead of a nuclear knucklehead!

330 youngsters have signed up to play in the new ARPD Baseball League that starts this week. I’ll go all in and say that none of these kids will turn out to be a dictator. Instead they’ll have fun this summer and keep those happy memories for the rest of their life. Just as tens of thousands of us Alameda park rats did!

You can help prevent development of future dictators by volunteering with the APRD Youth Baseball League. Just a few hours each week can make a huge difference in the lives of some kids who may not have anyone else to learn baseball from. Visit the Alameda Recreation and Park Department today and sign up to be a volunteer for the new t-shirt league. You won’t regret it… and you’ll keep potential dictators off the street. The ARPD is located at 2226 Santa Clara Ave, Alameda.

Jim Battersby

Jim was a park director for ARPD before moving on to work in the City of Oakland recreation program. He’s also the father of Edison Indian Greg Battersby,

Tours of Duty: Lincoln 

Jim Battersby today.

Jim Battersby today.

PlayBall! – Alameda’s Sandlot Blog extends a big hug to all the current and former Alameda mothers out there! You were the well-oiled machine that enabled thousands of us park rats to flock to our respective parks each day.

THANK YOU!!

Mrs. Joan Henderson cheers on her lil' park rat Charlie on a summer day, some 40 years ago.

Mrs. Joan Henderson (right) cheers on her lil’ park rat Charlie on a summer day, some 40 years ago.

The legend of Bob “Rocko” Rhodes, who by the way remains an Alameda fixture, started back in his youthful days with the ARPD. Bob began in the department’s employ as an umpire following graduation from the Sam Spear School of Umpiring in 1972. After two years on the circuit, Bob upped his game and paycheck by joining the ranks of the hallowed ARPD park directors. Many also recall Bob as the proprietor of “Rocko’s” on Park Street, a friendly establishment where he dispensed a weekly sermon from his watering hole pulpit to many former park rats.

Tours of Duty: Rittler (1973), Lincoln (1974), Krusi (1975) , Longfellow (1976), Woodstock (1977)

In July of 1974, Norm Fenk was shown marking down yet another run for the McKinley Bears as they stormed past the Woodstock Dolphins by a score of 21 to 2. This was McKinley’s first win of the season (1-3) while Woodstock’s second squad fell to 0-3.

Bears teammate Jaime Hayame correctly answered this week’s Who am I? puzzler by identifying Norm. Perhaps Jaime can remind us who the McKinley coach was that season.

"I may run out of pencil lead!"

“I may run out of pencil lead!”

Someone recently told Alameda’s Sandlot Blog that in 1958 Franklin Park fielded a team named the Mets. The City Desk argued that wasn’t possible since the New York Mets didn’t come into existence until 1962. A little more research led our staff to the magical 1964 season and the second division finish for… the Franklin Mets.

But you may be asking, “Why was magical about the 1964 season?”

The answer is simple and can be found in the standings where the storied Estuary Rams went undefeated with a perfect 11-0 mark!

Here’s the final standings for 1964 in the Little Coast League:

Estuary, Krusi, Franklin and Lincoln were the Little Coast powers in 1964.

Estuary, Krusi, Franklin and Lincoln were the Little Coast powers in 1964.

 

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