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Thanks to Gabriel Ponce for his recent Facebook post as it enabled this fine digital fish wrap to add yet another baseball player to the official PlayBall! record. Rusty Ladua you are forever part of ARPD Youth Baseball League lore! The addition of Rusty pushes the count of boys and girls who played either baseball or softball to 2,550. Launch the fireworks!

Here’s the photo from back in the day that Gabe surfaced for Longfellow Tigers everywhere to enjoy.

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Speaking of Longfellow, don’t forget tomorrow’s Tiger Reunion. Phil Canalin is calling all Longfellow Park Rats to return to the old stomping ground on Saturday, June 10. Just like the old days there will be BBQ grilling, ceremonial games of catch (bring your glove), and a demonstration by John Canalin on how to slap the ball to right field and take two! Guaranteed to be a great time for all… even Washington Pirates like Rick Delmore!

 

The 2017 CIF-NCS High School Baseball Playoffs was shaping up to be epic diamond battle showcasing the offspring of former Franklin Eagles and Longfellow Tigers. Garden Isle bragging rights would have been on the line had the Campolindo Cougars met the Encinal Jets in the second round. The Campo roster features catcher Michael McAuliffe and pitcher Donovan Robles, sons of former Eagles, Jeff McAuliffe and Kin Robles. The Encinal squad features pitcher/SS Henry Canalin, son of Ed Canalin and the latest in a long line of great players named… Henry. Just kidding, the Canalin clan have produced more diamond stars than the Ripkens.

While the Cougars won their opener over Arcata in a thrilling 11-inning contest (7-6), the Jets couldn’t make their end of the dream matchup a reality as they fell to Kennedy of Fremont (8-3).  Jeff and Kin, shown here proudly sporting vintage Eagle attire, were at the Campo game loosening up for the showdown classic that will never be. Alas, since Campo advanced to Round Two, in theory… Franklin is King again! How about that?!

Eagles

Alamedans should lock their doors next month because the Garden Isle will be overrun with tigers… LONGFELLOW TIGERS!

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Phil Canalin, esteemed author and Encinal High School legend, just announced plans for a Longfellow Park Reunion on Saturday, June 10. Loyal readers of this digital fishwrap are left to wonder if Phil has had a few too many Longboard Lagers at today’s Park Street Spring festival. I can assure you that is not the case, he actually had the idea for this reunion minutes before he started savoring fresh malt beverages.

Longfellow Tiger Reunion, Sat., June 10
11:00am to 4:00pm
Bring a picnic lunch, chairs, blankets, balls, gloves
Bring family, friends and Tigers (live or stuffed)
Bring pictures, articles, Park memorabilia
JUST BRING IT!!!!

 

The question in this reporter’s mind is: Will Eagles, Pirates, Seals, Lions, Gophers, Colts, Mustangs, Indians, Wildcats, and Bears be welcome or slapped with a bicycle ticket by Jimmy Pitts? For more information post questions to Phil here on PlayBall! – Alameda’s Sandlot Blog!

Fernside Market

The little market on the corner of Fernside Blvd and Versailles was called Fernside Market. The owners were named Dan and May. It was one long block from Edison School and had a stead stream of us kids depleting their candy supply daily. (Photo to follow)

PlayBall! wishes to thank Clayton Case (Edison Indians) for this entry. Great work from another of our Island reporters to set the record straight.

PlayBall! – Alameda’s Sandlot Blog is pleased to report that the Alameda Elks Club will return as the primary sponsor for Alameda Recreation & Park Department’s legendary youth baseball league in 2015. As all Park Rats know, support provided by the Elks dates back to the golden age of park league baseball when thousands of garden island kids proudly wore the Elks B.P.O.E. logo on their park t-shirt. Tom Curran, 1960’s vintage Franklin Eagle, recalls, “”We all thought B.P.O.E stood for Franklin – Best Park on Earth”.

Elks Trustee, David Hilton, recently confirmed to the Alameda Park League Advisory Committee that Elk generosity would provide $10,000 to the program this year. The t-shirt league’s return in 2014 enabled over 300 Alameda kids to play organized baseball free of charge under the watchful eye of the ARPD and a group of dedicated volunteers. As the great Mel Allen would say, “How about that?”

The Elks have also announced they will hold a special T-Shirt League Dinner Dance Fundraiser on June 5th at 7:00pm. The public is welcome to attend and hob-knob with the horned hoi-polloi. For more information on this gala event, see the attached flyer. Thank you, Alameda Elks!

Come and join the fun in support of the Alameda T-Shirt League!

Come and join the fun in support of the Alameda T-Shirt League!

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.