By Sabina Mollot
On Saturday morning, another season of youth baseball was kicked off with bagpipe music and the annual parade of the Peter Stuyvesant Little League through Stuyvesant Town to the freshly replanted Con Ed Field.
Hundreds of little leaguers marched alongside their parents, local pols and a special guest, former hitter Cecil Fielder who played for the Detroit Tigers as well as the New York Yankees and other teams.
Following the march, Fielder, who’s hit 319 home runs in his career, gave the kids tips on how to be a good player.
For one thing, he told them, listen to your coaches. Fielder praised his own high school coach, saying, “That man taught me everything I know. My coach taught me back in 1970 that if that if I can’t look at myself in the mirror every day and say I did my best then I wasted a day.”
That said, he added that that bad days were bound to happen, but “It will always be about how you can be the next day.”
Fielder said he’s tried to teach his own kids to be good baseball players, and while they are good, he said the important part for him was sharing what the sport was all about.
“That was apple pie and Chevrolet when I was growing up,” he joked, but added that he hoped the PSLL kids too would just have fun “and listen to your coaches when they’re trying to tell you something.”
Also speaking to the kids on the field were Borough President Scott Stringer, State Senator Brad Hoylman and Council Members Dan Garodnick and Jessica Lappin. In keeping with PSLL Parade tradition, the elected officials kept their remarks brief and about sports.
Garodnick noted the ongoing construction work at Asser Levy Place, which will soon be an extension of Asser Levy Park.
“Next year we will have even more space in the neighborhood that we’ll be able to use for little league,” he said, eliciting some cheers.
Other guests at Saturday’s event were David Gmach of Con Ed and Bobby Jackson of Modell’s, both sponsors of the league along with Stuyvesant Town management.
Though he didn’t march, Stuyvesant Town General Manager Sean Sullivan stopped by the parade. “We’re thrilled to be able to support the little league,” he said.
Sullivan was also thanked at the opening ceremony by PSLL President Peter Ramos as were the league’s other sponsors.
The ceremony was also marked with the singing of God Bless America by member Maggie Feldman, the national anthem by member Kiki Kops and the kids’ pledge to the league, recited by Ryan Grant. This was followed by the traditional pledge for parents, in which they’re made to promise not to argue with decisions made by the umpires.
The entirely volunteer-run PSLL, which was founded in 1956, has baseball, softball and T-ball divisions and over 700 members.