Three teams in the Peter Stuyvesant Little League took home championship banners for District 23, with teams winning in the 10U baseball, 10U softball and 11U baseball divisions.
On Sunday, April 14, the Peter Stuyvesant Little League Challenger Division for players with disabilities celebrated its third season opening day. Games were played at around 3 p.m. at Con Ed Field.
The Challenger division is for boys and girls with physical and developmental challenges between the ages of 4 and 18 (or still in high school) so they can enjoy the game of baseball in a supportive, non-competitive environment. They are assisted by buddies, other PSLL players and there are no balls, strikes or outs during games.
This year, the PSLL has 800 members, a record number for the league.
By Sabina Mollot
On Saturday, hundreds of young baseball and softball players and their parents marched through Stuyvesant Town to Con Edison Field for the annual Peter Stuyvesant Little League Parade.
As always, they were led by a pair of bagpipers from First Avenue to around the Oval to the field for a brief ceremony where former Mets player Nelson Figueroa gave a pep talk. Local elected officials also showed up to wish the players a good season, which has already begun with a record number— 800 kids in the league. There were also a few new teams, bringing the total to 74 across 14 divisions.
At the field, PSLL President Seth Coren announced that the number of female players has also gone way up.
“In 2003, there were 75 girls playing softball,” he said. “Today we have over 200.”
By Sabina Mollot
On Sunday, April 22, the Peter Stuyvesant Little League’s Challenger Division for players with disabilities, kicked off the season with its first game at Con Ed Field.
The division has grown since being introduced last year and there are now 30 players with over 100 buddies. The division has players from ages 4-19 with developmental or physical disabilities and depending on ability, batters can hit off a tee or a ball is soft tossed. Meanwhile, buddies, other members of the league, assist or just stay with players for support throughout the game so parents can watch their children from the stands. Little League fees, which include things like uniforms, are waived for Challengers.
The Challenger division was the idea of Stuyvesant Town General Manager Rick Hayduk, whose younger daughter Jamie has Down Syndrome and played Challenger ball where she used to live before the family moved to the city. Rick and his older daughter Jordan are the PSLL Challenger Division’s co-founders and co-commissioners.
Seth Coren, the PSLL’s president, recalled how when he met Rick, “The first thing he said was, ‘How come you guys don’t have a Challenger division?’ There was no reason we didn’t have it other than it was completely unfamiliar to us.”
By former Assemblyman Steven Sanders
On Saturday morning, a great community is tradition will be renewed. Led by President Seth Coren, the Peter Stuyvesant Little League baseball season kicks off its 62nd year. It will be preceded by the parade of players and their parents starting from First Avenue at 20th Street and finishing at the Con Ed baseball facility at Avenue C and 16th Street.
In the early 1960s I played in our Little League organization. But in those days, we were homeless. We did not have a field to call our own. We played on the West Side of Manhattan and on Randall’s Island in the middle of the East River. But thanks to the partnership with Con Edison, land adjacent to the East River was developed into ball fields and became home to our local teams which have grown to over 60 teams more than 700 youngsters and scores of adult volunteers coaching, umpiring and taking care of the grounds.
Baseball is the Great American Pastime. It connects families and generations to each other. To underscore that point, when World War II began in the dark days of 1942, President Franklin Roosevelt wrote to the baseball commissioner and asked him not to suspend Major League Baseball games while this country fought for the salvation of civilization. Roosevelt believed that baseball was that important to the American spirit.
REMINDER: The Peter Stuyvesant Little League will hold its annual parade and opening day ceremony on Saturday, April 14. Players and their families gather at 8:15 a.m. and begin marching at approximately 8:30 a.m., starting from 18th Street and First Avenue to the Con Edison Field located at East 16th Street and Avenue C. A brief ceremony will be held at the Con Edison Field from approximately 9-9:30 a.m.
By Sabina Mollot
Earlier this spring, the Peter Stuyvesant Little League debuted a new division for disabled players, The Challengers.
The kids were recruited pretty quickly, with just enough time for them to be able to march in the league’s annual parade on April 1. Then, last Sunday, the newly formed division played its first game on Con Ed Field.
For many of the 25 players, who’ve been placed on two teams, the Angels and the Braves, it was also their first time playing baseball.
Rick Hayduk, Stuyvesant Town’s general manager who helped form the division, said because of the severity of the kids’ disabilities, they wouldn’t have been able to qualify even to play tee-ball (which is how most Little Leaguers start). The players’ conditions include varying degrees of autism, cerebral palsy and Down Syndrome.
By Sabina Mollot
By Saturday morning, a downpour that had gone on throughout the night cleared up just in time for one of Stuyvesant Town’s most important annual traditions, the Peter Stuyvesant Little League Parade.
Hundreds of kids, clad in their new, colorful uniforms, marched alongside former Mets player and coach Mookie Wilson from First Avenue to Con Ed Field, where they got a pep talk from Wilson and a ceremony highlighting the league’s recent victories.
Jeff Ourvan, the league’s president, discussed the $16,000 the PSLL just received as a result of the “Roberts v. Tishman Speyer” lawsuit settlement. Ourvan said the funds, which came from unclaimed checks from the settlement, would be spent on batting cages as well as turf repairs.
Ourvan also praised players who last season, he noted, took home some impressive tournament wins.
Of a 13 and 14-year-old girls’ softball team, Ourvan said, “It was the first time in PSLL history we went on to play a state tournament.” The nine and 10-year-old baseball team and the 11 and 12-year-old team also each won a Manhattan championship.
“It shows you the quality of our league is improving,” he added.
By Sabina Mollot
Earlier this month, it appeared there might be another distribution of checks, albeit small ones, to residents of Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village who’d been represented in the Roberts v. Tishman Speyer lawsuit.
However, that’s no longer a possibility as the money left in that pot is under $33,000, according to tenants’ law firm, Wolf Haldenstein. Had the remaining funds been over $100,000 it would have gotten distributed to tenants, as part of the settlement deal hashed out in 2013. For an amount lower than $100,000, however, the remaining funds are to be split evenly between two nonprofits: the Peter Stuyvesant Little League and the ST-PCV Tenants Association.
Previously, Wolf Haldenstein attorney Michael Liskow told Town & Village it looked like there was going to be over $150,000 left in the pool of damages intended for residents. That money represented checks that were not deposited by a 120-day deadline. But Liskow this week said he later learned the $150,000 figure he got from the claims administrator, which he thought was updated as of the end of January, didn’t reflect withdrawals from the amount during January. He also apologized for providing us with the “stale” figure earlier.
By Sabina Mollot
With baseball season about to begin, the Peter Stuyvesant Little League will be debuting a new division for players with disabilities.
The Challenger Division is open to would-be players of any age up to 18 with any type of physical or intellectual disability, and was the idea of Stuyvesant Town General Manager Rick Hayduk.
One of Hayduk’s three daughters, 11-year-old Jamison, has Down Syndrome, and had participated in a Challenger Ball team where the family lived prior to moving to the community, in South Florida. However, there was no local division — until now.
Jeff Ourvan, president of the PSLL, explained that the reason such divisions exist (as opposed to just letting kids with disabilities play on any other team) is for their own safety.
“Some of the kids, I understand, have some fairly restrictive physical disabilities,” explained Ourvan. “Obviously we can’t have those kids playing against 11-year-olds who throw 50 miles per hour. So it’s mostly from a safety perspective.”
By Maria Rocha-Buschel
The city has been exploring options to redesign Asser Levy Playground and Murphy’s Brother’s Playground, since both will be affected by the construction of flood protection along the East Side of Manhattan from East 23rd Street to Montgomery Street.
Earlier in the month, representatives from the Mayor’s Office of Recovery and Resiliency discussed the proposals at a community meeting held at Washington Irving High School.
Carrie Grassi, the deputy director of planning for the Mayor’s Office of Recovery and Resiliency, mentioned how the East Side Coastal Resiliency Project will run adjacent to both parks and construction will disturb activities there.
However, since the city is only in the concept design stage with the project, Grassi said that decisions for all aspects aren’t necessarily final yet. One such instance is the placement of the floodwall as it approaches the Asser Levy Playground. One configuration has the wall bordering the park along the FDR Drive, turning along East 25th Street and connecting with the floodwall that the VA Hospital is working on.
“But some feel that would be too imposing,” Grassi said.
By Sabina Mollot
Following a search for a former Major League Baseball player, the Peter Stuyvesant Little League announced Monday morning that Jeff Nelson, formerly of the Yankees, has been confirmed to join the kids on their opening day activities.
Nelson was the relief pitcher for the Yankees during the 1996-2000 championship seasons. He retired in 2007.
The opening day PSLL parade is scheduled for Saturday, April 18 in front of Hane restaurant at First Avenue and 20th Street at 8 a.m. From there the players will head into Stuyvesant Town, circle Stuyvesant Oval and then conclude the march at Con Ed field on Avenue C and 15th Street for a brief ceremony (around 9 a.m.).
This year, the PSLL had concerns it wouldn’t be able to have a retired pro player as a guest, which has been a tradition of the league, due to many players’ appearance fees going up.
Previous guests have included Dwight “Doc” Gooden, Keith Hernandez and Cecil Fielder.
By Sabina Mollot
On Saturday, April 18, the Peter Stuyvesant Little League will hold its annual parade from Stuyvesant Town to Con Ed Field, a longstanding community tradition which also usually includes a visit from a well-known former baseball player.
Previous guests of honor to throw the first pitch of the season have included Dwight Gooden, Keith Hernandez and Cecil Fielder.
However, this year the PSLL may or may not have a pro player since, as one league parent has told T&V, many players’ appearance fees have gone through the roof, starting at twice the fees paid in recent years, plus the cost of flying them in and hotel stays. The parent noted the league has been and would continue to be willing to pay for a player’s time, but is hoping to find one willing to reduce his fee for the kiddos.
The PSLL, a nonprofit organization, has 750 members, many of whom live in Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village.
Jeff Ourvan, the PSLL’s new president, said he wasn’t too worried yet though as it’s actually not uncommon for plans for a speaker to be finalized at the eleventh hour.
By Sabina Mollot
Just eight days after the arrest of one of Albany’s famed three men in a room, came the news that another one in the power trio, Republican Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, was also being investigated. U.S. Attorney Preet Bhahara, whose investigation into Sheldon Silver led to his stepping down as Assembly speaker on Monday, is looking into Skelos’ ties to real estate and outside income from a law firm, the New York Post reported.
Skelos, of Long Island, has since reportedly laughed off the allegations.
Meanwhile, at the ribbon cutting for the new Asser Levy Playground in Manhattan on Friday morning, Town & Village cornered a couple of local state senators as well as a few community leaders to ask for their thoughts on the latest scandals from the Capitol.
Senate Senators Liz Krueger and Brad Hoylman both told Town & Village that it’s a shameful day in Albany any time there’s news of alleged criminal activity.
“Everyone who’s in elected office knows that they’re supposed to be held to a higher standard,” said Krueger. “The vast majority of us believe in good government, and when this happens, people think, ‘A pox on all your heads.’ Who’s going to want to run for office if everybody thinks you’re a criminal?”
When asked if she was just relieved it was a Republican on the hot seat this time, the Democrat senator insisted she wasn’t.
“No. I think any time there’s an elected official in Albany that gets indicted, the general public believes ‘they’re all corrupt and there’s no point in government.’”
By Sabina Mollot
The 750 members of the Peter Stuyvesant Little League have a new leader after its president for the past five years, Peter Ramos, recently decided to end his run.
The new president is Jeff Ourvan, a literary agent and nonpracticing attorney who has three sons, two of them who are current league members. Ourvan is also the author of a book called How to Coach Youth Baseball so Every Kid Wins, which was published by Skyhorse in 2012.
This week, Ourvan stopped by T&V’s West 22nd Street office (his own office is just a couple of blocks away) and discussed his goals for the league as well as the significance of Little League to the kids who participate, playing baseball, softball or tee-ball.
“Little League for boys and girls is extraordinary,” said Ourvan. “If you’re eight or nine years old, this is what you live for.”
He added that his oldest son who’s now 15 and had played in Little League, still enjoys baseball and is even hoping to get into college with a sports scholarship.
On getting kids to want to play or just keep playing as they get older, Ourvan said the trick is to get them out of their comfort zones just a little with each practice and game.
“It’s creating an environment where a child can have fun but also challenge themselves,” he said. “Anyone can play.”
He also said parents’ support is crucial. This means not just dropping their kids off at games and practice but also playing catch with them.
Goal-wise, Ourvan said one of his priorities is to get more parents involved in coaching, which, as a 10-year-veteran of the volunteer practice, he is certainly an advocate of.
“It’s amazing to coach your own kid; it’s like a rite of passage in parenthood,” he said. “It’s fun to be on the field again giving support. And coaches have families and we work so we’re flexible.”
Ourvan has been on the board of the PSLL for the past five years, and on his moving up to president, he admits it wasn’t a hotly contested battle.
“Nobody wants the job,” he said. But he was also quick to note that the league is a relatively well-oiled machine with many parents eager to help out whether it’s by being in charge of concessions or handling the league’s insurance. There are also around 200 coaches.
“The league opened my eyes to the community of Manhattan,” said Ourvan, who lives in Murray Hill. “There’s so much of a family community feeling that I don’t think we noticed before we had a family. For parents, (little league) is a social opportunity and it’s fun.”
Another goal for this year is to keep older kids from leaving the league which tends to happen once players hit high school age. At that point, they’ll sometimes prefer to play on travel teams with their schools. However, Ourvan said he hopes they’ll stick around as coaches or umpires.
“A lot of these kids have younger brothers and sisters still in the league,” he said. “So we want to be able to retain some of those kids.”
The third of Ourvan’s goals for the league is to get it more competitive. Two seasons ago, the PSLL won a district title and he’s hoping for a state championship in 2015. He’s confident about player improvement since some of the league members will have an edge they didn’t have before, which is pre-season practice time at the newly tented Playground 11 in Stuyvesant Town. The spacious, heated tent, which has been branded by CWCapital as “The Courts at Stuy Town” opened recently and is currently housing a few winter sports programs.
Before its opening, management had approached the league to see if its members would be interested in a baseball clinic there, and Ourvan said they agreed without hesitation. While there is a fee for participants to cover the cost of pro coaches and some new equipment, the PSLL is not being charged for the space by CW. The clinic began on December 5, with around 160 kids showing up, and it will run through March.
“This is an extraordinary opportunity for us,” Ourvan said, explaining that due to the cold winters in New York, it can be difficult for local kids to compete with Little Leaguers in other states like California or Florida who have more time outdoors. “To now have the extra months is going to be a huge help for our league.”
That said, he made sure to add it’s not about winning titles or games, but seeing kids improve and develop confidence. He recalled how last year one of his son’s teams had been struggling all season only to end up coming close to winning a big game.
“They almost made it to the finals and they were crying that they didn’t win,” said Ourvan. “They believed they were going to win. It ultimately was an amazing victory because they did their best and if you do your best you win.”
The 2015 season of Little League begins in April and registration for the Peter Stuyvesant Little League opened on Wednesday. Registration currently costs $175 per player and $150 for additional siblings. After January 10, the cost goes up to $200 per player and $175 for siblings, and can be done online at psll.org.