MLB All Star festivities reach Garden City
As major league baseball played its All Star game in New York this year, complementary festivities occurred throughout the metro area. As the American and National Leaguers prepared to fight it out at CitiField, a tradition is that a group of young boys and girls are selected to play a tee ball game in the host city, prior to the All Star game. This year that game was held at the MLB FanFest at Jacob Javits Center in Manhattan, where a major league baseball stadium with a turf field and Jumbotron scoreboard was built for this purpose. These budding 6 year old baseball stars had many practices as they prepared for the big game. On the eve on Independence Day, the tee ball All Stars were honored in Garden City.
On July 3, as the Garden City Bombers and Franklin Square Tigers 9U Baseball teams took the field for their night game at Community Park, there was an opening ceremony to honor our country, and these spirited 6 year olds. As the older 9 year old Garden City Bombers home team took the field, the tee ball all stars were led onto the field in a traditional New York Police Department Bag Pipe procession, and then each tee ball player was placed on the field next to one of the older Garden City players. The visiting Franklin Square players stood at attention on the third base line, as Pipe Sergeant Sprague played God Bless America on bag pipes. The tee ball All Stars faced the flag at the Garden City Pool, holding their hats over the hearts.
Darren De La Rosa, James Moore- Murray, Nicholas Taranto, Evan Terry, Andrew Webb, Nile-Asia Rivera, Nasir Motley, Aaron Sibblies. While the process of choosing the tee ball All Stars is proprietary, this reporter inquired of the players precisely why they themselves were selected. One All Star replied "I made the most put outs ever", and another speculated he was chosen by Major League scouts.
Additional photographs was taken on the field, with the children of police officers, Franklin Square players Kevin Manzi, Ryan Degman, and Henry Micyk and the three progeny of a founding officer of the consolidated NYPD in 1897, Lt. George Thomas Green: Garden City Coach Joe Mohen, starting pitcher Matthew Mohen, and tee ball All Star Colin Cashin. The late Lieutenant Green was born in New York in 1856, shortly after his family emigrated from Ireland, and worked for the first NYPD Commissioner Theodore Roosevelt.
Then after the national anthem, these All Stars followed Pipe Sergeant Sprague off the field, where they took additional pictures, and signed autographs for their many fans. When one of the Franklin Square parents was asked of what they thought of host team Garden City's opening ceremony, she tersely replied "Awesome".
On Saturday July 13, the day of the big game, many of the players took the train to the game together. The three assistant coaches who lead the younger players included big brother coaches of current or one time Garden City Bombers baseball players Eric Rivera, Matthew Mohen, and Luke Sibblies.
The young players entered the Javits Center through the Talent Entrance, as appropriate given their celebrity status for the day. They were mostly in awe of the complex, and the MLB FanFest going on around them. They took their warm ups and stretches on the sidelines, while the legendary Jenny Finch was wooing the crowd with pitching demonstrations.
As the All Stars took the field to adoring throngs, and played a hard fought close game, which included remarkable plays, several home runs, and a grand slam. Afterwards, the returned to their homes with memories never to be forgotten.
Sponsors of this tee ball All Star team included the Garden City Bombers Baseball Club, the Hempstead Little League, and the Hollis - Bellaire - Queens Village - Bellerose-Athletic Association Inc.