EB Little League opens season April 18
By Cary Shuman
Chucky Cassaro, president of East Boston Little League (EBLL), is hopeful that the local youth baseball organization can open its 2015 season on Saturday, April 18.
“We originally planned for April 4 but we pushed it back two weeks because of the weather,” said Cassaro. “There’s been a couple of feet of snow on Conigliaro Field at Noyes Park but we’re starting to see the grass. Al Festa Field is also looking better.”
Cassaro said there will be opening day ceremonies but no parade is scheduled.
“Basically on Opening Day we’ll take team photos, there will be music, food, and drink at Noyes Park,” said Cassaro. “But everything depends on Mother Nature.”
State Sen. Anthony Petruccelli and City Councilor Sal LaMattina will be among the invited guests for Opening Day.
More than 200 players will participate in EBLL this season. There are six Major League and five Minor League teams. The Senior Little League division for ages 13 through 16 has five teams, with all of its managers and coaching returning for the new season.
Cassaro said teams have been practicing indoors at the Marty Pino Recreation Center in Orient Heights. “They’ve been nice enough to let us use their gym on open hours.”
Cassaro is assisted on the EBLL Executive Board by vice president Nick Mosca, treasurer Dr. Robert Gilbride, secretary Phil Plagenza, player agent Eldon Thomas, and equipment manager Craig Pacita
.Cary Shuman can be reached at [email protected]
Red Sox seek to get children closer to baseball
The Boston Red Sox will introduce in 2015 a host of initiatives designed to bring children closer to the game. “Calling All Kids,” presented by Hood, will provide free membership in Red Sox Kid Nation, free tickets to as many as 25,000 kids, and new elements at Fenway Park including Gate K (for Kids), the Kids Concourse, and Wally’s Clubhouse. For the first time, entry-level membership in Red Sox Kid Nation will be free, and every child in the program can attend a game for free. (If necessary, the club will limit membership to 25,000.) Membership is for children 14 and under. Fans can begin signing up for the membership and the tickets on redsox.com/kidnation. Also, all high school and college students 15 and over with a student ID can purchase tickets for only $9 for every regular season home game. The tickets guarantee at least an entry into standing room, but the club will also upgrade to seats when they are available. Additionally, the Red Sox will create “Gate K (for Kids),” a kid-friendly entrance located adjacent to Gate B leading into the new Kids Concourse. The right field area of the Big Concourse will be revamped with games, entertainment, Aramark concessions, and amenities. Also in the Kids Concourse, the club will create “Wally’s Clubhouse” from the 3rd through 7th innings in the Champions Club presented by ALEX AND ANI, below the Royal Rooters Club. The respite from extreme weather also provides room to play, walk around, and meet Wally the Green Monster. “The point is simple: we want to do all we can to attract children to Fenway Park,” said Red Sox President/CEO Larry Lucchino. “We hope to do so at least three ways: first, by providing greater access to Red Sox games to children and students; second, by enhancing their experience at the ballpark; and third, by strengthening the game of baseball among the young in our community. We are blessed with an extraordinary fan base that comprises many boys and girls. We want to help ensure that they fall in love with baseball, just as their parents and grandparents did before them.” The Red Sox will also create community initiatives. The Red Sox Foundation will sponsor each of the 200 Little Leagues across Massachusetts and will again fund and operate 31 RBI teams (Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities) and Rookie Leagues serving more than 1200 children. The foundation’s commitment is more than $220,000. Building on the success of last year’s partnership between the Highland Street Foundation, the City of Boston, and the Red Sox, “Out of the Park” will return in 2015. The free event for families at a city park emulates Fenway Park’s Yawkey Way atmosphere while fans watch a Red Sox road game on a giant screen. The date and park will be announced in the future. In addition to the event, the partners this year will collaborate to refurbish 10 ballfields in Boston. Those fields will also be announced in the future. Free Tickets and Kid Nation Memberships for Children 14 and Under In recent years, Red Sox Kid Nation (RSKN) – a fan club membership for kids launched in 2005 – had an entry fee of as much as $36.95. Starting in 2015, base membership will be free. Those who sign up for the free membership will be offered a free ticket to a regular season game at Fenway Park. (The club may limit the free tickets to 25,000 children.) “We would love to have such a demand problem,” said Red Sox Executive Vice President/Chief Operating Officer Sam Kennedy, a key creator of the overall initiative. “Many of us remember with fondness the ability, as teens, to take the T to Kenmore Square with our friends, walk to Fenway Park, and buy a ticket to that night’s game. We want to restore that life experience.” For young fans who wish to choose additional amenities, a paid membership will also be available. It includes an extra-early entrance into Fenway Park to watch batting practice, a youth-sized Red Sox jersey, a Red Sox player backpack, a discount at the Yawkey Way Store, and Kid Nation email newsletters. “Gate K (for Kids)” The Red Sox will create “Gate K (for Kids)” – an entrance dedicated to children and families near Gate B at the corner of Van Ness and Ipswich Streets. The entrance leads to the Kids Concourse.
Kids Concourse A revamped Kids Concourse is a roomy area of the original Big Concourse behind the right field corner with new attractions for young fans, including a six-foot nine-inch-tall Wally bobblehead, an interactive video wall that allows first-time fans to take photos and electronically sign their name to the video wall, and a Kid Nation welcome station. The festive area will feature a balloon artist, stilt walker, and face painter. Kids will also see how they “measure up” to current Red Sox players by standing near pillars featuring actual size images of current players. They can also measure their own tiny footprints against those of the big feet of big leaguers on player footprints that will adorn the Kids Concourse walkways.
Little Leaguers who imagine what they might look like when they grow up to be ballplayers can see giant baseball cards of Red Sox players and their Little League photos. The Kids Concourse will also be the new home for old ballpark favorites such as the historic bullpen cart used in the 60’s and 70’s, the Red Sox Mickey Mouse statue, and the Wally Bench. Aramark, the Fenway Park concessionaire, will create kid-themed offerings in the upper level of the Kids Concourse. A $5 kids meal features a mini hot dog, cotton candy, and a small juice. Also, new souvenirs include a Wally ice-cream tray, cotton candy that comes with a novelty bat, and a glove-shaped tray with nachos or chicken fingers. Other affordable, bite-size menu items include mini pigs-in-a-blanket, corn dogs, fried Oreo mini churro bites, and fried apples.
Healthy options include fruit cups with grapes, sliced apples, and chopped watermelon, depending on the season, along with string cheeses. Aramark will also surprise kids at random with free ice cream during the season. Wally’s Clubhouse Inside the Kids Concourse, Wally’s Clubhouse provides an indoor space open every game from the 3rd to the 7th inning. Wally will visit in the third inning, and children can participate in interactive games and activities such as “Simon Says” and “Red Light/Green Light.” Boys and girls can also enjoy craft tables, a safe play area for toddlers with toys and a slide, a beanbag toss, video games, and a balloon artist and face painter. Kids Crew Overseeing interaction with children in the Kids Concourse and Wally’s Clubhouse will be the new Red Sox Kids Crew, a staff who greet kids as they enter Gate K, lead children in games, and provide families with assistance and information about kid-friendly activities. $9 Student Tickets for those 15 and older The Red Sox will make tickets available for every home game for all students 15 and older – from high school through college. The $9 ticket is the lowest at Fenway Park, and it guarantees at least standing room, but may also be upgraded to seats when they are available. The new $9 Student Tickets are available online at redsox.com/student. Students provide information and receive a special code via email to complete the purchase. Student tickets will be delivered through My Tickets Mobile, via MLB’s Ballpark Application. Students can scan their tickets directly from their phone when they arrive at the ballpark gates, and are asked to bring their student ID for verification to gain entry. In 2014, the club introduced a limited $9 standing room ticket for certain students.