East Boston Little League, under the direction of President Chucky Cassaro and his long-time friend and colleague, local dentist Dr. Robert Gilbride, somehow guided baseball players through two separate seasons during the coronavirus last year.
After a delayed return in 2020 due to the coronavirus, EBLL held a regular season in the summer and based on that success, the board went ahead with a fall season. There were no interruptions in play during either season.
Now Cassaro, Gilbride, and fellow board members Lenny Cambria and Nick Free are back organizing the 2021 season and expressing much optimism.
“Hopefully we can duplicate what happened last year, follow strict guidelines, and go forth with our new season,” said Cassaro. “We had a lot of support from the community in 2020 and we expect a lot of players to return this year.”
Cassaro said early registration for boys and girls, ages 6-16, will be held on Friday, March 5 and Friday, March 12, from 4 to 6 p.m., at Al Festa Field. The registration fee is $100, the same as it has been for the last eight years.
“We’re hoping to start the season in mid-to-late April or when weather permits,” said Cassaro.
It is expected that the league will have five teams in each of the three age divisions: Minor, Major, and Senior.
“We’re so glad that a lot of players are looking forward to returning to our program,” said Cassaro. “We anticipate 150-200 participants in the coming season.”
The Minor and Major League teams will play their games at Tony Congiliaro Field and Al Festa Field. The Seniors will play on the big diamond at Noyes Park.
On a personal note, Chucky Cassaro is continuing treatment in his ongoing battle with cancer.
“I feel great,” said Cassaro. “My treatments are going well. The Mass General doctors are fantastic, unbelievable. I was lucky enough to get my first COVID shot today (Tuesday). So life is good right now.”
Cassaro is hoping to coach in the league while former EBLL home run king CJ Cassaro may make his coaching debut alongside his dad in 2021.
CJ is a baseball standout preparing for what would be his final season in the East Boston High School baseball program. CJ is a graduate of East Boston Little League and hit more than 30 home runs in his final two Major League seasons at Festa Field. He will be playing in the Eastie 18-under league this season.
An honor roll student, CJ will begin college in the fall.
“Hopefully CJ can play his final high school season,” said Cassaro. “I know he wants to get involved in coaching and helping the kids in this community. That’s what he wants to do.”
Like father, like son.