Batter up!
Washington Park Little League ready for 2013 summer season
by E. Assata Wright
Reporter staff writer
Mar 31, 2013 | 2814 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
On Saturday, April 6 at noon young ball players, their coaches, and other supporters will kick off their summer season with a parade down Central Avenue that will end, appropriately enough, at Washington Park. Once there, two teams will meet for the first time this year.
On Saturday, April 6 at noon young ball players, their coaches, and other supporters will kick off their summer season with a parade down Central Avenue that will end, appropriately enough, at Washington Park. Once there, two teams will meet for the first time this year.
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We all know how the Major League Baseball season ends.

The American League champions face off in a best-of-seven series against their counterparts in the National League. One team goes home, empty handed, while the World Series victors take home the Commissioner’s Trophy and are treated to a big parade in their hometown.

But what if the baseball season began with a parade instead?

The idea might not be popular with teams in the majors, or even the minors. But for what it’s worth, the concept sure is popular with teams in the Washington Park Little League.

Based in the Jersey City Heights, Washington Park Little League caters to more than 400 baseball, softball and t-ball players from across Jersey City, and even includes a few teams from Union City and Secaucus.

On Saturday, April 6 at noon these young ball players, their coaches, and other supporters will kick off their summer season with a parade down Central Avenue that will end, appropriately enough, at Washington Park. Once there, two teams will meet for the first time this year.

This season opener is a kind of reverse image of how they do it in the major league.
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In recent years, Little League programs have experienced a decline in membership and participation, particularly in urban areas. Such a decline, however, is not evident in the Heights.
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“We’ve been doing this parade for several years,” said Nadia Martinez, a Washington Park Little League board member. “It’s a great way to let people know we’re here and get the community involved in the fun. It also gives us a chance to introduce the Little League to parents in the community, some of whom have children who are interested in playing with us.”

The parade will include a small float, cartoon characters who will distribute balloons to all the kids, live music, and color guards, said Martinez. She added that previous parades have attracted hundreds of spectators who cheer on the athletes.

Baseball is healthy in the Heights

In recent years, Little League programs have experienced a decline in membership and participation, particularly in urban areas, according to the organization. Most local Little League programs exist in suburban communities, according to the organization. Such a decline, however, is not evident in the Heights, however.

“We have a very active Little League organization,” said Martinez. “But it helps that we do get children from Union City and Secaucus. And to be honest, things like the parade help remind people that we’re here. Over the years, we’ve tried not to be passive and just play our games in the park. But we’ve actually tried to get the larger community involved as fans and spectators, so they want to support the work that we’re doing with the kids.”

The league’s inaugural game will get underway after the parade at 3:15 p.m. between the Rattlers and the Express.

E-mail E. Assata Wright at awright@hudsonreporter.com.

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