THERE’S ONLY JOY IN BASEBALL: La Verne Little League Makes A Great Pitch to Start the Season

March 21, 2010
Share this story:

036The lingering recession, the protracted debates over health care, and the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, were all forgotten, at least for a brief shining moment, as La Verne celebrated the opening of another Little League season under Chamber of Commerce-ordered skies. That it was also the first day of spring made the joy of watching children play a simple game, inside baseball’s protected white foul lines, even more fun, special and wonderful.

“I will take full credit personally for the nice weather we have today,” rang in Mayor Don Kendrick, also thanking Bill Aguirre, La Verne’s Director of Parks and Community Services, for the sparkling jewel that has become Pelota Park.

Before passing the mike, Kendrick urged the players to thank their parents and coaches for the support and guidance they give to them and then told a brief anecdote fitting the occasion:

“There was a dad playing out on the front lawn with his three boys. There was a pitcher’s mound set up at one end of the front yard and a home plate set up at the other end of the yard. And they played out there every day when dad got home from work, and they played out there on weekends when they could.

La Verne's 2009 All Star Team

La Verne's 2009 All Star Team

“And finally one day, the mom came out and said, “Look what you’re doing to the grass. You’re ruining the grass. What are the neighbors going to think and what are people going to think when they drive by?”

The dad turned to his wife and said, “I thought we were raising boys, not grass.”014

Raising the applause even louder after the mayor’s remarks was Little League President Brian Shively’s introduction of guest speaker Kenny Landreaux, a two-time Major League Baseball all-star who helped the Los Angeles Dodgers win the 1981 World Series, a season in which he didn’t make a single error.

“Are you guys ready to play some baseball?” Landreaux asked, recalling the wonder of his own Little League days. “Who’s going to be a Major League baseball player out there?”

Scores of hands shot up into the air. Then Landreaux laid down some rules on how to get to the major leagues, as well as excel at any other profession of their choice.

“You have to get your education to be a good athlete,” he said. “There are not too many athletes who drop out of school and become professional.042

“As you work to earn your high school diploma and college degree, there’s something else you got to do on the way, and that’s to always listen to your parents. Listen to your grandparents, too. It’s not going to be easy, but you got to do it.

“If you listen to your parents, your grandparents, your teachers and coaches, you will be a productive citizen in society.”

After Landreaux threw out the honorary first pitch, one lucky player from each division also got to stride to the mound and throw out an honorary first pitch. Shively thanked his hard-working board, all the participating vendors and scores of parents for turning out, then announced it was time to play ball and move on to the real business of spring. 04150431

Leave a Reply