As seasons begin in the northeast part of the United States, Little League® organizations throughout the Commonwealth of Massachusetts are entering the 2016 season with added support from the highest level of baseball. The Boston Red Sox Foundation announced in December its continuing efforts to support Massachusetts Little League programs.
It is the third year of the partnership, dating back to 2014 in conjunction with the 75th Anniversary of Little League. Approximately 55,000 boys and girls are part of more than 5,000 Little League Baseball®, Little League Softball® and Little League Challenger Division® teams throughout Massachusetts.
Leagues have the opportunity every year to submit an application through Massachusetts Little League, and its partnership with the Foundation, to receive a $500 grant. The Foundation is a sponsor of the annual Massachusetts Little League state tournament, and honors a Massachusetts Little League Volunteer of the Year with the presentation of the award prior to a Red Sox home game at Fenway Park in August.
Massachusetts Little League District Administrator and member of the Little League International Advisory Committee, John Berardi was invited to a Boston Red Sox spring training game against the New York Yankees in March, and was a guest on the NESN broadcast of the game that highlighted the work that the Red Sox Foundation does in support of local leagues. Mr. Berardi was interviewed by the game announcers, including former Red Sox pitcher, Tim Wakefield, a Little League alum, and honorary chairman of the Red Sox Foundation. “When a boy puts on his glove and runs on to the Little League Field, he learns how to play the game, but he learns so much more,” said Mr. Wakefield. “Character, focus, discipline, and teamwork. The Red Sox Foundation supports Little League teams throughout Massachusetts because these kids are our future.”
The Red Sox Foundation’s goals in this partnership are to promote the baseball club’s focus on children and developing the next generation of baseball fans.
“For the past several years, the Red Sox have focused on bringing children closer to the game of baseball,” said Mike Egan, Red Sox Foundation Board Member, in a statement. “To support this effort, the Red Sox Foundation has focused its work on helping sustain the many Little Leagues across the Commonwealth that are central to a child’s introduction to baseball. We are pleased to support these young players as they learn the invaluable lessons of teamwork and camaraderie that take place on the diamond.”